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-   -   Enclose area under house (http://www.houserepairtalk.com/f32/enclose-area-under-house-17996/)

jmg1213 08-15-2014 06:50 AM

Enclose area under house
 
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We have recently purchased a small cabin that sits on a rather steep hill. I have included a photo, but the only one I have available at the moment so not the best angle. The house sits on wood posts that go into the ground and I assume sit on concrete footers. I want to enclose the bottom of the house, primarily to help insulate under the house, provide additional stability, to provide some storage area, and maybe even install central hvac, but it would not be a living space. I am trying to determine the best way to do this, but the steep grade is a big concern. I am thinking of building walls between the posts and looking for ideas on doing this. I am thinking that the posts would remain as the points holding up the house, so I do not know how that would affect putting in foundations for the walls. Any suggestion?

bud16415 08-15-2014 07:20 AM

What a view. I’m not an expert but if you feel the posts are doing their job and I don’t see any reason to think they are not. (Did you have any kind of inspection done prior to buying?) if everything is good structurally I would just add some non-structural framing (pressure treated)and cover it with some sort of skirting material Maybe T 1-11 or similar or even fiberglass panels for an unheated space. blocking the wind alone I think will keep the floors a lot warmer.

Will you use it year round? What will be the lowest temps you will be seeing?

jmg1213 08-15-2014 07:32 AM

There is a slight sway to the house, and we did not have an inspection done. The posts are in good condition, but I figured it would not hurt to add the additional stability as well as keeping the cold breeze out during the winter and gaining some storage space. This is currently a second home in the eastern part of WV, so it can get somewhat cold with avg highs in the 40s and lows in the 20s. We plan to eventually live here full-time.

nealtw 08-15-2014 07:49 AM

Closing it like Bud said would not be a problem, but leveling the floor might. You wouldn't want to undemine the the posts at the front of the house. If it is just for storage maybe a raised floor.

You don't want to do a concrete foundation as that would require retaining walls above and below the house.

bud16415 08-15-2014 08:25 AM

If it has a little sway this is the time to fix that also with some diagonal bracing of some sort in both directions. I would put these on the inside of the poles and your strapping for the skin on the outside maybe just like they build pole barns. You could even cover it in pole barn siding it comes in lots of colors now and would work good for this.

Neal is right I wouldn’t mine all that slope out if you want a floor in there leave the grade alone and build the floor with steps to it for storage.

jmg1213 08-15-2014 11:28 AM

As part of this project, I was thinking of having a couple of levels for the floor, but I also was thinking of doing some leveling in combination with building the floors. Bud16415, instead of cross bracing, I was thinking that the use of sheathing that attaches to the posts would help, much like retrofits done in earthquake prone areas.

slownsteady 08-15-2014 11:44 AM

Quote:

...The house sits on wood posts that go into the ground and I assume sit on concrete footers....
You know what happens when we assume....?

My concern would be if the new walls put any additional stress/strain/load on the posts. Especially if that hill catches a strong winter wind. And disturbing the ground on such a slope as you have, might have it's problems also. If you are going to do anything but the absolute minimum, you might want to consult an expert. In the meantime, make sure that the floor is well insulated.

jmg1213 08-15-2014 02:37 PM

I appreciate those that have chimed in. I was looking for some initial input on my ideas, and as Slownsleady suggests, I will need to have a professional look at the situation and give me some definitive answers as to what I can and cannot do.

Jungle 08-15-2014 03:03 PM

All your footings are rotten because it is wood set in concrete like a fence. Foundations like this only last 10-20 years. Your house sounds dangerous if " There is a slight sway to the house,"
I would suggest you contact a professional, my guess is you need major foundation work. That's when people generally sell houses btw...

nealtw 08-15-2014 04:48 PM

This may be driven pilings with no concrete, any rot either way will be at or close to surface and is fixable.
The real questiopn is how deep the front posts are and how much is required to be below grade. You would have to locate the original engineers report from the permit dept.
That is why I said you wouldn't want to stay away from to much leveling.


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