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7 DIY Foundation Repair Mistakes We See All the Time

We come across a multitude of DIY mistakes in the field. Things like using self-leveling concrete and waterproof your own basement can cause problems if you attempt to take them on your own.

DIY Home Repair
DIY Home Repair

While it may seem appealing to take on foundation problems on your own, there are several DIY mistakes homeowners should be aware of. 

How to Avoid DIY Mistakes 

While some types of home repair seem like an easy, do-it-yourself job, this is not always the case. Homeowners often make the mistake of trying to repair things in their home that seem simple to fix, like attempting to waterproof your home on your own. When it comes to your home’s structural integrity, you don’t want to perform certain jobs unless you are a skilled foundation repair technician. At Groundworks, we perform basement and crawl space repair and waterproofing, as well as foundation repair, concrete lifting, and crawl space encapsulation. We even provide FREE inspections at no obligation to you, so you can be sure there is a problem before hiring us to take care of it. 

7 Common Foundation Repair DIY Mistakes

When it comes to foundation repair, there are some mistakes that homeowners are guilty of. One of the biggest mistakes is the belief that you can easily repair parts of your basement, crawl space, or concrete on your own. However, there are many issues that can affect the very stability of your home. While it may seem more appealing to your wallet if you repair foundation problems on your own, fixing an issue improperly will cost much more. These issues – such as a flooded basement or sinking concrete – cannot be repaired by simple tools and solutions. Common DIY mistakes homeowners make, include: 

1. Using Waterproof Paint/Sealant

Waterproofing is not something that you should take lightly. If water gets into your home, it can cause a plethora of problems. Mold and musty odors, excess humidity, and damaged personal possessions are all things that can occur when waterproofing goes wrong. While waterproof paint is easy to use, it is not a very reliable solution when it comes to waterproofing your home. Waterproof paint and sealants will not fully permeate a wall enough to have long-lasting effects. Over time, the paint will eventually peel, and can even facilitate mold growth. 

Peeling Paint

2. Sealing Cracked Concrete

Your concrete will not be free of cracks forever. Eventually, your concrete will become cracked due to consistent pressure, as well as exposure to the elements. Once your concrete has become cracked, it is exposed to water, which will cause it to become more susceptible to external elements. While it may seem simple to seal up a concrete crack, if you don’t seal it completely, water will still find a way inside. When water gets in through voids in your concrete, the concrete begins to deteriorate. 

3. Pouring Self-leveling Concrete

Self-leveling concrete is typically something that should only be used for interior flooring. While it may be simple to use, it does come with some cons. Self-leveling concrete dries very fast, and it should not be used to fix subfloors, especially if there are cracks or weak spot. If there are weak spots, and you have used self-leveling concrete, they will not be repaired and will only be made worse by the leveling of the concrete.  

Pouring Concrete

4. Installing A Crawl Space Barrier on Your Own

Known as the barrier that stops condensation and moisture from building up inside the area, a vapor barrier covers your crawl space’s walls and dirt floor. Your crawl space should have a vapor barrier; however, we do not recommend installing one on your own. We never recommend that someone go into their crawl space, as it can be a difficult place to easily access without the proper tools. When it comes to installing a crawl space vapor barrier, you should really look to hire a professional. At Groundworks, we utilize the CrawlSeal™ Vapor Barrier to ensure your crawl space is protected against water damage and excess humidity. 

5. Improperly Bracing Walls

The structural walls of your home are what keep your home standing tall. Over time, however, your home’s walls may begin to falter or bow. To prevent your walls from coming down, braces should be installed in strategic places along your home’s property to support the bowing wall. Attempting to brace your walls on your own can lead to catastrophic failure and can wind up costing you thousands of dollars. At Groundworks, we utilize the SettleStop IntelliBrace™ Wall System to fix your cracking and bowing walls.  

6. Using the Wrong Equipment

Special tools are often needed when it comes to repairing your home’s foundation – whether you’re waterproofing your basement or lifting sunken concrete. Using the wrong equipment can be detrimental to your home and can end up costing you more to repair the damage caused by the faulty equipment. 

Why You Should Hire a Professional 

Homeowners should never attempt DIY work unless they have consulted with a foundation repair professional. Many foundation repair companies – like Groundworks – offer free foundation inspections. At these inspections, technicians will evaluate your home’s foundation, and let you know what the issues are. They will then provide you with a solution that you may choose to hire them to perform. If you choose to repair your faulty foundation, cracked concrete, or damp basement on your own, you should be aware of the struggles that come with it. 

1. Injuries

It can be dangerous to perform repairs and construction around your home, especially when it comes to repairing your home’s foundation. In 2020, falling was the cause of more than 41,000 deaths from preventable injuries in homes. Falls from ladders or while inspecting dark areas – like your crawl space or basement – are extremely common during DIY home foundation repairs. For your safety, reach out to a professional before deciding to climb that ladder. 

2. Worsening the Problem

As mentioned above, when you attempt DIY foundation repairs, you can actually end up worsening the problem. While you may have initially saved money by choosing to repair the problem yourself, you will now have to shell out thousands to fix the damage caused by making the problem worse. For example, DIY attempts to waterproof your basement could lead to water damage – to your home and possessions – when the waterproofing fails.  

Water Damage in House

3. Damaging Your Property

Attempting DIY home repairs can lead to you damaging your property more than if you had left the problem alone. When you change something about your home’s foundation, the rest of the home is also affected, either directly or indirectly. If your crawl space is not properly encapsulated, then excess humidity will creep into your home, causing mold and mildew to form on your household surfaces. If you brace your home’s walls incorrectly, the ceiling or floors above them can begin to crack and sag.  

Don’t make the same DIY mistakes as many homeowners we’ve seen. If you are noticing cracks in your walls or concrete, excess moisture, or any other signs of foundation damage, contact a professional. The team at Groundworks is here to provide FREE, no-obligation inspections, so you can be sure there is a problem before you hire us for a job.