Irrespective of if your area has been identified for flood hazard, as a Indianapolis homeowner, one of your goals is to elevate your home for the prevention of flood. House leveling remains the most effective method of minimizing future flood damage. In identified flood hazard areas, it is required that new buildings be leveled to the lowest floor of or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE).
When substantial damage has been done to a home or the home needs substantial improvement, house leveling is required. In the case where the improvement involves adding a new room to the structure, or a total alteration of the structure, then the house leveling must meet the requirements imposed on new constructions.
In this article, we discuss how house leveling is completed in Indianapolis. Click here for additional information about house leveling.
The most common types of foundations in Indianapolis
The two most common types of foundation in Indianapolis are the Concrete slab and the Pier and Beam foundation.
Concrete slabs are one of the most common types of foundations, especially for new constructions. While they were not popular until the 1960s, concrete slabs have become the most standard foundation in most Indianapolis homes today.
In southern Indianapolis, homes as old as seventy to eighty years are quite common. That is why you shouldn’t be surprised to come across concrete slabs even more often than you come across pier and beam foundations in Indianapolis.
Pier and Beams
Pier and beam foundations are also very common in Indianapolis because a large number of Indianapolis homes were built before 1960. It is an alternative to concrete slabs and basement foundations. Homes with this kind of foundation often have substructures and wood floors.
Sometimes called crawl space, the pier and beam foundations have an open airway between the floor of the home and the real ground on which they sit. They rest on a slab footing underneath the ground with the help of piers supported by concrete, thus, anchoring and keeping the house stable.
The advantages of pier and beam foundations are:
- Due to the elevation above the ground, homes with pier and beam foundations are less prone to flood.
- The crawlspace formed by the elevated foundation makes it easier to access electrical and plumbing lines.
- When compared to a concrete slab foundation, it is easier and less expensive to repair a pier and beam foundation.
- When necessary, it is easier to relocate a pier and beam home.
How does house leveling work?
There are many methods through which a house can be leveled or stabilized. This includes:
- Helical piers or steel push piers for underpinning the foundation
- Permeation grouting or compaction for settling foundations and sinkholes
- Carbon fiber to fix foundation cracks and bowing walls
- Helical tiebacks or wall anchors to straighten foundation walls.
No single method will address all forms of foundation problems. Therefore, the type of foundation and the nature of the structural issue your foundation is struck with will determine what method of repair will be suitable for you.
Concrete Slab Leveling
With concrete slab leveling, the home is leveled by raising the concrete slabs through which the foundation is held. These concrete slabs are lifted by using slab-lifting foam or mudjacking. This method is a faster and more cost-effective option. However, fast and cheap do not necessarily translate to the most effective option for your property.
While slab lifting foam can be used to fix walkways and concrete steps, they cannot achieve much when it comes to major foundation sinking because this would involve the whole foundation of the home. Also, this method cannot be used to fix pier and beam foundations.
Push piers are concrete cylinders or hollow, steel pipes that are hydraulically driven into a strong, load-bearing soil and are fastened to the footing of the foundation through a remedial bracket so that the weight of your home pushes these into the ground. The sole aim of this process is to secure, stabilize, or raise the structure.
House leveling with push piers is effective for fitting in tight spaces and is perfect for heavy structures because heavyweight is required to push the piers into the ground.
The downside of this method is that it is not very helpful for structures that are light-weighted such as a garage or a one-story building. This is because such lighter structures don’t have sufficient resistance to push the piers beyond the active zone, hence, they fail.
Helical piers are screw-like heavy-duty steel piers that are used to dig deep into the ground. These piers are driven by using hydraulic pressure until solid soil strata are reached. After this, proprietary brackets are hooked to the piers, and a special jack is then used to raise the foundation.
The good thing about the helical piers is that they do not depend on the weight of the structure to get the job done. The technology behind it is precise, and they can reach accurate points in the soil strata without going an inch lesser than where they are supposed to reach.
Irrespective of what foundation settling your home has, the use of helical piers is a very effective method for house leveling and foundation repair. They are precise, strong, and are the least stressful to your home.
How much does it cost to level a house in Indianapolis?
How much you will be spending to level your home will be largely determined by what part of your house you want to level and what kind of foundation is used in the building.
The whole process of leveling your house will be based on the report of the structural engineer. This report will include the identified problems and the recommended repair method that is best for the home. This report alone sometimes costs over $1,000.
For your Indianapolis home, depending on the size of your house and the method of construction used in the home, you should expect to spend between $5,000 and $10,000 for leveling your foundation. You can visit Home Guide for a cost guide on the cost of leveling your home.
If you have reasons to believe that your house might need leveling, you should engage the service of an experienced foundation professional. An inspection will be scheduled during which the problem with your foundation will be identified and the most suitable house leveling method will be recommended. Never delay a foundation repair because it can get worse with time.