Like any other structure, your home garage may experience structural problems.
Whether you have a detached or attached garage, you may experience structural issues such as sinking, flooding, and even leaning. To make it even worse, there’s no standard cause of a leaning garage.
Such structural problems can be caused by various factors, including soil degradation, poor climate, rotting material, or outdated structural construction, to name a few.
Amid these woes, the good news is that you can learn how to fix a leaning garage, eliminating the need to spend thousands to pay a contractor for a new structure.
Can a Leaning Garage Be Straightened?
Straightening a leaning garage highly depends on its state. If your garage leans slightly, you can effortlessly straighten it. However, a more severely leaning garage may not be easy for you to straighten on your own.
In this case, you will have two options. First, you may hire a professional contractor who can handle trickier jobs to help you straighten your garage. Alternatively, if your garage has leaned more severely, you may have to build new walls to straighten it.
This alternative still requires the skills of a professional building contractor. After all, with building new walls, it’s not only the skills that go into play.
You have to be well versed with the wall measurements and other key construction principles while keeping the building codes of your city/state in mind.
5 Steps to Fix a Leaning Garage
At First, fixing leaning garages may seem like a difficult and cumbersome DIY job. However, mastering the skill makes it pretty easy to do so.
As mentioned above, if your garage is not too severely damaged, you can fix it on your own with the right tools. However, if the damage is enormous, you may have to call a professional.
But, first, let’s see exactly what tools you’ll need for the process.
To successfully stabilize a leaning garage, you’ll need several key tools. However, the process has to be properly planned to avoid making any mistakes in between. So, you need to have all the tools ready.
- Electric drill
- Threaded screws/screw eyes
- Ratcheting cable hoists ( you can replace them with a strong chain or strap if you don’t have them at home)
- Wood or metal stakes
- Carpenter’s level
- Diagonal corner braces
- Circular saw
- Phillips head screws
- Protective gear – helmet, safety goggles, gloves, covered shoes (ideally boots), coveralls (avoid loose-hanging clothing)
Step 1: Prepare the Leaning Garage Area
Put on your protective gear before you start work. Identify the leaning angle on the garage and on either side of the wall, and use the electric drill to create a small hole.
Through the hole, use the siding to insert the threaded screw into the garage’s corner stud. Next, you want to secure the threaded screw better.
Step 2: Secure the Threaded Screw
Install a stake to the ground. Attach one side of the ratcheting hoists to the threaded screw and the other side to a stake set on the ground.
After securing the hoists to the garage wall and ground, the next step serves as the most crucial one of the process as it works to directly fix a sagging garage wall.
Step 3: Straighten the Garage
Before you begin to straighten the garage, tighten the hoists on either side. Then, slowly pull it towards the opposite side of the leaning garage. Doing so, you will notice the garage gradually straighten.
However, you want to be extra careful and patient during this process. Pulling the hoists fast may risk splitting the wall. Once you are satisfied that you’ve pulled the wall enough, you want to ensure the garage wall is properly straightened.
Step 4: Level the Garage
Leveling a garage wall requires a carpenter’s level. The level helps you measure and ensure the wall aligns properly. When measuring your garage, make sure it’s straight from the bottom to the top to confirm it’s leveled.
Nonetheless, this step doesn’t bring the fixing process to an end. You still want to secure the garage wall to prevent future leaning.
Step 5: Secure the Wall
Inside the garage, install diagonal corner braces, with every single brace crossing more than four studs in the garage.
Doing so provides lateral stability and prevents the walls from collapsing or leaning further. Diagonal braces also prevent the collapse of your garage’s roof.
To install the garage, cut the stud point with a circular saw and attach the brace to each stud. Then, hammer in the screws to securely fasten the braces.
Once securely fastened, you can now go to the exterior of the garage and remove the hoists along with the stakes and threaded screws. Once done, the garage will be securely held by the braces and you can continue to use it.
Precautions to Take While Repairing Leaning Garage
When doing garage leaning repairs, you want to take several precautions to prevent any further damage or even injuries to yourself and the people around you. Here are the common things to consider;
Always Know the Building Codes
You want to have the building codes of your city and state in mind when repairing your garage to avoid breaking any. You can easily make mistakes without noticing.
For example, many garages built in the 80s and 90s were built straight into the ground. In turn, garages built during this time are mostly associated with garage leaning foundation problems.
In case you need to rebuild your garage walls, building them directly into the ground means you will not be following the building codes.
In addition to keeping different building code elements in mind, before repairing your leaning garage confirm whether you need a permit and inspection first.
Use the Right Tools
Fixing leaning garages poses several hazards. So, to protect yourself, ensure you have the right tools for the job and of course, protective gear for yourself.
For example, broken-down hoists can easily cause the wall to fall on you.
Figure Out the Extent of the Problem
If you notice that the leaning of your garage may potentially have enormous damage, you are better off calling a professional.
Alternatively, if you still want to work on it, you have to understand the extent of the damage before tackling the project.
For example, if the leaning of your garage is caused by soil degradation or movement, other components of your household may be at risk.
A good example is the leaning garage plumbing pipes that may be underneath. In this case, if fixing the garage poses the risk of coming in contact with the pipes, you need to know this in advance.
Is a Leaning Garage Dangerous?
A leaning garage is most definitely dangerous. Without adding any factors, the leaning garage walls can collapse at any time.
Collapsing walls can easily cause bodily injury or damage property such as vehicles or even your kid’s bikes. However, it’s not only the walls you should be worrying about.
Depending on the factors that cause the leaning in the first place, other parts of your household may also be at risk of damage.
A good example of this is plumbing lines that may be underneath the garage walls that lean due to soil or structural issues. A leaning garage can also affect your environment, causing problems like soil erosion and even inviting flooding.
Cost To Fix Leaning Garage
The cost of fixing leaning garages varies depending on the extent of the problem. A simple garage wall straightening job will not cost you much.
If you follow our guide above, the most you still spend on the job would be around $350 to $400. What brings up the cost is typically the ratcheting cable hoists (they are a safer option), which go for about $300.
So, if you use chains or straps, you will significantly bring down the cost. On the other hand, if your garage is leaning too much, you may have to install temporary supports.
Investing in the supports can bring up the fixing process to about $1,000. If you hire a contractor for trickier jobs, you will definitely pay more.
While it may look overwhelming, fixing leaning garages has never been easier with the right tools and knowledge.
So, if you notice a slight incline or tilt in your garage, you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank and calling a professional contractor.
Nonetheless, even with a small garage leaning problem, you still want to investigate the root cause to ensure safety and that the fixing doesn’t become redundant.
After all, various factors contribute to a leaning garage, whether an outdated structure, termite infestation, or soil movement.
Moreover, before fixing your garage, make sure you are up to date with any codes or permits mandated by your city and state.
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