Tick Tock! How Long Does Foundation Repair Really Take?

December 8, 2021

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How long does foundation repair take? This is one of the most commonly asked questions by homeowners, right after finding out the cost of foundation repair for their property!

Foundation repairs usually take 1-3 days to complete. Factors affecting this timeframe include the extent of damage, how much material is needed for repairs, and if your contractor recommends secondary fixes such as waterproofing or sealing.

No matter your foundation repair costs or how long those fixes might take, it’s vital that you schedule this work as soon as it’s needed. The longer you put off foundation repair, the greater the risk of that damage becoming more severe and costlier to address.

how long a foundation repair takes

Check out some vital details about how long foundation repair might take and what’s done during this process, so you can then discuss your options with a contractor near you. This will ensure your home or commercial structure is always in good condition, from top to bottom!

How Long Does Foundation Repair Take?

While most foundation repair only requires 2-3 days to complete, note what might affect that timeframe for your property:

  • The time it takes for house leveling depends on how far out of level the home has settled! Lifting a structure four to six inches requires far more excavation than lifting a home that’s settled just 1” out of level.
  • The time underpinning takes depends on how many piers or cylinders are needed. Most family homes only need a few piers or pins for foundation repair, while larger homes and commercial buildings might require up to 30 piers for unperpinning. These piers are typically installed one by one, so a larger or more damaged property will need added time for repairs.
  • Interior foundation piers require breaking the floor and then installing the pier or pouring a concrete cylinder. This work and subsequent repairs once the piers are installed typically takes longer than exterior excavation.
  • Poured concrete cylinders take longer to install than standard piers, as these require forms and then drying and curing time.
  • Deeper or larger foundation footings typically require more excavation to repair, and especially if cracks and damage are deep in that concrete.

How Long Does Foundation Repair Last?

Most foundation repair methods are considered virtually permanent, often lasting for decades if not indefinitely. Some, however, might need repeating over the years:

  • Minor cracks are often filled with specialty foams that then expand, filling in cracks. However, the ground underneath a crack repair can sometimes settle, damaging the material, or the foam might degrade naturally over time. You might need to repeat that repair after 3 to 10 years, on average.
  • Push pins or piers often last some 150 years before they are expected to break down, or can even last indefinitely! For most homeowners, underpinning can be the last foundation repair you’ll ever need.
  • Foundation acrylic sealers might break down after about 5 years, after which they need reapplying. Epoxy and urethane coatings often last 5-10 years before they degrade and need reapplication.

Foundation repair is affected by moisture in the soil as well as the weight of a structure. Neglecting needed property grading or adding weight to a structure without reinforcing the foundation can mean having those fixes degrade sooner rather than later.

Living In a House While the Foundation Is Being Repaired

Most foundation repair is done around the home’s perimeter; a small percentage of foundation repair is done through the floor of a basement or other such area. This means contractors will usually not need to access the home during their work, allowing you to stay in the house while the foundation is being repaired.

time to finish foundation repair

However, a homeowner should prepare their property before work begins. Remove any loose items such as knickknacks or artwork near the area where the work will be done, as heavy-duty equipment will create strong vibrations that can knock items right off shelves!

Homeowners should also realize that foundation repair often involves lots of excavation, which means mess and hazards in the area of work. Consider accessing the house through an entryway far from the work, and ensure your children and pets are kept away from the contractors and project area.

If your home requires interior access, note that this work will mean lots of noisy, bothersome drilling. This can be especially upsetting to children and pets, so it’s often recommended that you stay elsewhere while this work is being performed.

How Is Foundation Repair Done?

Foundation repair methods vary according to the foundation construction and extent of damage. Polyurethane or other foam varieties injected into foundation cracks help fill those gaps. These foams then harden and block moisture while providing added support for the foundation.

Piling or pier installation uses steel piles, inserted deep into the ground either under or around a sinking and damaged foundation. These pins or piles are then attached to the foundation itself by a bracket or metal head assembly along their top.

In many cases, hydraulic jacks are used to lift the foundation back to a level position before the pins are attached. This addresses a sinking structure and ensures it stays level and even throughout the years.

crawl space foundation repair

House leveling or slab jacking drills a pattern of holes through the foundation. Specialty grout is poured through those holes, under the foundation. This grout “floats” the structure back into a level and even position; it then dries, keeping the foundation in place.

Expectations After Foundation Repair

As a foundation weakens, a house or other structure often settles, suffering secondary damage. While foundation repair ensures structural stability for your home or commercial building, it cannot address needed fixes for secondary damage! Consider some projects you might need to schedule after foundation repairs:

  • Wall and ceiling cracks often appear as a structure settles on a weak foundation. It’s vital that you patch over these cracks, as they can allow outside heat and cold air into your home while letting interior heating and cooling escape.
  • Door and window frames often settle and pull out of alignment as a house settles. These frames don’t necessarily become level and even again after foundation repair! Readjusting these frames ensures doors and windows close and lock securely while reducing drafts.
  • Caulking around windows can also crack and pull away from the window frames. Replacing this caulk keeps windows sealed properly.
  • Baseboards, crown molding, brick fireplaces and chimney stacks, concrete porches and stairs, and other features around the home might crack or pull away from their base. These also need repairing, especially damaged surfaces such as stairs, porches, and floors that create a tripping hazard.

Property owners also need to ensure they address drainage or moisture issues. If you allow moisture to collect around a structure’s foundation, this risks future damage no matter the quality of repairs. Addressing drainage issues might include better grading or correcting the soil’s slope, or a French drain or sump pump installation.

contractor doing foundation repair inspection at home

Knowing It’s Time for Foundation Repair

Bowing basement walls and oversized cracks along a foundation surface are obvious signs that it’s time to call a foundation repair contractor near you. However, don’t rely on these indicators alone! Check out some other signs of foundation damage and needed fixes:

  • A weak foundation allows a structure to settle and shift, which then pulls on solid surfaces inside and outside the home. You might then notice wall and ceiling cracks, cracks running along a chimney stack, or buckled flooring.
  • This shifting also pulls on wall sections, leading to gaps in room corners.
  • As the walls shift and pull out of position, baseboards and crown molding might crack or pull away from the surface behind them.
  • Shifting and settling often result in weakened or cracked subflooring. You might then notice a soft or “spongy” feeling underfoot, or that your home’s floors creak and groan whenever you walk across the room!
  • Insects and other pests often use cracks in a structure’s foundation as a way to access interior spaces. Have the foundation checked if you need to treat an infestation in your home!
  • Those cracks also let in moisture which can mean mold growing along drywall and a damp, musty feeling especially in lower levels of the home. If your home has mold issues, don’t simply clean it and assume the problem is resolved but schedule a foundation inspection as well.

Regular foundation inspections can also spot signs of damage hidden from sight, allowing you to make repairs before it gets more extensive and costly to address. The sooner you address cracks and waterproofing issues, the less likely it is that the foundation will sink and allow your home to settle, reducing the need for expensive repairs down the road!

working on a foundation repair

Columbia Foundation Repair & Waterproofing is happy to help our readers answer the question, how long does foundation repair take? Hopefully, you found this information useful and better understand what to expect when it comes to foundation damage and needed fixes. If you suspect your home needs crack repair or have foundation issues, call our trusted Columbia foundation repair contractors! We can schedule a FREE inspection and repair price quote, and answer all your questions about your property’s foundation. To get started, just give us a call.

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