How to Evaluate Your Existing and New Foundations Before Adding Home Additions or Remodeling

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    Are you considering adding an extra room, expanding your living space, or completely remodeling your home? 

    As the real estate market experiences fluctuations and high-interest rates, more homeowners are choosing to invest in remodeling or adding additional living space rather than selling to maximize the potential of their homes and increase the property’s overall value. 

    However, before diving into these home improvement projects, it is crucial to evaluate whether both the existing foundation and the new foundation (if applicable) are structurally sound to ensure that there are no issues down the road. 

    This article aims to guide homeowners in evaluating foundations to ensure a smooth and successful home improvement journey, discuss why this evaluation is critical, and the role of push piers and helical piers in providing a stable and reliable structure.

    So, let’s start!

    Why is Foundation Evaluation Important for Home Additions and Remodeling?

    Your home’s foundation forms the backbone of its structural integrity. It provides the support necessary to hold up the weight of your home and everything inside it. 

    If it is compromised or inadequate, it can result in serious structural problems in the future. This can include cracks in the floors and walls, sagging or uneven floors, and even complete collapse in extreme cases. 

    When you add an addition or remodel your home, you’re essentially adding more weight to your foundation. If it’s not strong enough to support this added weight, it can lead to significant problems. 

    By evaluating, you can find and address any potential problems before construction begins. Moreover, understanding the suitability of the foundation for the proposed addition or remodeling ensures compatibility and minimizes the risk of future problems.

    How to Evaluate Existing Foundation

    Before adding or remodeling your home, you’ll need to evaluate the current state of your home’s foundation. Foundation issues can compromise the safety and value of your property. To avoid costly repairs and potential hazards, consider the following steps:

    1. Inspect Your Property for Signs of Foundation Damages

    Start by doing a visual inspection of your existing foundation. Look for visible cracks in the walls, ceilings, and floors. Pay attention to sticking doors and windows that don’t close properly; it could indicate foundation issues. 

    Also, check for sloping or uneven floors and signs of water damage, which might suggest foundation settlement. If you notice any of these issues, consult a professional to determine the extent of foundation damage. 

    2. Check for Water Drainage Issues

    Ensure that your existing foundation has proper drainage to prevent water from accumulating around the structure. Inspect the drainage system, gutters, downspouts, and the slope of the land to ensure water is diverted away from the foundation.

    3. Address Previous Repairs

    If your home’s foundation has been repaired previously, ensure that the repairs are still holding up and that there are no new signs of damage.

    4. Consult with professionals

    To ensure a comprehensive and accurate evaluation and to mitigate home improvement risks, asking for professional help from the foundation inspector is advisable. These experts are trained to identify subtle signs of foundation problems that might escape an untrained eye. 

    They will conduct a thorough assessment, including soil analysis, and provide valuable insights into whether or not your existing foundation is strong enough to support any new additions or changes.

    How to Evaluate New Foundation

    If you’re adding an addition to your home or remodeling project, your new foundation must also undergo a thorough evaluation. Several factors can impact the performance and success, including:

    1. Soil Composition and Testing

    Conducting a thorough geotechnical investigation of the soil on your property is advisable. Soil testing for new home addition is crucial in understanding its load-bearing capacity, settlement potential, and expansive nature will help you avoid future foundation issues.

    2. Proper Drainage Considerations

    Proper drainage is vital for maintaining the strength and integrity of your home’s foundation. Ensuring the property’s grading and drainage system directs water away from the foundation to prevent water infiltration that could compromise its stability.

    3. Site Analysis

    Conducting a site analysis to identify potential challenges affecting the new foundation’s construction. Factors such as slope, nearby trees, or underground utilities should be considered.

    4. Complying with Local Building Permits and Codes

    Obtaining the required building permits and adhering to local building codes when constructing the new foundation. 

    These requirements set guidelines for materials, methods, and other aspects of construction to ensure structural integrity and safety. Compliance with regulations ensures a safe and legal construction process. 

    Failing to meet these requirements can lead to delays, costly modifications, or fines. Working with a licensed contractor or engineer will help ensure your project meets all necessary standards.

    5. Professional Assessment 

    The most important part is hiring a professional foundation specialist or engineer who can perform a thorough above-needed evaluation. 

    They can ensure that the new foundation is appropriately sized and has the load-bearing capacity to support the weight of your new addition. This may involve installing additional supports or even pouring a new one altogether. 

    Profiling before construction will help determine whether your new addition will be supported adequately by the foundation it sits on. You can ensure it will be strong enough to support your further expansion and avoid any potential issues. 

    Utilizing Push Piers in Securing Foundation

    To ensure an effective solution to reinforce your home’s foundation before embarking on adding home additions or remodeling projects, utilize push pier installation

    Push piers are steel support devices installed deep into the soil beneath your home, lifting and supporting the existing or new foundation, evenly distributing the structure’s weight, and preventing settlement issues. Push pier installation provides several benefits, such as:

    • Stabilizing the foundation to prevent further movement or shifting
    • Supporting the weight of your existing foundations that may be weakened due to age or damage.
    • Reinforcing existing foundations to support the weight of new home additions.
    • Any additional living spaces you plan to add
    • Restoring the original position of the foundation in some cases

    By incorporating push piers into your foundation evaluation and repair process, you can secure your home’s structure and ensure a successful home addition or remodeling project.

    Using Helical Piers in Stabilizing New Foundation 

    Helical piers can be a viable and effective solution to stabilize the foundation when building new construction for your home addition. 

    These steel columns have helix-shaped bearing plates welded to the shaft, enabling them to be screwed into the soil, providing deep foundation support even in challenging soil conditions or regions with high water tables.

    Helical pier installation provides several benefits, such as:

    • Supporting the weight of your new foundation in your home additions and any additional living spaces you plan to add.
    • Underpinning new foundations to increase stability and load-bearing capacity.
    • Providing stability in unstable soil conditions or locations with strict building requirements.

    Incorporating helical piers into your home improvement project can greatly enhance the stability and resilience of your foundation, ultimately ensuring the success of your home addition or remodeling effort.

    The Benefits of a Thorough Foundation Evaluation

    Peace of Mind

    A comprehensive foundation evaluation provides homeowners with peace of mind. Knowing that your existing foundation is stable and the new one is designed correctly alleviates worries about future structural issues.

    Enhanced Property Value

    Investing in foundation evaluation and repair can improve your property’s value. Buyers are more attracted to homes with solid foundations and home additions built right.

    Contact Lux Foundation Today for a Professional Foundation Evaluation 

    Evaluating your existing and new foundations before planning on making home additions or remodeling is a critical step in ensuring the long-term structural integrity of your home. Identifying and addressing potential signs that you need a home foundation inspection early on will be beneficial to ensure that your house structure is intact, prevent costly repairs, and ensure your family feels safe and secure in their home.

    As you embark on your home improvement project, for assurance and expertise, let Lux Foundation Solutions help secure the stability of your foundation to be on solid ground. Our expert team has extensive experience evaluating existing and new foundations in preparation for home additions or remodels. With careful foundation evaluation, strategic planning, and utilizing push piers and helical piers to add an extra layer of stability, your home will stand strong and proud for generations.

    Don’t let an unstable foundation jeopardize your home’s safety— contact Lux Foundation Solutions today for a free estimate of your foundation repair needs!

    Commonly Asked Questions

    Why is foundation evaluation important for home additions? 

    Foundation evaluation ensures that your existing foundation can support the added weight and changes of a home addition.

    Can I assess my foundation’s stability on my own?

    While some initial assessment can be done, like visual inspection of minor signs, consulting a professional for a comprehensive evaluation is recommended.

    What is the first step in evaluating a home’s foundation?

    The first step in evaluating a home’s foundation is to conduct a visual inspection. Look for signs of cracks, settling, or other structural issues that might affect the stability of the foundation.

    Why should I consider soil testing before adding a home addition?

    Soil testing is essential before adding a home addition because the type and condition of the soil can impact the foundation’s stability. Different soil types have varying load-bearing capacities, which can affect how the new addition interacts with the soil.

    What are push piers, and how do they work?

    Push piers are structural supports installed beneath your home’s foundations to stabilize and lift them, correcting settlement issues.

    What are helical piers, and how do they work?

    Helical piers, or screw piles, are foundation support systems used to provide stability and strength to foundations in various soil conditions. They work by utilizing a helical-shaped plate attached to a steel shaft. This helical plate allows the pier to be “screwed” into the ground, creating a secure foundation anchor beneath your home.

    How can I determine if my foundation needs repairs?

    Look for signs such as cracks, uneven floors, and sticking doors and windows. If you notice these issues, it’s time for an evaluation.

    How do building codes impact my home addition plans?

    Building codes dictate the standards and regulations for construction in your area. Adhering to these codes is crucial for ensuring your home addition project’s safety, structural integrity, and legality.

    Should I consult a structural engineer or foundation services before remodeling?

    Yes, a structural engineer or foundation service can assess your foundation’s suitability for remodeling and guide necessary reinforcements.

    Are push piers a permanent solution?

    Yes, push piers provide a long-term solution for foundation settlement problems.