Foundation problems in a house can be a big concern for any house-owner. You always have a worry that your house is going to go down inch by inch, and before you know it, the house has already shifted by a couple of inches. The only way in which this problem can be dealt with is by leveling the house. There is plenty of demand for house leveling in New Orleans, with homes built on a foundation of Mississippi delta silt.
There are many reasons why the foundation of the house can begin to deteriorate. One of the biggest reasons that engineers often site is the quality of the soil on which the house was built. If the soil was loose in the first place, there are high chances that the house will have foundation problems sooner than later.
The foundation has to be designed in such a way so that it supports the weight of the house and provides the appropriate balance that it needs. If you have seen cracks on the interior walls or in the chimney or exterior wall, it might be an indication that the foundation of the house is failing. You need to get in touch with a structural engineer to see how the problem can be solved. Here are some of the common ways in which a house is leveled:
Sistering is a process that involves reinforcing the joists and girders with fresh lumber. The engineer will notch the new joists after removing the pipes, electrical cables, and various other obstructions. Notches help to provide the much-needed strength to the new joists, and it is essential that the location of the notches is decided before they are finally used.
Once the notches are installed, the engineer will set new joists adjacent to the old ones. There will be a beam tacked under the joists that are sagging down. Both the joists will be nailed together so that they provide the right level to the house. A hydraulic jack is used to ensure that all the three joists are at the same level. You will see that the engineer moves the jack very slowly so that the walls, ceilings, and floors are not affected by the sudden up and down in the level of the house.
Another effective technique to balance the level of the house is by reshimming. In this process, steel i-beams are used to provide the strength and support to the ones that have grown old. There are times when the shims that are attached to the piers get too low than the acceptable level. This creates an imbalance in the level of the house and that can deteriorate the foundation to a great extent.
Reshimming has the ability to give the required support to the old shims that are already installed. The leveling is done one by one for every room in the house. Just like sistering, a hydraulic jack is used to check the level of the house once the new shims are installed. The areas that are comparatively lower will need better shims. In most of the cases, metal shims are used so that they can last for decades. Depending on the condition of the older shims, the engineer may want to add blocks or concrete pads to get the leveling right.
3. Fixing Drainage Issues
Probably one of the most underrated problems in the house but one that can destroy the house completely is plumbing. The drainage system in many houses is a major problem that can dampen the foundation of the house. This will, in turn, disturb the level of the house because the soil gets moist for years. You may not even realize that there is something wrong with the drainage system until it is too late. It is cancer that does not show any symptoms until the problem is too big to handle.
Most of the drainage systems go from under the house. It is challenging to understand if there is any leak because the water will not be visible. Sometimes, it takes decades for the damp to spread around the house, and there will be other symptoms like the unevenness of the floor or cracks on the walls and ceilings in the ground floor, and so on. That is why it is wise to get in touch with a plumber and a structural engineer to make sure that the level of the house is in proper balance. If there is anything wrong with the level of the house due to the drainage system, the plumbing team will have to fix the pipes and drains first. Once that part is complete, the structural engineer will look to get the level of the house in order.
Leveling a house is expensive. It is not like repairing the roof of the house or fixing the cracks on the walls. So, make sure you are working with an experienced structural engineer to get the job done efficiently.