When are House-leveling Shims Enough?

House-leveling shims are a simple and cost-effective solution to an uneven foundation. While foundation issues can be a major headache for homeowners, leveling shims can provide a quick fix without breaking the bank. In this article, we’ll explore when house-leveling shims are enough to address foundation problems and what factors to consider before using them.

What you need to know about house-leveling shims

If you notice signs of an uneven foundation, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Here’s what you need to know about using house-leveling shims to address foundation problems:

What are the signs of an uneven foundation?

  • Cracks in walls or floors
  • Sloping or uneven floors
  • Doors or windows that won’t close properly
  • Gaps between walls and ceiling or floor
  • Visible foundation damage.

How do house-leveling shims work?

House-leveling shims are small pieces of material, such as plastic, wood, or metal, that are placed between the foundation and the framing of the house to level out any unevenness. The shims are typically wedge-shaped and can be adjusted to the desired height to even out the surface.

What are the benefits of using house-leveling shims?

  • Cost-effective solution to foundation problems
  • Quick and easy to install
  • Can prevent further damage to the foundation and the rest of the house.

What are the limitations of using house-leveling shims?

  • May not be effective for severe foundation issues
  • May not be a permanent solution
  • Other factors to consider before using shims, such as the type of foundation and soil type.

By understanding how house-leveling shims work and what factors to consider before using them, you can determine whether shims are enough to address your foundation problems or if you need to seek other solutions.

Factors to consider before using house-leveling shims

If you’re dealing with a sinking or uneven foundation, house-leveling shims can be an effective solution to restore your home’s structural integrity. However, before you start using shims, there are some crucial factors that you should consider.

  • Type of foundation: Another important factor to consider is the type of foundation your house has. Different types of foundations require different types of shims. For instance, a concrete slab foundation may require different shims than a pier and beam foundation.
  • Soil type: Soil type is another important factor that can affect the effectiveness of house-leveling shims. Different soil types have different properties and behaviors, which can impact the stability of your foundation. For example, clay soil can be highly expansive and cause significant damage to foundations over time.
  • Location and climate: The location and climate of your area can also impact the effectiveness of shims. For instance, if you live in an area prone to earthquakes, you may need to use more robust shims to withstand seismic activity. Similarly, if you live in an area with extreme temperatures, you may need to choose shims that can withstand thermal expansion and contraction.

When are house-leveling shims enough?

  • Minor settling: If the settling of a foundation or other structural element is minor, meaning that the amount of movement is small and the resulting level discrepancy is minimal, house-leveling shims may be sufficient to correct the issue.
  • Uneven floors: If floors in a home are slightly uneven due to settling, shims can be used to level the floor and create a more even surface.
  • Sagging beams: If support beams in a home are sagging due to settling or other issues, shims can be used to lift the beam back into place and provide additional support.


Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about house-leveling shims.

What are the different types of house-leveling shims?

Different types of shims include wood shims, plastic shims, metal shims, composite shims, tapered shims, and peel-and-stick shims. Each type has its unique features and advantages and can be used for various applications.

Can I install house-leveling shims myself?

It is not recommended to install house-leveling shims yourself, as it requires specific knowledge, skills, and tools. It is best to hire a professional contractor who has experience in house leveling to ensure that the job is done correctly and safely.

How long do house-leveling shims last?

The lifespan of house-leveling shims depends on the material used and the environmental conditions. Generally, wood shims can last for a few years, while plastic and composite shims can last for decades. However, if the underlying problem causing the foundation to shift or settle is not addressed, the shims may fail sooner than expected.

How do I know if my foundation needs repair or replacement?

Signs of foundation problems include cracks in the walls or floors, uneven floors, doors and windows that stick or do not close properly, and gaps between the walls and the ceiling. If you notice any of these signs, it is best to consult a foundation specialist to assess the extent of the damage and recommend the appropriate solution.

Are house-leveling shims a permanent solution?

House-leveling shims are not a permanent solution. They are temporary fixes that can help stabilize the foundation and prevent further damage. However, if the underlying cause of the foundation problem is not addressed, the shims will eventually fail, and the foundation will continue to settle or shift.

How much do house-leveling shims cost?

The cost of house-leveling shims can vary depending on the type, size, and quantity needed. Generally, plastic shims can cost anywhere from $1 to $5 per shim, while metal shims can cost anywhere from $5 to $20 per shim. However, for a more accurate estimate, it is best to consult with a contractor or supplier who can provide a quote based on your specific needs.


House-leveling shims can be an effective and cost-efficient solution for homeowners facing foundation problems. They are easy to install and can prevent further damage to the foundation and the rest of the house. However, there are several factors to consider before using shims, including the severity of the foundation issue, type of foundation, soil type, location, and climate.

By understanding the signs of an uneven foundation, how house-leveling shims work, and the factors to consider before using them, homeowners can make an informed decision on whether shims are the best solution for their foundation problems. If you are unsure, it is always best to seek the advice of a professional.

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