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Can I Repair My Foundation Myself?

You Can Try DIY Foundation Repair. But There’s a Much Safer, More Affordable Way.

No one knows the ins and outs of your home like you do. That one spot on the floor that creaks. The time of day when the sun shines perfectly through the kitchen windows. It’s these finer details that make us feel like the overseers of our own homes. So when something seems off, it’s only natural that you want to take care of it yourself. This is your home, after all! But no matter how much you want to save money and tackle a new challenge, there are just some things you shouldn’t try to do on your own. One of those things is DIY foundation repair.

It’s right up there with electrical work or gas leak repairs. Think about your home’s foundation and the purpose it serves. Everything in your home, from the walls to the floors, rests on the integrity of your foundation. So when you try to fix foundation problems and end up making them worse, you’re putting your entire home at risk (not to mention your safety!). More often than not, DIY foundation repair is ineffective and in the worst-case scenario, dangerous. So the right question to ask isn’t, “Can I repair my foundation myself?” but rather, “Should I repair my foundation myself?” And the answer is a resounding “No!”  

But here’s the good news: professional foundation repair is more effective and affordable than DIY repair. Why? Because a professional company has the proper equipment, skills and resources to reliably repair wall cracks and fix these types of problems. As a foundation repair company in Roselle Park, NJ, we want to explain why DIY foundation repair is a bad idea and how you’ll save more money by hiring a professional from the start.

Do You Really Have the Right Tools DIY Foundation Repair?

When there’s a problem with your foundation, the conventional toolbox isn’t going to cut it. Properly sealing wall cracks requires a pressurized injector system. Then there’s the epoxy that you actually need to inject. Then comes the carbon fiber wall straps, but how many? It’s unlikely that you have most or any of these materials lying around the house, which means you’re going to have to purchase them. And that’s only if you’re lucky enough to find them. In most cases, the right epoxy injection product isn’t sold directly to the public. So it’s likely that even if you do find these materials, they aren’t high-quality and won’t be effective.

Since foundation repair is complex work, you run the risk of wasting your money on these materials and DIY costs. Not only do you end up paying a professional to fix the problem, but you also pay for the carbon fiber straps, the epoxy and everything else that the guy in the YouTube video told you to buy. But if you had just called a professional from the start, you would have saved more money in the long run.

Do You Have a Background in Construction, Waterproofing & DIY Foundation Repair?

Think about when you hang a picture frame on the wall. As you raise the left side to try and make it level, the right side lowers. Changing one variable influences the other, which changes the frame as a whole.

Your home works the same way. For example, you can try to fix a bowed wall without realizing that you’re making another wall less level. Or you can try to seal a wall crack using the wrong material and realize that the crack is still getting bigger. When you finally call in a professional, they need to remove the material you injected, which inevitably makes the crack even bigger. Even though the company will properly seal the crack, the foundation will have incurred more damage than it would have with the original, smaller crack.

It takes years of training and experience to lead a foundation repair project. This is because there are so many variables that need to be understood and considered before taking action. No amount of digital resources or videos will be able to replace the firsthand field experience that’s critical for foundation repair projects. Here at Blue Umbrella Waterproofing, we’re a licensed waterproofing company with a strong background in construction. So when we say that we understand how homes are built and what it takes to successfully repair a foundation, we mean it.  

Do You Know For Sure What the Problem Is?

Many people see cracks in their home’s walls and determine there’s a problem with the foundation. While this might certainly be true, it’s not always the case. 

The type of crack can indicate whether there’s a foundation problem. On our foundation repair page, we explain the different types of cracks and which ones are typically more serious. Horizontal cracks are the ones you want to look out for because they typically indicate foundation damage. Whereas hairline cracks can be caused by concrete shrinkage and might have nothing to do with the foundation at all. However, we would not recommend you try and diagnose cracks yourself in your DIY foundation repair project. Instead, you’ll want to call in a professional if the hairline crack is in a place where there was already a prior crack that was sealed.

There are several telltale symptoms of foundation failure, including:

  • Sloped and uneven floors
  • Horizontal or stair-step cracks in foundation walls
  • Floor cracks
  • Bowing basement walls and leaning foundation walls
  • Leaning chimneys
  • Garage column cracks
  • Doors and windows that don’t work or stick
  • Interior cracks above windows and doors
  • Creaking floors
  • Gaps in door frames

Ultimately, you’ll want an experienced professional to inspect your home and assess the situation. The last thing you want to do is pay for an unnecessary repair, or apply the wrong repair and end up making the situation worse.

Our Solutions Are Fast, Affordable and Most Importantly, Reliable

Many people assume that professional foundation repair is a major expense. But thanks to industry advancements, it doesn’t cost a fortune to fix these types of problems. At Blue Umbrella, we offer two different solutions for foundation repair. The first is carbon fiber straps that will help secure the walls and prevent future structural damage. You might have also heard these straps referred to as “carbon fiber wall strips.” Carbon fiber is a lightweight, extremely durable material that’s among the strongest materials on earth. While it used to be expensive, the cost of carbon fiber has gone down as it’s become more readily available. 

The other solution we offer is steel I-beams that will push back against the bowed wall. When used with additional products, the I-beams can actually straighten the wall back into place. They can also be used to simply hold the wall in place if the situation warrants. Not a great idea to try and install steel I-beams yourself as part of your DIY foundation repair project.

If there is foundation failure, we’ll recommend either carbon fiber straps or I-beams, depending on how much the walls have bowed. If the walls have bowed more than two inches, we’ll always recommend the I-beams to securely hold the walls in place. We’ll advise you on the right approach following a free, on-site consultation with our foundation repair experts.

Understanding Why You Have Foundation Issues In the First Place

Before explaining our process, we want you to know what this product is designed to fix. There are a number of reasons why your foundation becomes damaged. The issue could be traced to tree roots that have grown over time and infiltrated the foundation. Another possibility is that your home wasn’t built properly and the contractor’s errors are catching up with you now. “Streep creep,” also known as “concrete creep,” is another possible factor. This occurs when an extreme amount of pressure pushes against concrete streets and driveways, damaging the surrounding homes and foundations. If you live in a high-traffic area, your foundation is more susceptible to street creep. But among all of the potential causes of structural damage, the most common culprit is hydrostatic pressure.

Hydrostatic pressure refers to the pressure of standing water. Whenever it rains or outside snow melts, water seeps into the soil and the oversaturated soil pushes against your home. This external pressure takes a toll on the foundation and can lead to wall cracks, leaky basements, and in the worst cases, structural damage. And as we all know from living in New Jersey, we see plenty of rain and snow throughout the year, making hydrostatic pressure a huge problem. In fact, it’s so common in our area that we dedicated an entire post to talking about it.

Strengthening Your Basement With with Carbon Fiber Strips

The carbon fiber straps are designed to support the walls that have weakened and bowed from hydrostatic pressure. Imagine a fence that’s about to buckle and installing new, strong beams to support the fence and distribute the pressure nice and evenly. That’s exactly how these carbon fiber straps work. Properly installing carbon fiber strips does not fall under the umbrella of DIY foundation repair. Only a professional should install them to avoid further foundation damage.

Here’s what we do to properly repair foundations in NJ:

  1. Seal and repair any existing cracks with an epoxy injection. Stopping here is only a temporary fix. To prevent future damage and cracks, we need to address the structural issue.
  2. Fill any voids in the wall and ensure that we have a smooth surface to work on.
  3. Using the proper equipment, we’ll install carbon fiber staples into the wall. These staples will strengthen the walls and prevent further bowing.
  4. Install the carbon fiber straps. We’ll connect the top of the strap to either the floor joist or sill plate of the home and attach the bottom of it to the footer. We’ve performed this type of repair many times before, so we know exactly how many straps need to be installed and where they need to go to ensure an even pressure distribution.
  5. Clean up our workspace and leave everything just as we found it!

Depending on your situation, we might also recommend having a French drain installed to relieve additional pressure and redirect any water that enters your basement to a sump pump.

As effective as carbon fiber straps are, it’s important to note that not all brands are created equally. Waterproofing is all we do at Blue Umbrella, which means we know which products actually work and which ones don’t. We only use industry-leading brands such as Fortress and Rhino to properly repair New Jersey foundations.

Step Under the Blue Umbrella to Save Time, Money and Stress

Painting your living room or even remodeling your bathroom can go in the books as a successful DIY project. But when it comes to your home’s foundation, this isn’t the time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. DIY foundation repair is probably not a good idea. Your foundation is the most crucial component of your home because without a safe and strong foundation, everything falls apart.

Rather than leave the problem to chance, leave it to our foundation repair experts in Roselle Park, NJ. We know how to quickly assess the situation, provide an accurate, upfront estimate and go straight to the source to ensure a long-lasting, reliable fix. But more importantly, we are honest with our work and do everything in our power to help New Jersey homeowners save money and sleep better at night.

If you suspect there’s a problem with your foundation or basement, request a free inspection online or call Blue Umbrella Waterproofing directly at 908-628-1954 today.

Steve Karlik
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