Structured Foundation Repairs has successfully repaired over 21,000 homes in the DFW area. The vast majority of those customers wanted to know when it was safe to fix the sheetrock and brick cracks that were there as a result of the foundation movement. The answer to that question varies depending on several different factors.
First of all, cracks in the sheetrock, as an example, occur as the framing inside the walls becomes out of square as a result of the foundation moving up or down excessively. As the framing becomes out of square, the sheetrock stretches to the point where it breaks or tears. That shows up as either diagonal, vertical, or horizontal cracks. When the foundation is lifted with piers or pilings, the framing inside the sheetrock sometimes rolls back into place and sometimes it doesn’t. If the framework goes exactly back into place, it is safe to repair the cosmetic cracks. If the framework did not fully return back to its original position, it may do that at some unknown later time (the next day, week, etc.). If the cosmetic cracks are repaired and the framing moves some at a later date, the cracks may reappear. Since you can’t see inside the walls to know whether or not the framing returned to its original position or not, the prudent thing to do is to wait a period of time before doing cosmetic repairs. This allows additional time for the framing to square up, if it is going to.
The next question would be how much time to allow the framework to move post foundation repairs? The answer to that is unknown. However, the more a foundation is lifted, the more time could be needed. Another factor is how long the foundation had been in a down position. The longer a foundation was in a down position prior to being lifted, the more time may be needed for it to return to its original position, or at least to a stable position. In a typical foundation repair lift, maybe 1” to 1.5” of lift may occur. For that amount of lift, waiting a few weeks prior to commencing cosmetic repairs would be reasonable. If the left was 3” or more, maybe waiting about 4-6 weeks would be reasonable. You can always ask Structured Foundation Repairs if you are unsure.