Your home’s foundation is the most important structure of the entire house because it shoulders your home's weight. It also distributes the weight of the house along the walls of the foundation which keeps the structural integrity of the home intact.
Maintaining the foundation is something that is easily overlooked because it is buried in the ground. The only time you see it is when you go to the basement. Cracks can develop in sections of the basement that are hard to see. They could be hidden behind furniture, finished walls, or utility connections.
A problem with the foundation will reduce the overall value of your home and detract from its appearance. You may think repairing the foundation is an expensive project that can only be done by professionals, but there are some things you can do. Follow these steps to fix your home foundation.
Step 1 - Determine Cause of Problem
Consult a home inspector or a foundation expert to learn what is causing the foundation damage. These professionals will be able to locate the problem and suggest repair solutions. Although they generally charge for their services, you will benefit from having found out the cause of the problem.
Step 2 - Dig Around Foundation
If you can see the crack from the outside your home, or notice that the foundation is sinking, then begin digging a hole at that point. The hole should be deep enough to reach under the damaged area. If you have a full basement, you may call a contractor with a backhoe to excavate the area. If you feel comfortable operating machinery, you can rent equipment to dig the hole yourself.
Step 3 - Insert Concrete Pilings
Run a cable to the bottom of the hole and thread several concrete pilings (sometimes advertised online as "concrete piers" or "pressed concrete cylinders") down the cable. You should use at least seven pilings. Once the pilings are in place, place a concrete cap over the top piling.
Step 4 - Lift Foundation
Place hydraulic jacks over the concrete cap and slowly lift the foundation back into its original place. Insert concrete cylinders to take the place of the hydraulic jacks and allow the foundation to settle on the cylinders.
Step 5 - Back Fill
Leave the foundation exposed for a few weeks to make sure it stays at the correct level. Once the concrete is secure, and you are sure it is going to hold the foundation, back-fill the soil until it reaches the proper grade.
Step 6 - Fix Crack
Fill the cracks on both sides with patch cement. Press the cement into the cracks until they are full. Smooth the area with a trowel.