How to Hire a Home Leveler
Solid experience is a must for these professionals
By Glyn Sheridan
A skilled professional can prevent existing problems with your home's foundation from getting worse. Your home's foundation may shift or move over the years, due to soil expansion, excess moisture around the foundation or a faulty foundation. When the foundation moves, the house may not be level anymore. You may notice difficulty in closing doors or observe cracks in the walls or ceilings, especially horizontal cracks. The floors may dip noticeably or a marble, dropped in the center of a room, may consistently roll to a low spot. A foundation contractor who specializes in leveling structures can properly diagnose the problem and help fix it.
- What You Need to Know
- A structural engineer can help determine the cause of the problem.
- Identifying the cause of the problem can lower any associated inspection expenses.
- If the foundation is the cause of the uneveness, you need a house mover.
Take bids from more than one foundation contractor. Home levelers may have different ideas about solving the problem and the cost and the procedure can vary greatly. Present each home leveler with a structural engineer's conclusions and recommendations.
Request a copy of the home leveler's liability insurance policy. Because a home may suffer damage when the supporting structure moves, foundation contractors who level homes should carry the same insurance that house movers carry to protect their clients. Specifically, ask if the contractor has an "Errors or Omissions" police and ask if you can get a certificate from his agent with you listed as the certificate holder.
Assess the prospective leveler's general attitude and communication skills. A professional who cannot express his or her ideas clearly and simply may not convey the right information to you in a way that you can understand.
Ask for references and a portfolio of past projects. Contact the home leveler's previous clients if possible and talk to them about the leveler's performance on the job. Find out if the clients were satisfied with the work performed and ask them for their opinion on what the contractor could have done better as well as what he or she did right.
Instruct the home leveler to coordinate his or her work with other contractors to ensure that your home is structurally sound when he or she is done. This may involve hiring a framing contractor to replace rotted floor joists and a drywall contractor to skim and repair wall cracks caused by the leveling process.
Ask if you can remain in your home during the leveling process or if you must find temporary accommodations. The contractor may install and adjust floor jacks while you go about your daily schedule. However, in some cases, the home leveler may lift your entire house to repair the foundation. If so, you will have to stay elsewhere.
About the Author
Glyn Sheridan is a regular contributor to DexKnows.
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