Does your home need to be jacked up? Perhaps a better way of asking is, does your house need a lift?
Occasionally, when performing appraisal inspections/observations, I see homes that suffer from serious settlement issues. Sometimes, it’s the foundation. Other times it may be the driveway or a patio that has settled.
In this post, I thought I would share some of the ways I have seen settlement problems be repaired. I’m not supporting one way over another.
Let’s start with foundations. I once appraised a home that had a noticeable tilt to it when walking through. Interestingly, the engineer who looked at it reported that the foundation did not pose any structural issues. However, correcting the tilting was something that would help the marketability of the home. After all, a tilting home is a quick way to lose one’s marbles! And I mean that in the most literal way.
I wanted to see what slant potential buyers might take on the situation.
After interviewing several agents that had sold homes that were adjacent to the property I was appraising, I found a comparable sale that had sold a few years back with a similar tilt. Apparently, some of the homes built in this area had ground settlement enough to create a tilt without causing significant structural damage. This helped me to see that there was not a large negative impact on value or marketability.
When it came to the home I appraised, portions of the home were jacked up using exterior jacks installed under the foundation. There was still a minor tilt, but not as bad as before. It is also interesting to note that raising the home enough to make it completely level, would have damaged the existing foundation, which would have led to other issues. So, the homeowners decided to just raise it enough to minimize the tilt without causing damage to the foundation.
The jacks used to lift up the home I appraised were placed on the exterior, under portions of the foundation and sill plate. Here’s a video to demonstrate one method of lifting a home using several types of foundation jacks on the interior.
Driveway and concrete patio settlement are some of the most common areas of settlement that I see, other than in foundations. A little driveway settlement is typical in most areas in my market. But too much settlement can be problematic. Especially when the settlement creates a negative grade towards the foundation. A negative grade, or grade that slopes towards something instead of away from it, can create water intrusion into a basement when it rains.
There are many causes of settlement. Sometimes drain tiles break. When this happens and it rains, the water runoff from the roof enters the gutters and downspouts and then travels into the drain tiles. When the tiles are damaged, the water exits the drain tiles and then begins to erode the soil around the drain tiles.
As this happens, if a driveway is close to the foundation, the weight of the driveway may cause the ground to sink towards the foundation because that is where the soil is being eroded. The problem becomes worse as the sunken driveway or patio adds to the issue by more water runoff from the driveway or patio being diverted toward the foundation. And the cycle continues.
The cause of the settlement needs to be addressed first. If it is a result of broken drain tiles or some other drainage issue, these need to be fixed first. Then, the driveway will need to be raised back up. Especially when the concrete is in a relatively good condition, other than needing to be raised.
I recently appraised a home in which there was a portion of the basement that was damp on the walls. The basement was not flooding, but the dampness was clear. Upon making an observation of the exterior, I noted that the large patio had sunk towards the foundation by a few inches. Just enough to route water toward the foundation when it rains. This is most likely the cause of the problem.
When I observe dampness in a basement, I always try to rule out the obvious before digging deeper. Sometimes, homeowners spend many thousands of dollars waterproofing their basements, when the real cause of the water intrusion may be a much simpler and less expensive fix.
When it comes to this type of situation, the driveway or patio can be replaced with a new one. Of course, that can be expensive. Sometimes, there is another option.
There are companies that will drill holes in the concrete and pump in spray foam or other substances which can raise the concrete to the desired level.
Here’s a little video to show how concrete leveling aka slab jacking is done.
Here’s one more.
Extreme caution should be taken when jacking up a home. Here’s a video of a home that got jacked up while being well, jacked-up.
The irony of a home falling while being raised is not lost here. I love this homeowner’s attitude. He was more concerned with the safety of others than his home. That’s a real stand-up guy!
I hope I’ve given you some things to think about when it comes to things that may need to be raised in your home.
Thanks so much for reading my post! I appreciate you!
If you’re an appraiser, I would like to let you know about some upcoming education that you might be interested in. I’ve been referencing George Dell’s articles on my blog posts for years.
Not only does he write excellent articles for the appraisal profession, but he also teaches classes. I have taken his Stats, Graphs & Data Science I & II classes. They are fantastic! They made me a better appraiser!
I am planning on attending his SGDS2 online class next week for a refresher. I learn something new every time I attend! Here are the links and dates for his upcoming classes, with more to come! Just click on the pictures below to sign up.
I hope to see you next week!
In other news, my friend and fellow appraiser Phil Crawford’s latest podcast episode is out on The Voice of Appraisal. Enjoy! Phil always knocks it out of the park!
Have a great weekend!
If you enjoy listening to podcasts, check out mine. I hope you enjoy it! You can find me on Apple Podcast, iHeart Radio, Spotify, Google Play Music, Sound Cloud, Radio.com, RadioPublic, Deezer, Breaker, Stitcher, and other feeds.
You can also listen right here at Cleveland Appraisal Blog!
I am a member of the National Association of Appraisers. If you’re an appraiser, and you’re looking to join an appraisal organization, please check them out. The NAA is made up of fantastic appraisers from across the country who are working hard to keep their fellow appraisers up to date on what’s happening.
Here are some links to other articles I’ve enjoyed recently! I hope you will also…
While Looking For Housing, I Dig A Pony – Housing Notes by Jonathan Miller
How To Get Vacant Land Values and What About H&BU? – The Appraiser Coach Podcast with Dustin Harris
Ownership is Everything – It’s a Good Life with Brian Buffini
Fastest market ever & price deceleration – Sacramento Appraisal Blog
A Thick Workfile – Tim Andersen, The Appraiser’s Advocate Podcast
How this consultant saved a Manhannan co-op $340,000 – The Folson Group Blog
CubiCasa – Home Measurement From Inside A House – APPRAISAL TODAY
Do Things That Don’t Scale – The Real Value Podcast with Blaine Feyen
Bias: Personal or Analytic? – George Dell’s Analog Blog
May Newsletter – Change on the Horizon? – DW Slater Company Blog
For my readers in the CLE area… here are some articles related to news in our local area. I hope you enjoy these also…
In the zone: Archaic zoning regulations can hamper construction of new infill housing – Douglas J. Guth of Fresh Water Cleveland
Otto Moser’s: The celebrity hangout with the theater crowd for 125 years – Tom Matowitz of Fresh Water Cleveland