Need input on Jacking up house

Discussion in 'Framing and Foundation' started by Sheryl, Oct 8, 2007.

  1. Oct 8, 2007 #1

    Sheryl

    Sheryl

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    HI,

    I am new to this forum. I am looking for any kind of input...good or bad:)
    we own a small cottage in Cape Cod Mass and it needs some help!! The foundation needs to be jacked up and leveled. I know we need new floors and all. How intense is this. Someone we know has the jacks to do this. My questions are. Can this be done piece by piece or is it something that has to be done all at once? Can we do like the front corner of the house in the spring and then maybe another corner later in the summer? This house is not built on a foundation so there is just dirt under it. Is this a huge project? And approx how much $$ do you think it will cost if we do the work ourselves? The house is small. maybe 25' by 15' and I think it might be smaller then that. Besides cement blocks, plywood and 8' boards, what else would we need? Thanks for any input....Sheryl
     
  2. Oct 8, 2007 #2

    glennjanie

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    Welcome Sheryl:
    No larger than the house is I would want to do it all at once. Trying to do it peicemiel would cause cracks in the walls, ceilings and roof each time you make a run at it.
    I would want some timbers under there to jack against to distribute the weight; 4 X 6 or larger.
    Yes, replacing the floors and doing the jacking is a large project. Are the floors or the framing under them rotten? You should replace only 2 or 3 floor joists at a time because the house could slip off the jacks and, without the floor joists to hold it together at the bottom, it could just 'spradle' out. (A good southern word, picture a cow on ice with legs spread out and laying on its belly)
    You can price the framing and subfloor at the big box store and 8" concrete blocks will cost about $5 each, furnished and laid. You may be required to put a concrete footer under the blocks too. That can be a major expense because of the hand digging and the depth you would be riquired to go.
    Check the sills closely for termites or rot (the timbers around the peremiter of the house).
    You have my blessings and sympathy on this one, Please be careful.
    Glenn
     
  3. Oct 9, 2007 #3

    Sheryl

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    Hi Glenn,
    Thanks for the reply. The only floor that I know is rotten for sure is the entrance way floor. It dips down when you step on it. :) That is in one of the corners of the house. I am sure the framing must be rotten also, because I don't think they had pressure treated timbers back when this place was built. I think it was built in the early 1900's. I was hoping you wouldn't say it should be done all at once!!! We are looking at alot of $$.
     
  4. Oct 9, 2007 #4

    glennjanie

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    Hello Sheryl:
    The only thing I meant to say that needed to be done at once is the raising and leveling.
    After that, you could consider the foundation next spring and the floor repairs sometime after that.
    I hope you can breathe easier now, sorry to be so pushy.
    Glenn
     
  5. Oct 9, 2007 #5

    Sheryl

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    Glenn,

    I don't think you were being pushy at all. :) I know this is going to be a big job, just wasn't sure how we should go about doing it. When you say foundation do you mean an actually cement poured foundation or do you mean just cement blocks? I know I sound dumb but we have never done this before. And again, I welcome the comments, you are not being pushy at all.
    Sheryl
     
  6. Oct 9, 2007 #6

    Oilcan

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    I have a two story house built in 1907. Quotes to repair the foundation were in the 20k to 30k range 5 years ago and have since doubled. So, I decided to do it myself.

    I worked on the project over 3 summers and here's my advice. You can easily work on the house over time but when you lift it, lift it all at one shot.
    I didn't do that in the beginning and it caused me many headaches when it came to the leveling (releveling) part. not to mention cracks and stuff.

    Once I made the committment to raise the whole house I started to make better decisions. I spent a whole month rerouting plumbing, gas and electricals to make clear paths for the beams. On a house that old it felt good to change out some of the ancient stuff underneath. I had two or three ghost sets of abandoned plumbing that I had to cut out.

    My house was on jacks for about a year which is a little sketchy out here in earthquake territory but while I wasnt working on the house I had it blocked up as much as possible. Too much probably.

    Here's the key point. I found a contractor that gave me specs on how to do the repairs to code. I also downloaded the generic foundation plan from the city. I did most of the work myself and then I hired the contractor at the tailend of the job to facilitate the inspection and the paper work. They came in and did the retrofitting part in basically one day. It would have taken me weeks.

    And a little tip. Most of the lifting I could do with 5 ton screw jacks which are way easier to scooch around under the house. I bought a couple 32 ton jacks and ended up not using them that much. I had 10 screw jacks and would have used more if I could have afforded it. Also, before you start, cut a whole bunch of blocking out of 2x6's to put under the jacks. If you are using 4x4's for the posts it may be worth buying a cheap chop saw just for that. I just left mine under the house during the job.

    Good luck

    oc

    edit for this: For the beams underneath I used 4x8's just because it was easy to find the Simpson ties and brackets that were the right size.
     
  7. Oct 10, 2007 #7

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

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    All the advice here is great...but to see pictures and read a little first would help alot...this is a big job. Even for professionals.

    Good ones go to the library first.:D
     
  8. Oct 10, 2007 #8

    glennjanie

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    Hi Sheryl:
    The footing should be concrete and the foundation can be concrete blocks. To bear the weight of a house 8 X 8 X 16 blocks are recommended. Be sure to use sufficient ventilators (check the local code).
    Glenn
     
  9. Oct 10, 2007 #9

    rp14

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    I am getting ready to lift and level my house up in N. Idaho. I am looking for all kinds of ideas and tips to how to do this job. The house was built in 1925 and very little pier blocks. Basically the whole house is sitting on the ground. I may have to open up the floor to access adding beams, jacks, etc. I would also like to stiffen the 2x6 floor joists, can I get away with adding a 2x6 sister or does it need to be 2x8? The house is approx. 30x32 with attic rooms.
    Any help and photos would be great.
    Thank You,
    Ron
     
  10. Oct 10, 2007 #10

    glennjanie

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    Welcome Ron:
    The floor joists sizing depends on the span. A 2 X 6 will span up to 8', a 2 X 8 will span up to 12', 2 X 10 up to 15'. Then, you may want to consider the floor trusses which the supplier will span for you.
    A house that low on the ground is likely to have some termite or rot damage to the joists and sills. You can check them with an ice pick or awl.
    I don't envy your job at all.
    Glenn
     
  11. Oct 10, 2007 #11

    Oilcan

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    Yes, that's gonna be a hard one. I suppose if your lifting it, you might as well lift it high enough to get under the house. Then you could get at those joists a little better.

    It's just my personal taste but I don't like to sister with bigger lumber than the original. I would sister both sides (I have) with the same size material but then again, Im um let's say..meticulous that way.;)
     
  12. Oct 10, 2007 #12

    snarcher

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    I am looking at buying a house that will need floor leveling as well. its a 2 unit 2 floor house. there was an addition built on the the back of it that contains a kitchen upstairs and downstairs and is sagging pretty bad. its like a fun house.

    the strange part is that the UPSTAIRS is sagginway worse than the downstiars kitchen...

    what are your thoughts about fxing it? would i have to put a pole in the middle of the downstairs kitchen?? underneath is only a crawl space with little timble supports...

    should i just avoid the house all together or is it a 25$ fix?
     
  13. Oct 10, 2007 #13

    glennjanie

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    Welcome Snarcher:
    The sagging indicates poor construction practices to say the least. Repairing it could be a simple 'quick fix' or it could collapse during repairs. My advice is to Run. Run as fast as you can.
    But then, on the other hand, if someone with credentials or experience could give you on site guidance you may get a real deal in a house. Make sure you take the repairs out of the purchase price and figure on the worse case scenario.
    Glenn
     
  14. Oct 12, 2007 #14

    rp14

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    The span is around 16' and the 2x6's are actually 2"x6" not todays dimentions. I am going to expect dry rot and not sure about termites since it gets cold up there, again I know nothing about bugs other than breeding superworms for my turtles. I am going to repace the joists anyways to restrengthen the floor, etc. Main thing is learning how to jack up the house and figure out how to place a thicker 2x8 or 2x10 alongside the 2x6 joist.
    Ron
     
  15. Oct 12, 2007 #15

    rp14

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    Anyone have photos of house jacking? I want to get ideas to where to place the wood beams for jacking. Looks like it'll be a 6 month process if I am going to raise it 24" and I would need to live in it as well.
    Ron
     
  16. Oct 12, 2007 #16

    glennjanie

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    Hello Ron:
    I would try to get jacks under the sills (or sleepers), the big beams that the floor joists are attached to. That lifts the walls an all, the floors go along for the ride. I used 32 hydraulic jacks on each house. One house I raised was so cut up that we made 4 rows of 4 X 6 under the house and raised it in waves of 1/4" per row at a time. A 1/4" raise won't crack anything.
    For your 2 X 6 joists, if they are not deteriated, you could leave a blocked up 4 X 6 in the center of the span and not worry about all the floor joists you would have to buy.
    Glenn
     
  17. Nov 1, 2007 #17

    rp14

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    I don't mind sistering joists but I do like the idea of adding another 4x6. I finally moved into the house and will be doing some foundation work during the winter. Question I have is the base for the jack? What do I use? I thought about digging down a bit and pour concrete for the jack base to lift, it will have to be just inside the perimeter of the house so I will have room to pour a footing all around, what size footing should I pour for the jack base? The dirt has a lot of rocks so digging will be fun,
    I am not sure about using 2x4 or 4x4's stacked for the jacks? When I do jack 1/4" a day or so it'll be shimmed for safety.
    Another question, when the walls are tilted, how do I find where the tilt is coming from? I am not lookingb to make anything perfectly straight from leveling the house and will expect some warped walls, I plan on adding 2x6's or 2x2's to thicken the walls to raise the insulation vaule.
    Any tips will be great,
    Ron
     
  18. Mar 8, 2008 #18

    DCuevas

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    I,too, just bought a house in a town built on the side of a hill. We're on 3rd and the back portion of the house in outover thin air. We have noticed that that back corner on one side seems to be sinking a bit. We can see the windows in the back and the door frame are off as well as the flooring on the porches (2 levels). We understand jacking is normal around here, but know nothing about it. Do we only need to do the sagging corner? is there a special kind of jack and what do we put under the jack once we lift the corner. The house was built around the turn of the century, but the backportion is fairly new. WE could use advice on do-it-yourself or contractor? Thanks in advance.
     
  19. Mar 9, 2008 #19

    glennjanie

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    Hello Ron:
    I would use 2 X 6 or 2 X 8 blocks 12 to 16" long to jack from. Dig it down to undisturbed earth and start from there. Even if the block sinks some it will get compaction and start to raise the house. Shimming what you get is most desireable.
    DeCuevas:
    It sounds like your house may be 6' or more off the ground on that corner. For that, I would use a couple of basement jacks to raise the corner and block or shim it off the wall. Its too late to raise the footer, just allow it to get its own compaction but keep the water draining away from it so it doesn't wash out.
    Glenn
     
  20. Mar 10, 2008 #20

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

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    Call in a company to give you some answers to the issues. DIY of this style I don't recommend. You end up with issues that show up later if it was not identified correctly in the first place. Like why is there settling? Soil type, or water issues?
    Get someone to look and give you a price. Then decide if you want to own some 20 ton jacks,all the material and holes to dig, get really dirty, and have a house over your head when it cracks loudly. I have raised many a house , never has one been easy.;)
    See what is involved first.:)
     

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