Are you ready to begin the home remodel of your dreams – yank updated shag carpet, slap on a fresh coat of paint, and add a bright backsplash to your kitchen? Before you kick it into high gear, did you know foundation health is a key factor in a successful, long-lasting home remodel?
Dalinghaus Construction Inc. has been around the block once or twice, with over 100 years of combined experience in foundation repair. We’ve helped hundreds of homeowners just like you, homeowners itching to begin their home renovation.
This article covers why it’s imperative to have a healthy foundation prior to serious home remodels – touching on the dangers of foundation settlement and how underpinning can address it.
Why a healthy foundation is important for a home remodel?
Foundations serve one primary purpose – even load disbursement (providing stability for the structure). Healthy foundations provide a strong and stable groundwork for remodels, which can involve some serious renovations – torn-down walls, bathroom overhauls, and new flooring.
Whether you have a slab-on-grade foundation, raised foundation, or basement foundation, healthy foundations are a prerequisite when it comes to home renovations. So, what constitutes a healthy foundation?
Healthy foundations tend to:
- Have no cracks, spalling, or exposed rebar
- Be level with no sloped or bowed floors
- Have proper drainage, routing the water away from the home
- Accompany strong internal framing (no crooked door frames/window frames)
A healthy foundation is like a healthy heart – it’s imperative to the health and well-being of the rest of the body/structure. Certain surgeries are not recommended if your heart is not in good enough condition. It is similar to foundation repair.
The problem of remodeling before a sinking or settled foundation has been addressed is that, ultimately, the remodel will be corrupted.
What is Foundation Settlement and why does it inhibit home remodels?
Foundation settlement is when a foundation sinks into incompetent, non-load bearing soil (such as clay and loam soils) exerting undue stress onto the foundation and structure. Foundation settlement causes a long litany of noticeable signs and symptoms –
- Cracked drywall/stucco
- Sloped and bowed floors
- Doors and windows that are difficult to open and close
- Cracked windows
- Cracked tile
- Cupboards separating from the wall
Obviously, all the signs and symptoms of a sinking foundation inherently make you want to renovate and remodel.
Cracked drywall – patch-and-paint. Sloped floors, just add some liquid floor leveler before putting in the linoleum. Crooked door and window frames can be sanded down/manhandled to look straight. The problem is these quick fixes do not address the heart of the issue.
These signs and symptoms will return because foundation settlement does not get better on its own and deteriorates over time.
Many homeowners have sunk tens of thousands of dollars into home renovations, not realizing that foundation settlement would tear open their patched drywall with new cracks and off-center the new cabinets, leading to a nasty cycle of perpetual repairs.
How to Address Foundation Settlement Before a Home Remodel
Foundation settlement exerts a tremendous amount of stress on your foundation and your home’s framing – the antithesis to a perfect home remodel. So, how do you address foundation settlement in order to complete the home renovation of your dreams?
The answer is underpinning. Underpinning is a broad term that can best be defined as the strengthening and reinforcement of a foundation by extending the depth and breadth of the foundation via underground support.
Underpinning relevels and supports the failing foundation, ultimately allowing for home renovations.
Underpinning has several different forms: mudjacking underpinning, concrete pile underpinning, and steel pier system underpinning. Steel pier system underpinning (underpinning with push piers and helical piers) is currently the industry standard for foundation repair.
Push piers and helical piers are galvanized steel pipes that are hydraulically driven to competent, load-bearing soil and anchored to a structure’s prepped footing via a remedial bracket to secure, stabilize and/or lift a structure.
In short, push piers and helical piers are like underground stilts that support your home against further foundation settlement.
To learn more about underpinning by helical and push piers, read our articles What to Expect During Your Helical Pier Foundation Repair and What to Expect During Your Push Pier Foundation Repair.
Get a Free Foundation Inspection Before You Remodel Your Home
In this article, you learned what a healthy foundation looks like, why foundation settlement inhibits a home remodel, and how underpinning is the best option to combat foundation settlement.
Dalinghaus Construction Inc. has serviced thousands of foundations in Southern California and Arizona. We’ve seen it all when it comes to foundation repair.
If you’re about to remodel your home and you want to know the primary signs and symptoms of foundation settlement, read our educational article below where you can also book a free foundation inspection.