Lifting my house

Discussion in 'General Home Improvement Discussion' started by russstevenson1, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. Feb 24, 2011 #1

    russstevenson1

    russstevenson1

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    Hello All,

    I am new to the forum. Thanks for having me.

    I have a small frame house (29' x 29') on a crawl space in Florida. It should probably be torn down, but I am going to try to save it. The house has no footers and I am planning to lift the house a few feet, dig and pour footers, add three courses of block underneath, set it down, tear the roof off, extend the rear of the house about 12' and put on a new hip roof.

    I had a local draftsman draw plans. The plans have been blessed by an engineer.

    The house is completely gutted, right down to the floor joists. I am going to pour (9) 4' x 4' concrete pads, buy old railroad ties for cribbing, buy nine bottle jacks, make my own wooden beams (3) out of 2 x 8s which I will attach to the undersides of the floor joists, attach steel plates to my beams where the jacks will hit, leave the jacks in the center of the concrete pads and up she goes - I hope.

    My question: How far from the corners of the house should I pour my pads?

    Sorry for the lengthy post.

    Many Thanks,
    Russ Stevenson
     
  2. Feb 24, 2011 #2

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

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    I would go talk to the same engineer who helped out with the plans. We do not know your soil type, or even what your point loads are. It's an easy question for someone who is dealing with what you have, just not easy for us armchair QB's.
    Good luck on your project, and always send us pictures of what your up to.:D
     
  3. Feb 25, 2011 #3

    nealtw

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    Sounds like a plan. Your pads want to be as close to the corner as you can get them and leave room for your footing. keep in mind the weight spreads out in the pad at 45 degrees so 6x6 post can sit on a pad thats 18x 18 and 10" deep. You go bigger for poor soil, if you have to go to 48x48 ,you want to go to 12' deep and 5 rebar each way in a grid. You do need a geotech engineer to check your soil for pads and footings
     
  4. Feb 25, 2011 #4

    joecaption

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    Sounds like a plan for desaster. 2 x 8's are not nearly enoght to lift a house that big. A real house lifting company would use steel I beams at least 12" wide.
    Most footings are 24" wide and 8" deep with rebar. The piers are 24
    X 24" X 6" thick, unless there's some really swampy soil.
    It's an art to lift a house, keep it level and not have anything crack, and be able to set it down again without anyone getting killed.
    Just because you saw it on TV does not make you an expert on how to do it.
    I've seen two houses that DIY's tryed to save a buck and do it there self's, One was a total loss when it came crashing down the other Two years later there still trying fix all the broken sheetrock and broken floor joist.
     
  5. Feb 25, 2011 #5

    JoeD

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    House lifter don't pour pads for lifting. They just use a layer of 8x8 and keep pushing them into the ground until the house starts to go up.
     
  6. Feb 26, 2011 #6

    nealtw

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    the biggest problem here is the beams only 3" wide will want to roll out if the house gets out of balance or if one timber crushes more than its mate. I think I would use three of what ever size you use. Your engineer will have the numbers for how much the house weighs
     
  7. Feb 27, 2011 #7

    JoeD

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    A house that size can be lifted with two beams. That is how many they used to do mine, which is almost identical size, 25 years ago.
     
  8. Feb 27, 2011 #8

    joecaption

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  9. Feb 27, 2011 #9

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

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    So I just ran some numbers just to check this caculator out with some joists, and I end up with a problem. Don't get me wrong, I love that this is out there. However I have an issue with the way it is displayed concerning the bearing ends.
    That 4 letter word "code" only allows a minimun of 1.5 inches of bearing on wood and 3 inches on concrete or block....never 0.53. I understand this is what the wood can acommodate, but why would they even put that information out there if it can NEVER be used. It confuses the person who is researching the information.
    ALWAYS contact your local building official does not work either...some areas do not even have one.
    Any engineers care to explain?





    The Maximum Horizontal Span is:
    18 ft. 9 in.
    with a minimum bearing length of 0.53 in.
    required at each end of the member.
     
  10. Feb 27, 2011 #10

    russstevenson1

    russstevenson1

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    Hello Again,

    Thanks for the replies.

    JoeD said: A house that size can be lifted with two beams. That is how many they used to do mine, which is almost identical size, 25 years ago.I need to use three beams because my floor joists run from the outside walls to a beam which runs down the center of the house. That center beam will be my third beam.

    nealtw said: the biggest problem here is the beams only 3" wide will want to roll out if the house gets out of balance or if one timber crushes more than its mate. I think I would use three of what ever size you use. Your engineer will have the numbers for how much the house weighs.
    I agree that the 3" wide beams will be too narrow. I will use three beams totaling 4.5" and I plan to attach the beams to the floor joists with straps or hangers yet to be determined.

    JoeD said: House lifter don't pour pads for lifting. They just use a layer of 8x8 and keep pushing them into the ground until the house starts to go up.The soil the house sits on is mostly sand. I thought that the concrete pads would eliminate the 8 x 8s sinking into the ground. And if I keep the pads all on the same level, the lift would go smoother and I wouldn't need as many 8 x 8s.

    joe caption said: Sounds like a plan for desaster. 2 x 8's are not nearly enoght to lift a house that big. A real house lifting company would use steel I beams at least 12" wide.
    Most footings are 24" wide and 8" deep with rebar. The piers are 24
    X 24" X 6" thick, unless there's some really swampy soil.
    It's an art to lift a house, keep it level and not have anything crack, and be able to set it down again without anyone getting killed.
    Just because you saw it on TV does not make you an expert on how to do it.
    I've seen two houses that DIY's tryed to save a buck and do it there self's, One was a total loss when it came crashing down the other Two years later there still trying fix all the broken sheetrock and broken floor joist.
    My house has no drywall to crack. No floors, no ceilings. Only walls and a roof and siding. The floor joists and beams are 2 x 8s now. And I might use 2 x 10s instead of 2 x 8s. That is if I can fit them under the house. I do not claim to be an expert. If I was an expert, I wouldn't be seeking advice from this forum. I am a poor man with very limited means and I can't afford to pay a lifter $10k to lift the house. I can't even afford $5k. I have been working on houses most of my life and I am not about to kill myself on this project. I thought it would be fun.

    neal tw said: Sounds like a plan. Your pads want to be as close to the corner as you can get them and leave room for your footing. keep in mind the weight spreads out in the pad at 45 degrees so 6x6 post can sit on a pad thats 18x 18 and 10" deep. You go bigger for poor soil, if you have to go to 48x48 ,you want to go to 12' deep and 5 rebar each way in a grid. You do need a geotech engineer to check your soil for pads and footings.I was told by an architect that the best base for concrete is undisturbed sand. If so, then I have a great base for my pads. I will head your advice and use rebar and make the pads thicker than my original 4". I want to use 48" x 48" pads so as to keep my jacks in the center of the pad and between the cribbing - that is, if the jacks will fit. I think they will.

    inspectorD said: I would go talk to the same engineer who helped out with the plans. We do not know your soil type, or even what your point loads are. It's an easy question for someone who is dealing with what you have, just not easy for us armchair QB's.
    Good luck on your project, and always send us pictures of what your up to.
    I might talk to the engineer, but I might not. They are very expensive and tend to over engineer things - liability issues, I think.

    I will post photos as soon as I can. It will take me a long time to do this lift, as I work mostly alone and I have to do it in my spare time, which is hard to come by.

    Thanks Again,
    Russell
     
  11. Sep 27, 2011 #11

    DougLeary

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    But others contemplating a house lift might benefit from my photos. We had our 100-year-old house lifted 3 ft about 8 years ago to convert a crummy low-ceiling basement to nice clean open living space. Our progress slowed due to some medical issues my daughter had. So I can sympathize with people who experience 10-year remodels. Ironically the basement rooms have been done for a while but the rest of the house is still semi-torn up.

    If you're interested I have quite a few photos of the preparation, lifting and aftermath on my website Lifting the House
     
  12. Sep 28, 2011 #12

    nealtw

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    Good luck and let us know how it,s going.
     
  13. Oct 1, 2011 #13

    BridgeMan

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    Just a few thoughts, Russell--

    1. Better to be a poor man than a dead man. Please be very careful in this endeavor.

    2. Relying on an architect for engineering advice is not a good idea. They are paid to make things pretty, not to make them safe. And a 4" pad is not a pad, it's a sliver, with your jacks likely to punch right through.

    3. Every professional engineer is required to take an oath, saying he/she will use their education and experience to safeguard the public, and protect them from all harm. In the vernacular, some of us engineers refer to it as protecting people from themselves.


    You don't want to become a statistic for the sake of saving a few dollars. Be very careful out there.
     
  14. Oct 2, 2011 #14

    DougLeary

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    Russell -- In my house the joists originally rested on 8x8 horizontal timbers spaced about 8 ft apart. So if I were lifting my own house myself (which I definitely would NOT recommend doing except as a last resort) I would probably use somewhat larger beams for safety sake, say 6x12 instead of 8x8. Instead of putting them under the existing cross beams I would permanently install them under the joists, running parallel to the existing beams and spaced about the same. Then I would lift the house by these new beams, spacing the jacks the same as the posts that hold up the existing beams, and I would leave the new beams in place after the lift.

    If you plan to alter the post plan, especially if you plan to increase the spacing between the posts, then you should absolutely definitely talk to an engineer or someone who knows how to calculate the proper spacing.

    NOTE - I am not a construction professional, and nothing I have said should be taken as advice. It's just me musing about what I would do on my own house, and for all I know could be completely and dangerously wrong.
     

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