What is House Leveling? (How to Re-level Your Foundation & Slanted Floors)

Do you have bowed or slanted floors that almost give you vertigo when you walk across them? Are there sections of your home where it feels like you’re walking uphill? If you have unlevel floors and want to know how to relevel your foundation, this article is for you.

Dalinghaus Construction Inc. has helped families across Southern California and Arizona relevel their foundations since 2015. We have over 100 years of combined foundation repair experience and have serviced hundreds of foundations. We’re here to help you reclaim your home.  

In this article, you will learn what house leveling is and how to relevel slab on grade foundations and crawlspace foundations. You will also be able to explain what causes foundation settlement when it comes to weak, non-load-bearing soil. 

So, let’s dive in

What is House Leveling?  

House leveling is a type of foundation repair that lifts and relevels a settled section of a home back into place to eliminate slanted, bowed, and uneven floors. House leveling can also realign warped window/doorframes and push cracks of all kinds back together. House leveling is also commonly referred to as a foundation lift or home lift.

House leveling can be achieved by a variety of different kinds of foundation repair:

  •   Underpinning (push pier and helical pier systems)
  •   Polyurethane deep injection/void fill/leveling
  •   Replacing old post-and-pad systems

Note – there is no such thing as “full recovery” when it comes to house leveling. A home will never sit exactly where it once was prior to settling. Instead, the foundation repair industry refers to house lifting as lifting to maximum practical recovery (the maximum amount of lift possible).

House leveling is often required due to weak, non-load-bearing soil (meaning the soil is not strong enough to sustain the weight of the home). These soils are often referred to as expansive soils (such as clays, silts, and loams) and incur millions of dollars in property damage across the United States of America every single year.

Expansive soil expands when a significant amount of moisture is present and shrinks when the moisture dries up. This constant, seasonal expansion and retraction exerts a tremendous amount of force on your foundation, weakening its structural integrity.

The expansive soil cycle can also create voids underneath your home so that there are pockets with less support. Homes rarely settle uniformly; otherwise, they’d be level. But gravity always wins, and the homes try to sink down into these pockets, exerting stress on your foundation.

Imagine taking a paint mixing stick, placing half of it on a table, and pressing down on the other half off the table. This flexes the stick, and, if you press down hard enough, may even crack it. This is a great visual representation of unlevel foundations.

Note – some homes require floor elevation measurements to determine if there is any slope at all because it’s too minuscule to feel. However, I personally have felt like I was walking uphill in a living room at a foundation repair site in Calabasas. There is absolutely variation in the severity of foundation settlement.    

Now that we know what house leveling is and what causes foundation settlement, let’s touch on the different kinds of foundations that can be releveled. Truth is, if it’s a foundation, it can be leveled.   

Also read: Does My Home Need House Leveling?

House Leveling Slab on Grade Foundations   

Slab on grade foundations (otherwise simply referred to as slab foundations) are flat sections of concrete, generally 4-6 inches thick, with no crawlspace/basement underneath them.

Leveling slab on grade foundations is typically achieved through steel pier underpinning. Push pier and helical pier underpinning are currently the most common forms of house leveling. Push piers and helical piers act as an underground stilt support system, supporting the leveled home above the incompetent, non-load-bearing soil.

After the steel pier systems have been installed, hydraulics can be utilized to lift the home. Hydraulic pumps are hooked up to each individual pier location to “push off” in unison, lifting the home back to maximum practical recovery.

House leveling with steel pier systems can take 2-3 hours.

During a house lift, a foundation repair crew member is inside of the home with a Ziplevel taking continuous floor elevations to monitor the lift’s progress and ensure maximum practical recovery is attained.   

To learn about the cost of releveling a home through steel pier systems, read our article Underpinning Cost – Steel Pier Systems.

Note – post-tensioned foundations are a type of slab foundation that runs 8 inches thick and are supported by steel cables pulled incredibly taut to provide extra load support. Post-tensioned foundations, also, can be leveled.

House Leveling Crawlspace Foundations

Crawlspace foundations (stemwall and post-and-pad foundations) are foundations where the home’s subfloor is suspended above grade. Like slab on grade foundations, stemwall foundations can easily be leveled by underpinning with steel pier systems.   

If you have an uneven floor and a post and pad foundation, odds are high that you need to replace your current post and pad system. This can ensure your subfloor is receiving the proper amount of support.

The good news is – post and pad replacement is generally only a one-day project.

To learn if post and pad replacement is right for you, read our article Post and Pad Foundation Repair (Definition, Repair Process, & Cost).  

Ready to Learn How Much House Leveling Costs?

In this article, you learned what house leveling is and how both slab-on-grade foundations and crawlspace foundations can be releveled. You also learned how expansive soil tends to be the primary culprit when it comes to foundation settlement.

Here at Dalinghaus Construction Inc., we love to answer your questions and put your foundation repair fears to rest. A common query we receive all the time is – what’s the price to level my home?   

If you would like to learn more about the average foundation repair cost, read our article Foundation Repair Cost.

If you live in Southern California or Arizona and have yet to book a free foundation inspection, click the link below to get started.

WRITTEN BY

Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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