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Begreen 03-03-2006 09:05 PM

New foundation, old house
We have an 80 yr. old, 2 story farmhouse on a pier and post foundation and have been trying to get it on a fully sealed perimeter wall system. We've contacted local (rural) contractors and there seems to be two approaches. One is to lift the house many feet in the air so that they can work. Then drop the house on the new foundation. The other approach is to support the floor joists close to the perimeter and then dig, form and pour the foundation in place without lifting the house.

Which approach makes the most sense? We don't want to change the height of the house permanently. One contractor proposed building a permanent inner support system about 2 ft inside of the perimeter (complete with poured footings) and then, one section at a time, building foundation forms and pouring. That means 5 pours. This seems like overkill, but I am not a foundation specialist. The bid was the same as lifting the house, so I fail to see the advantage of this approach. I would have thought that installing a temporary system of (cribbing? jacks?) to support the house while the foundation forms are built would be more appropriate. Good common sense would sure be appreciated about now. Please share your thoughts.

Thanks, Will

Begreen 03-03-2006 09:11 PM

I should add that the house is remarkably level and true, so all we're trying to do is get it on a good base. The reason being that right now the crawl space is horrible, no one wants to work under there so we can't get the floor insulated, plumbing done, etc.. Also we have a problem with rodent intrusion that we want to put a halt to.

Square Eye 03-03-2006 10:05 PM

The house being level now, I don't see any reason to lift any part of the house.Why don't these guys just knock out a section at a time on opposite walls and pour concrete to the existing floor system? They could leave enough to adequately support the house while forming and pouring. Are these guys wanting to lay block?

Begreen 03-04-2006 12:32 AM

Nobody's proposed laying block yet. This is pour and pump that they are proposing. The last to bid contractor has not done a job this big. He requested that an engineer specify how to do the job. It's the engineer that came up with the idea of total house support next to the foundation wall. I don't mind being safe, but I don't understand why the engineer is proposing a permanent inner support structure. Once the house is on the new foundation, this inner structure appears to be totally redundant. Temporary support makes more sense to me, but I'm not a builder.

inspectorD 03-04-2006 07:11 AM

Few questions...
Hello Begreen,
Sounds like quite the project. In actuality it's not so bad.
First what type soil do you have and how far away can they support temporary posts from the new foundation?
The reason is if its sandy or really clay soil you need two different approaches.
The sandy soil is best done in sections of the house and no lifting as square eye said. This is because you can have collapse during the construction of the foundation if to much area is excavated at once.
The problem with the clay is that if you do it in sections, it may have a tendency to leak or crack if you don't do a single pour of the foundation. This means lifting the house. The house can be set true again without any problems so it's not a big concern.They will cut the electrical and plumbing to lift the home however, hope your not going to stay.
This sounds like a big undertaking but many have come through this unscathed, The professional you hire makes all the difference.

You get lemons if you pay for lemons!:D


Square Eye 03-04-2006 07:34 AM

It sounds to me like the engineer is doing a "cover my tail". If the house shifted or the temporary support failed, well, he can already smell the lawsuit. A full perimeter permanent structure inside a new foundation wall is redundant to the structure of the home.

InspectorD and myself may have to come do this one ourselves. Ha-Ha-ha-ha,,just kidding, someone will surely give you an acceptable proposal if you keep looking.

Begreen 03-04-2006 10:29 AM

old house foundation
duplicate post, can't delete

Begreen 03-04-2006 10:40 AM

old house foundation
The soil is glacial till, somewhat sandy down to about 8 feel then below that clay. This does 'seem' like a butt covering exercise at my expense. :confused: The engineer did have a house collapse many years ago (weekend foundation fixing party with whole house on cribbing). There was a fatality connected. That may explain the suggested process.

It's the permanent installation of a complete interior perimeter support system that seems so unconventional to me and so expensive. This house is on a gentle slope of about 2' over the 35' width of the house. There have been no soil stability issues in this area, no drainage issues, etc. So the approach of one side at a time with good - temporary - supporting, seems to make sense to me. How much risk is there with a good temporary support system when three other sides of the house remain supported? What is the best temporary support system? The house is approx 30 x 35. What is in very rough ballpark terms is the average cost for this kind of work? (Please say what region too).

If there is any good information on this on the web, it would sure be appreciated.

inspectorD 03-04-2006 02:38 PM

Better yet...
I actually have the answer for you, hope it helps.

:) Inspectord

Begreen 03-04-2006 08:38 PM

We're on the same wavelength. I spoke with the contractor today and we are going to contact local house lifters to get estimates for lifting. One of the names that came up is on the iasm list for WA. Thanks for the tip.

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