Should I Consider a Do-It-Yourself Home Foundation Repair Project in South Carolina?

Aug 25, 2017

Categories: Foundations

As the leading foundation repair company, located in Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina, we are often asked about do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement projects as a way of saving money. There are great weekend hobbies such as a new porch or guest bathroom, there are even prepackaged kits at the hardware store to get you started on projects, however, a do-it-yourself foundation repair is a project that should not be on that list. In this article, we will discuss foundation repair and the very real possibility of personal injury, additional consequences and the cost associated with this do-it-yourself project.

What are the Risks of a Do-It-Yourself Home Foundation Repair Project in South Carolina?

Your home’s foundation is the support upon which everything else rests. Trying to tackle this can expose you and your family to a number of risks and personal injury being the biggest risk. The risk not only presents itself during the repair but after the repair, as well. Risks include structural supports and beams buckling, ceilings and/or floors could imploding. Electrocution is a risk if the repairs expose hidden wires or cause serious water damage. A do-it-yourself foundation repair accident can not only result in a serious injury but the medical bills associated with the accident that far exceeds the expense of hiring a professional. Under the most extreme examples of faulty do-it-yourself home foundation repair projects, houses have been known to collapse completely.

What are Other Possible Consequences of a Do-It-Yourself Home Foundation Repair Project in South Carolina?

Aside from personal injury, other risks of a do-it-yourself home foundation repair project are the potential damage to your home’s foundation or other parts of your home. If you have little to no experience in foundation repair, the possibility exists that you may inadvertently make the problem worse.

Facets of this endeavor include:

  • Proper water drainage techniques
  • Mix cement to precise, code-compliant specifications
  • Possessing the qualifications to assess contour lines with laser technology and computer-aided design and drafting software (CADD). Computer-aided design and drafting is the use of computer technology for design and design documentation. CADD software replaces manual drafting with an automated process.
  • Understanding the load-bearing capacity of each support beam in your home
  • Understanding and experience using the tools necessary to begin and complete the project

Other issues to consider:

Does your home’s foundation need to be repaired? Cracks and shifts may indicate a problem but they could also signal that your home is simply settling.

Foundation settling is sometimes repaired with underpinning and may include placing steel piers under the home to gently lift it. Another solution for settling is known as grout pumping. Grout pumping a technique of pouring thin mud or cement into the area underneath the settled concrete. Polymer injections with lightweight geotechnical foam fill product are also used to stabilize the soil.

Signs of foundation upheaval are cracks in your floor or walls. Cracks are caused by excess pressure as your foundation moves upward due to compression and will eventually separate. This can lead to the “appearance” of settling as one side of your home appears lower than the other because of the home lifting.

To read more about your home’s setting, please refer to our blog entitled, "What is the Difference Between Foundation Upheaval and Settling in South Carolina?”.

Are you sure that you can fix the problem? Remember that amateur repairs and property damage often go hand-in-hand. After spending money on do-it-yourself modifications, be prepared to hire a professional foundation repair company to fix and complete the project.

Are you sure that you have diagnosed the problem correctly? Your home may sit on soil that expands when damp and shrinks when dry. This “expansive soil” is found throughout the United States and has damaged about a quarter of all homes, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Before construction, it is vital to determine the exact type of soil that is located around your home’s foundation. A soil map provides the information needed to help builders, contractors and homeowners determine the types of preventative measures that may be needed to avoid damage to the foundation or correct any damage that may have occurred.

Because soil types look so similar, a visual inspection of the soil will not provide an accurate analysis of what type of soil is present. To accurately determine the type of soil around your home’s foundation, it is best to use a soil map.

Soil maps were created by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and provide invaluable information that can help when building or repairing a home’s foundation.

Soil map information includes:

  • Chemical and physical properties of the soil
  • Accurate slope of the surface of the land
  • Possibility of where water drainage or runoff may happen

To read more about soil mapping, please refer to our article entitled, “What is the Connection Between Soil and the Stability of Your Home’s Foundation in South Carolina?”.

Are the project repairs code-compliant? When selling your home in South Carolina, certified foundation inspections require approval from licensed engineers.

What are the Possible Costs of a Do-It-Yourself Home Foundation Repair Project in South Carolina?

Price is the most cited a reason for do-it-yourself home improvement projects. After all, cutting out the middleman will save you money. This may be a good idea for some do-it-yourself home repair projects but when it comes to foundation repair, it is all too often not the money-saver you might think it is.

However, if you are accustomed to tackling major home improvement projects on your own, foundation repairs may seem tempting. But given the higher cost and greater risk to person and property, you will be better served consulting with a licensed professional foundation repair company.

With major foundation repairs involving hydraulic piers costing $10,000 or more, and minor cracks costing as low as $500, most homeowners will pay around $3,963 to repair foundation issues. These costs will be inflated should your attempt to correct the issues fail.
As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to home foundation repair. Your home is one of your biggest investments and, without the proper experience, the repair could be costly and dangerous. Contact CNT for a free estimate and discover the ways in which our team can work with yours.