DIY House Leveling


Old 10-03-05, 11:17 AM
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DIY House Leveling


I've got a small two bedroom wood frame house that I need to level. It is not a slab house. It is raised off of the ground. The house is sagging about 1 to 2 inches in only one corner.

I've called around and I think it'll be about $4,000 to get it fixed.

This is a house that I'm trying to sell quickly and I don't think I'll be putting $4,000 into it. I was wondering if I could level it myself.

From what I've read and seen I can jack up the corner of the house that is sagging until it is level and then put shims (pieces of concrete) inbetwen the original footing and the house.

Now, I'm not looking to get the same quality of job that I'd get for $4,000. What I would like is some improvement that is safe. And I definately don't want to destroy the house.

Any suggestions? Comments?

I know where to get the jacks needed and I can make a water level.


Last edited by ssanto; 10-03-05 at 11:36 AM.
Old 10-03-05, 11:55 AM
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I don't recommend anyone doing this on their own as other issues must be taken into consideration. Hire a pro - regardless of cost. they have the experience, manpower and tools to do it right.

It isn't just jacking up that is an issue but what will this distance do to interior walls, floor, doors, etc. How much repair might have to be done.

1" to 2" drop is considerable. Sinking foundation is the problem. The issue of trying to hide this from a potential buyer would not be a good thing.

Good Luck!
Old 10-03-05, 12:05 PM
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DIY House Leveling

If you do it yourself, you may want to consider the effects on your future sale and the amount you net out of the house. Recent repairs are easy to spot, especially if your 1" or 2" caused cracks in sheet rock.

Pre-purchase home inspections are very common and even required in some areas. A home inspector would probably note the repairs you made. The mildest note would be "do-it-yourself repairs". The strongest comment would be "have the repairs looked at by a licensed engineer for approval or recommendations".

Home inspectors are trained to pick out major future cost expenditures, structural items and safety issues, but are not expected to make structural repair suggestions during a pre-purchase inspection. Some are qualified to do additional services is fields of specialty.

If you are required to fill out a disclosure form prior to sale, you may want to get a pre-listing inspection to have everything up-front. This avoids being placed in a weak price negotiating position after the buyer has made an offer and you accepted it subject to an inspection.

You may be required to get a permit, depending on the local requirements and the scope of the work.

Old 10-03-05, 01:23 PM
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I've read several posts on here about people leveling their house. It seems that if I do it slowly I would be able to see some improvement. I may have been exaggerating about 1-2 inches. It may be less than an inch (I haven't measured it accurately yet). I just think a DIY job would be better than nothing.

Old 10-04-05, 06:13 PM
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Sometimes a DIY job can get you into alot of trouble. Especially if you do not know what you are doing. You were told by two very good professionals to have a contractor do it. Yet, you are still bound to do it yourself. Go ahead, do it yourself. Its your house. Now what will you do when it does not pass inspection ? A sloping floor will be picked up by everyone. Oh by the way, do not forget to get at least 2 beams probably 6 to 8 feet long,, at least 4- 20 ton jacks, blocking and the list goes on. Oh and by the way, the reason your house sank in that corner is that the foundation gave way, or the sills rotted out. And always remember to look up. Up like at the roof. When you jack upward everything will rise. Make sure you don't pop a rafter.
Have a good day.
Old 10-04-05, 07:39 PM
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Reminds me of when I was in college. My roommate and I rented half of a dilapidated old duplex. The owner accepted "repairs in lieu of rent", including jacking up the back of the house a couple of inches......... We were both pretty experienced carpenters (he was a very skilled woodworker).... and ended up totally messing up the kitchen in the back of our half of the building. Gawd, what a job...... Never did get it corrected properly - and, being college students, we were able to skip the lease out the back door (the one that wouldn't shut after we "leveled" the house........

I think Hurricane Rita took it out.... unless it fell to the ground since then..

In the famous words of Clint Eastwood: "Man's got to know his limitations"
Old 10-05-05, 12:21 AM
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Could you level the floor from the topside , removing the symptom?
Hire a handyman to putz with the foundation or sill for a couple hundred bucks?
I'm imagining a small woodframe 2 bed right?
Old 10-05-05, 05:43 AM
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As most posting replies here have indicated, you need to really consider the best options so that you do not make a great big mistake. Band aid approach here is a bad idea and hiring a handyman is also a bad idea.

I only wish you the best!
Old 10-06-05, 08:38 PM
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You're in over your head!!!

$4K to get it done right or $50K to fight it out in court.

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