I’m sure you have seen a home that had a front stoop or stairs that have fallen or were shifted.  This also happens to sidewalks that are along side of a home.  When doing a home inspection settling stairs and sidewalks issues comes up more than I would like to see.

At my home inspection in Elmwood Park, Illinois the settling stairs had to be the first thing I noticed when approaching the home.  The side walks had the same pitch towards the home that is generally a bad thing.  Why?  The grading of a home is what basically pushes water away from the foundation.  If the grading (dirt), sidewalks, patios, driveways, stairs and porches are tilted or pitched towards the home like the Elmwood Park home inspection there can be problems with not only the tilted or settling stairs but with foundation cracks, water in the basement and so much more.

If you have problems with water entering you home from settling stairs, tilted patios and so on you will have possible repair cost in you basement that could be in the thousands.  I would suggest you repair the settling stair by one of two ways.

  • Mud jacking is a way to lift a certain area of the settling stairs to get them to go in a direction that will eliminate poor drainage towards the foundation.  With this repair you will still have to make corrections to the grading and drainage around the stairs to prevent further settling.  Generally this repair method is 1/3 of the price of total removal and reinstallallation.
  • Total demolition and re installation is the more expensive correction of  settling stairs.  The benefits of this repair is that you will have a new set of concrete stairs and you will know that  the grading a sub structure is repaired properly.  The grading and drainage around you settling stairs will still need to be corrected to prevent future issues with settling.

My clients from the Elmwood Park home inspection were leaning to repair the settling stairs with the mud jacking procedure. The cost to mud jack their stairs was $700.00 versus $2000.00 for new concrete stairs.

As you can see my clients from the  Elmwood Park home inspection found out that poor grading and poor drainage  can produce costly repairs around your home.   If you have further questions about this subject please contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke