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Wednesday, May 6th, 2020 by Mallory Finch
Before You Improve Your Home, Repair It.
Like most of us, you’re probably spending way more time at home than you did before. That means, even if you haven’t been given a mile-long “honey-do” list, you’re probably still noticing things that could be improved.
Now that we’re all enjoying an extended stay-cation, it seems like the perfect time to tackle those projects—and, it is.
But before you start spending time and effort and, most importantly, money redoing the kitchen or adding a bathroom or even just painting the bedroom a different color, there’s one question you must ask.
Is My Home Ready to Be Improved?
Before your home was built, the developer likely leveled the site, removing soil from high points and moving it to low points in the landscape. After all, it doesn’t make sense to build a house on uneven ground. If you did, the result would likely be an out-of-plumb, jumbled mess.
The thing is, the soil that was moved (typically called fill soil), often settles over time, causing a home’s foundation to sink with it. Other situations, such as excess moisture from heavy rains or a lack of moisture from drought, can also cause soils to compress, wash out or shrink.
When this happens, your home’s foundation sinks with the settling soil, causing problems throughout the structure that can make home-improvement projects a nightmare.
For instance, let’s say you’re hanging drywall to finish a basement and turn it into a home theater. If your foundation isn’t stable, that beautiful, smooth drywall can crack and gap over time as your home continues to settle turning your beautiful man-cave into, well, just a cave.
What About Other Projects?
But it’s not just basements you have to worry about.
Foundation settlement can cause issues throughout the home, as the entire house sits on this unstable foundation. So, if you’re adding a washroom on the third floor, for instance, it makes sense to stabilize your foundation first, or you might risk similar serious problems down the road.
Even the aforementioned painting project will likely only be a temporary success if you’re covering walls that will crack in the future.
So, What’s the Answer?
Before you start any home improvement project, you should have your property inspected by a certified foundation repair expert.
These inspections are almost always free and carry no obligation, so there are zero downsides to having one done.
If the expert is truly experienced, he or she will take up to several hours to complete the assessment of your home and will present you with the findings in a straightforward, easy-to-understand manner—including solutions to fix any issues permanently.
Only then can you have the confidence that your home improvement project—and any others you undertake in the future—will be a success.