Inserting Long Beams Under Foundation
I've got a circa 1840 home with the back half over a crawl space.
The foundation is made of field stone. Although I don't know what it is set on it is very solid.
Through the years a variety of solutions have been applied to level up the floor, but now I wish to do something more unified and, of course, meeting codes.
I am getting bids from two contractors, who work with engineers, but wish to think about this some myself.
Initially the thought had been to penetrate the foundation to slide in beams, but per a conversation I just had with one contractor that may be difficult.
The area in question is 33 by 20 feet.
So getting beams placed under in the crawl space is the problem that must be solved initially.
I wondered if shorter beams, designed to be joined, could be brought in and assembled in the crawl space.
Has anyone encountered steel or laminated wood beams that would allow this sort of a solution?
Again this will be eventually be designed by a structural engineer and the eventual jacking up and leveling will be done by an experience contractor. I'm trying to make sure that they don't limit their solutions.
thank you in advance.
Canandaigua, New York
You may have seen the Mega Movers on TV using the long beams slid under a building to pick it up. That is really an overkill for residential leveling where you are not moving the house. Leveling a floor can be done by using 4 X 6 beams and a jack every 4 - 6 feet along that beam. Take it slowly, raising each jack about 1/4" at a time. Of course, the jacks will need some sort of base under them to keep them from sinking in the dirt; again, short pieces of 4 X 6 will hold them very well.
You will need someone inside the house with a level or laser to let you know when a particular place is good.
Not familiar with Mega Movers ... but no, we are not moving the house .. we like the place it has been for the last 180 years or so.
We probably are less leveling as what I would call stabilizing. We especially want to be sure that work we do on the second floor is not compromised by movement, albeit minor, that we detect as move around.
It sounds like your view is that beams stretching continuously across the width of that part of the house, which is twenty feet, are not needed, and that shorter beams with coordinated jacking will do the job.
The main goal I have in these questions is to support my conversations with the two contractors as I settle on an approach.
I'm also trying to think of some work that I can do myself to cut down on the cost. Perhaps just clearing out the crawl space is all I can do. Although this is hard work for a 6' 1" sixty year old.
The questions you will be asking the contractors should be covered by the engineers report. The engineer when finished will lay out the issues and any remedies , approximate costs included.
Every fix is different due to soil and terrain. I happen to know your area, I have family in Dundee and Ithaca. Your area around the Lakes contains Shale and sand. It is also pretty steep in some areas.
The bottom line is , talk to your engineer and have them explain and ask questions pertaining to solutions and problem areas. That's why you pay em the big bucks.
Then enjoy your glass of lemonade, and help out where the contractor is OK with it. Some guys charge more for "help" because if it makes them more work or causes delays, they get grumpy.
The key to knowing what you need to know is this....keep honest communication open, and lots of it.:)
Your already on the right track,
Just to add - I would want to know WHY it has sunk or gone out of level and make sure that was corrected in conjunction with the leveling. This is quite often a rotted sill where its bearing on the foundation.
To InspectorD ..... The foundation conditions are highly variable in this area. I guess depending on what the glaciers did. Sometimes they deposited and sometimes scraped. I'm on a high point at the north side of the lake. The area where the original settlers wouldn't worry about flooding, but still didn't have to dig very deep wells.
to handyguys ... We will have to poke around more thoroughly to look for any of the rot you mention. Neither our inspector's search nor mine have found rot yet. I think it is more that part of my home was built to a standard appropriate for storing wood, etc with floor joists to widely spaced.
Thank you ... and I'll post more as we advance with this.
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