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11/30/2020

What to Expect When Lifting a Home (Cosmetic Corruption & Functionality)

At Dalinghaus Construction, we tell it like it is. When your home is lifted you can expect to take comfort in a solid lifelong investment backed by a lifetime warranty and enjoy level floors from the maximum practical recovery.    

You can also expect:

  1. Drywall Cracks
  2. Misaligned Door/Window Frames
  3. Self-leveled Floor Issues

There. Now that we ripped off the Band-Aid real quick – take a breather.

Take it from us, not everything about lifting homes is all IPA’s, Texas Hold’em, and a nice mild stogie. It’s hard work.

So, let’s shatter a common construction misconception: the work don’t stop after the foundation lift is complete.

Sure, your Push or Helical Piers are installed and your concrete R&R can wrap up, but this is often where the cosmetic work begins.

Really, this should be the inception point for all extensive remodels / cosmetic fixes. Unfortunately, as humans, we often get ahead of ourselves.

Turns out you owe this work to shortcut fixes either taken by you, a previous homeowner or  construction worker in the past.

The long and short of it is – shortcut fixes backfire and just cause more work and bleed more money in the future.

So, let’s take a look at how shortcuts can affect drywall cracks, jack up door frames, and ruin your floors when it comes to the foundation lifting process.          

Drywall Cracks

Crack is not good. Cracks are not good. Plumber’s Crack isn’t great either.

Nothing is ever what it’s cracked up to be. Without fail, drywall cracks are suspect numero uno when it comes to what people visually notice when a home’s foundation is settling.

These cracks are often found zigzagging away from door and window frames or stair-stepping into stucco.

The majority of the time, these unpalatable eyesores close up during the lifting process. Wham, bam, yes ma’am.

However, sometimes these cracks are large enough they require a little more TLC. 

Any drywall repairs conducted prior to your home’s foundational lift are going to have issues because now you have drywall fighting for space against the filler.

And, guess what, the drywall is going to win (because it has the power of God, anime, and hydraulics on its side).

Speaking of cracks, check out The Top 5 Characteristics of Concrete Cracks.

So, if the cracks have been patched throughout the years, all of that material (whether it be silicone or dry ramen noodles like those guys use on Youtube), this material will compress outward once the lift begins.

As the cracks begin to close up, the filler product is spat out, leaving a mess all over your carpet, tile, or hardwood floors.

Don’t sweat it. This cosmetic corruption is a common occurrence and easily corrected by you or a drywall company.

Typically, all that is required is some scraping out of the compressed material, sanding, texturing, and painting the area.  

Fun Facts with Brian – the best way to waste money on a home improvement project is to fill drywall holes and tackle other cosmetic issues before you address your home’s foundational issues.

Misaligned Door & Drywall CrackMisaligned Framing of Doors and Windows

You might have wonky door or window frames that are sticky and grip your wood/glass.

This is a common issue in recently remodeled homes. Just like with drywall, many homeowners didn’t or don’t know that they have a settlement issue (or they just don’t care).

So, they hire a contractor to fix the stupid sticky doors and windows you gotta whale on to open. We’ve seen shaved-down doors and door frames bent out of frame.

These fixes are shortcuts, temporary, and will come back to bite you if you want to properly raise your foundation in the future.   

Most contractors understand that if a foundation is uneven, they need to correct the foundational settlement before conducting the remaining cosmetic repairs. 

However, there are numerous contractors out there who just want to make a quick buck (like you didn’t know).

These standup gentlemen are willing to take on extensive remodeling projects even though they know it’s just a temporary facelift – but they’ll be long gone and have your dough safely in their pockets by the time the tile begins to chip apart due to shear stress.

If any framing has been modified while the home is out of level, it will negatively impact the way the home is able to recover during a lift. 

Any framer worth his salt when installing new framing wants to make sure that everything is level or as level as possible.

This can require some adjustments to be made to the framing itself.  

As the home is lifted, this adjusted framing can start to bind, and you can hear some popping during the process. No worries!

Your house is not going to fall down. It’s just that your home is readjusting to the leveling process.

However, your door and window frames might be crooked now because they were truly crooked to begin with, just designed to look straight.

As the framing is adjusted, you may start to notice new drywall cracks appearing as well as the possibility of doors and window frames in the area being misaligned.

We usually recommend that if you have had any significant framing modifications done to your home, that you look at stabilizing the home in place.

This avoids any additional movement and stops us from having to adjust additional framing and/or complete drywall repairs.  

We often cover this and similar topics in our FREE foundation inspection.

Self-Leveled Floors

This is the worst of the worst – far worse than plumber’s crack and definitely worse than sticky doors. 

If you level a floor by other means of a straight foundation lift, you compromise how level the floor will be in the future post lift.  

Depending on the extent of the self-leveling project – it can cause severe teeth-grinding headaches in understanding why some floors are level and others are not.  

For example, if you have a section of the house that has recently had new flooring installed (whether it be tile or new hardwood floors), more often than not, a flooring contractor will not install a floor out of level.

Consequently, if you or the previous homeowner has installed new flooring to a section of the home that has settled – a self-leveling compound was added prior to installation.

This compound can range from a few tenths of an inch to 3-4 inches!

This will most definitely need to be addressed when your home is lifted because we are potentially lifting a section of your home that is already compensating for the foundation settlement.  

There are a variety of ways and reasons as to why a home’s floors have been self-leveled – none of them are good – just ask the 5 Best Foundation Repair Companies in Southern California.

Most often, it is done because the homeowner wants new floors installed or they’ve met a contractor that doesn’t fully understand why the floor isn’t level in the first place.     

That is why we strive to not only educate homeowners but also contractors that come across these things on a daily basis.

Read our blog. Watch our videos. Breathe, eat and sleep foundation repair – we do.   

Now, with most self-leveling of a home's floors, it involves mixing a mud compound that is remarkably viscous and/or runny.   

This compound is poured onto the floor and then pushed into various areas lacking the desired elevation. As the material sits, it starts to flow and level out the floor.

When we perform an initial inspection, we notice these areas because they give off vastly different readings compared to other areas of the home that have the OG flooring and/or have not been self-leveled.    

After our readings confirm different elevations, we can alert you that we believe those specific areas with the wonky readings have had some modifications done – but we can’t confirm until the flooring is removed.

 Nobody wants to remove a new floor – end of story. And, we don’t expect you to... 

We want you to know that if we lift there will always be some differential in the floor elevations due to the affected area being modified prior.

If we do go ahead and lift, there will be some popping or cracking in these areas as the house readjusts. 

This is due to the relatively thin flooring material that wasn’t designed to have any additional movement or stress.    

If this occurs, the only real fix is to remove the flooring and compound and reinstall the flooring in that area.

Finishing Touches

All of this to say, after your home is lifted you might have to repatch some drywall, get your door and window frames realigned, and pull up that new floor or tile that went in overtop a self-leveled floor.

You should also check out our post 3 Common Problems with Foundation Repair  

Now, the goal of a foundation lift is NEVER to save your drywall, keep your nice, crooked doorframes in place, or worry over self-leveled floors.

The goal is to lift your home back to maximum practical recovery and/or stabilize it from further foundation settlement.

If any of the aforementioned items occur during your lift project, there are ways to take care of it.

Remember the motto: If you didn’t fix it then, you’re not gonna have to fix it again.

Lifting is like the cherry on top. 

We ideally will always perform the work that is required to get you the results that you desire, but we want to be transparent in things that could impact the results of achieving a "Perfect Lift".

To take in the complete and total awesome power of home lifting, watch our cool youtube videos

If you’re a foundation aficionado who loves all things foundation, keep combing through our blog and check out our piece on Helical Tiebacks. Send in some fan mail.

If you’re in the market for a foundation repair and live in SoCal or around Maricopa County Arizona, click on the link below to get a FREE foundation quote -

schedule free foundation evaluation

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