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khansen46 06-28-2010 01:05 PM

Piers and footers leaning
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My wife and I just found as close to the perfect house as we think we will find for ourselves. It is everything we have been looking for, and we really want to purchase it. However, it has what I believe to be some minor foundation issues. The piers and footers on one side are leaning a bit, and it has affected the exterior door above this area, and the front door.
I crawled up under the house yesterday, and checked it out as well as I could. There is plenty of room to crawl under, and lots of light.
The foundation is made up of what I believe is poured concrete footers, and the piers are made of brick and were cemented to the footers. I don't see any damage at all to the underside of the house (aside from the insulation being pulled away, which I believe was done by local critters), and think this can be corrected pretty easily. I don't have experience with leveling houses, but I did work in the construction field in my 20s (20+ years ago) and did remodeling and additions. I'm still pretty handy, and am game to try anything once.

My question is this: Once I have raised the house off each pier (one at a time, of course), can I level the pier/footer assembly, trench out another 4" - 8" around the perimeter, and pour another footer around the existing one? Or am I better off just removing it all and pouring new footers and starting from scratch? I'm not too concerned with the appearance aspect of it, as we will ultimately put some sort of skirting arount it or block it up. However, I really don't want to have to do it all over again in another 5-10 years or so.

The house was built in 1984, and is in the country south of Houston. There don't appear to be any drainage issues, so I don't know what caused this to begin with. Since the house is bank-owned, we aren't able to get the history of the house. It does appear, however, that this has been a problem for a while, as some of the interior doors have been shaved at the top so they would close.

This will be our first and last house, so I don't mind putting in the work. I just want to make sure I make good decisions and fix it right. I'd sure appreciate any input. I also have a lot more pictures if that helps.


TxBuilder 06-28-2010 01:28 PM

I'm no foundation specialist, just a DIYer, and I'm sure a foundation guy or one of the guys who knows foundation will be along shortly, but that's a pretty massive undertaking. I would honestly say go pro on it.

mudmixer 06-28-2010 03:23 PM

You have two problems -

First, to figure out why the piers tilt ans apparent eccentric loading on the piers.

Second, Put in new piers that are plumb and one stable soil - may require some digging.

Get professional engineering before wasting any money efforts or lives.

Is this mobile or prefab home with an addition?


khansen46 06-29-2010 05:02 AM

This isn't a mobile or manufactured home. It was built here.
I have a friend who is a construction manager, and he is going to see if he can make some time to come look at it. In the mean time, I've been doing as much research as I can. I'm curious if the footers were not deep enough, and maybe not wide enough. However, I'm not a professional so this is purely speculation.
I'm sure new footers and piers is the best route to take. I don't know a lot about cement and foundations, so I didn't know if the existing foundation could be salvaged. I am curious how deep the footers are now.
We're talking to the bank now, so we still have to wait for them to make a decision, as well as inspection and appraisal. The sale price is almost $50k below the tax assessment, so I think it's a good purchase regardless of what will need to be done to fix it.
Having the work done professionally isn't necessarily out of the question, but with the initial money going out for the down and closing, as well as moving expenses, I don't see being able to hire someone to do it for a couple of years.
Maybe I'm a little ahead of myself, since we still don't know if we can get the financing, but it has given me a lot to think about. Thanks for the input.

nealtw 11-04-2010 05:51 PM

get a quote from a pro or two. this might be a deal breaker..

khansen46 11-05-2010 04:33 AM

We kicked around the idea of buying this house and talked to some foundation experts. In the end, we took the safe route and moved on. We found a house in much better condition (built in 2000) on an acre for land, and got an exceptional price. We closed on it a week ago.

I appreciate the responses and advice. Too often I see something I like, and I end up trying to justify it or minimize the negative. Once I was able to make myself step back and look at it objectively, I realized how much of a risk the other house really was.

oldognewtrick 11-05-2010 05:55 AM

Thanks for the update. Congrats on the new house.

rustfixer 12-18-2010 07:04 PM

right now I'm shopping for a house. I looked at a house with ALL the floors unlevel. The property is nice though a detactched 2 car garage, and enough room on onside to expand it. The house sits on a poured foudation built 1940 ish , It seems to me the main beam needs to be reinforced and shored up. Thing is its not a full basement, only a crawl space ( a tad intimidating getting under there do do that work) My last house i some work in a similar area(installed pex for radiant floor heating) so heres a question,.... the floor in the crawl space is dirt should i put gravel down before setting up the jack posts?

itsreallyconc 12-22-2010 04:36 AM

i'm buying a condo that has wavy floors we'll install adjusta-posts underneath in the crawl space w/spreader beams above to distribute the uplift force,,, those posts will be on conc footings 2x2x1' deep w/2mats of #4 bar in an hole excavated for this specific purpose,,, you may not need to excavate but know 1st if you need to or can just form & pour,,, gravel won't support anything for this purpose,,, happens to be a crawl space for us, too,,, however, its what needs to be done - yours is no different.

' seems to me ' indicates you don't KNOW,,, get an engineer's assessment.

rustfixer 12-24-2010 01:38 AM

thanks for that, i'm looking at a similar house in the same area on 29th

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