Sagging floor repair estimate

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RedneckGrump

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Whenever I get a contractor in to do something, I always get 3 estimates... That way you also see something that one contractor might have missed... And not always do you go for a cheaper one...

I remember years back when one of our schools needed the pool to be redone... (school for the handicapped kids, it was bath water in warmth) But the school board went for the cheapest estimate... They went with a general contractor, rather than a pool specialist... ended up costing them huge, and a 2-year delay on the pool...So the cheapest out of your three is NOT always the right one...
 

zannej

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I've always heard 3 was the right number to get. When I was trying to get a new septic system installed I called over 20 different numbers on the list the inspector gave me. Only 3 responded.
 

shan2themax

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The second company came today. I forgot to ask when I could expect to get the estimate email.
He did tell me that I should hold off on even painting for about 3 months after the sag is fixed, no matter who fixes it, to save myself some potential extra work and such. So... that was a little disheartening, however... it does give me more time to save more money (while ironically spending a lot to fix it.... lol).
I will update as soon as I get the email. I'm curious what it will be in comparison to ballpark over the phone prior to coming

Have a great night everyone!
 

havasu

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...and why you need a minimum of 3 estimates. People are lazy. It's alot of trouble to sit and wait around for the other estimates to come in, and they just use the first guy who walked in the door. The contractor is counting on your laziness as well.
 

Eddie_T

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I suspect that an engineer doesn't do any calcs but goes with his gut feel (and experience) overcharging for assuming some risk.

I was considering leveling my Mom's house but finally sold it as-is. My plan was to add a beam supported by screw jacks and turn the screws a little every few days until the floor became level. Footings for the jacks can be the minimum as there is no frost-line issue. Some builders just use cap blocks set into tamped soil (a steel plate could be placed on cap blocks to distribute the weight).
 
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Ron Van

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I suspect that an engineer doesn't do any calcs but goes with his gut feel (and experience) overcharging for assuming some risk.

I was considering leveling my Mom's house but finally sold it as-is. My plan was to add a beam supported by screw jacks and turn the screws a little every few days until the floor became level. Footings for the jacks can be the minimum as there is no frost-line issue. Some builders just use cap blocks set into tamped soil (a steel plate could be placed on cap blocks to distribute the weight).
That’s pretty much what I did.
 

Ron Van

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Yall...... 23k 😳😳😳

I'll post the summation. Once I have picked myself up off the ground
I’d tell him to get lost. I don’t like what he wrote. He said twice how small the crawlspace was…I guess to justify his enormous price. But then, he didn’t really guarantee his estimate which tells me it will be much more. Shister!

The job is not that difficult.
 

shan2themax

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I’d tell him to get lost. I don’t like what he wrote. He said twice how small the crawlspace was…I guess to justify his enormous price. But then, he didn’t really guarantee his estimate which tells me it will be much more. Shister!

The job is not that difficult.
The structural engineer said the same thing. It is small the further back you go, I've been under there. The worst part is where all the plumbing is. Maybe I will climb back under there myself and take a gander, maybe a video.
The first place that came has come with good reviews, although, not the same things were being done.

I just wish I hadn't procrastinated, but here I am.

Also..... the engineer and this second company have both assumed that the bad floor in the kitchen is from a damp crawlspace, which...... is simply not true. Its from a leak that noone told me about until it was super bad when I didn't live there. I sprayed the drywall down and flooring down 2 years ago, with a vinegar solution to kill the visible mold. Let it dry, and then painted over the drywall with mold killing or encapsulating paint.


I am unsure why you wouldn't give a person a list of all the things needed to fix something. I mean I know that it could change but why no list?


Anyways, it is such a headache to get anything repaired around here. Several of the contractors listed have bad reviews from people I know that have used them.


Ugh
 

tomtheelder2020

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Are you sure this guy is an engineer? It doesn't read like it to me. For example, he says the crawl space is "mostly dry." Is part of it wet? What exactly did he see that was not dry and where was it? How wet? Where did he think the moisture was coming from? If you don't know the source, any fix is done with fingers crossed. If a staff engineer had given me this to review when I was in consulting I would have returned it with red ink comments longer than the original. I presume you didn't pay anything for this report, so quick & dirty isn't a surprise, but still, any competent engineer should be more precise that this.

He says the house is on a flat lot. If the surrounding area is flat too, it is all but certain that the best efforts to control moisture under the house will be accomplished by controlling water outside the house (gutters w/ down spouts out-letting away from the house, ground sloping away from house at 2% grade for at least 5 feet, etc.).
 

shan2themax

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This was not an engineer. This was a company to fix the sag.



This is the engineer report. I thought I posted it already, but maybe not

This us just the conclusion/recommendations portion of his report.

20221210_000153.jpg 20221210_000042.jpg

I can attach the other pages on my next day off...



I DO need gutters. Need downspouts for sure.
 

tomtheelder2020

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This was not an engineer. This was a company to fix the sag.



This is the engineer report. I thought I posted it already, but maybe not

Good to know the report I commented on was not from an engineer. I just skimmed previous comments so I might have missed this report – sorry.

I suggest you talk to additional contractors but this time ask them to address their proposal directly to the comments and recommendations in the engineers report. You could even ask the engineer if he would be willing, at his hourly rate, to comment on the proposal that looks best to you.

I have never seen a home without subfloor ventilation – but that is very likely because I am native to CA where cold isn’t a problem. Vents along with subfloor/plumbing insulation is the obvious costly solution (but still cheaper than future problems due to moisture). Try talking to the County building department to see if there are other solutions; maybe something like vents you close in the fall and open in the spring are an option.

I don’t understand the suggestion of a subfloor fan unless it is intended to accompany a number of vents that is inadequate for convection ventilation. I suggest you ask the engineer how that would help (again, it might well be something I am unfamiliar with).

The engineer makes strong recommendations about drainage – take them VERY seriously. My lot is flat so my downspouts drain to pipes under the lawn that outlet through popups near the street. The last 10 ft of pipe is perforated so water doesn’t stand in the pipe; I also anchored the solid pipe so it won’t “float” in saturated soil.

Is subfloor ventilation still needed if exterior drainage is fixed? I would hesitate to not ventilate, but if you regularly check the crawlspace for signs of moisture after fixing the drainage, perhaps you could get away with no ventilation.

Have you talked to others in your neighborhood? It is likely the ages and construction methods were similar or the same so problems and solutions likely are too.
 

shan2themax

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So.... I live less than 1 mile from the Ohio River. I asked about putting French drains around the perimeter of the house and runoff going to my septic tank. Apparently that is not allowed because even though I have a septic tank, it empties into a sewer system and that sewer system supposedly can't handle the extra runoff.
My front yard retains a lot of water. I feel like the perimeter of the house needs graded. The crawlspace entrance is actually lower than the yard around it. There are no vents around perimeter with the exception of one in the garage, however I can't get to that because there is a small room built inside the garage.
At one time, I had thought about building a frame at the crawlspace opening (no frame on bottom) and then either finding a vent that would fit the opening or using hardware cloth as a cover.

I had decided this past summer that I was going to have dirt dropped off and I would just fill my dump cart for my riding lawn mower and attempt to grade it myself, because there are some lower spots. However, my mom was in the hospital/hospice from June to August and I have been concentrating on getting rid of a literal hoard of stuff since then.

I am going to attempt to work on the gutter down spouts these upcoming days off.

The county I live in apparently doesn't have many rules. You don't even have to have a contractors license. I got scammed by a contractor a few years ago for 5k..... gutters and downspouts were part of what was supposed to be done in that 5k.

I hope I hit all of your concerns, than you for taking the time to respond.
 

Eddie_T

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If you vent your crawl space I wonder if a small solar fan might circulate the air enough
 

tomtheelder2020

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So.... I live less than 1 mile from the Ohio River. I asked about putting French drains around the perimeter of the house and runoff going to my septic tank. Apparently that is not allowed because even though I have a septic tank, it empties into a sewer system and that sewer system supposedly can't handle the extra runoff.
My front yard retains a lot of water. I feel like the perimeter of the house needs graded. The crawlspace entrance is actually lower than the yard around it. There are no vents around perimeter with the exception of one in the garage, however I can't get to that because there is a small room built inside the garage.
At one time, I had thought about building a frame at the crawlspace opening (no frame on bottom) and then either finding a vent that would fit the opening or using hardware cloth as a cover.

I had decided this past summer that I was going to have dirt dropped off and I would just fill my dump cart for my riding lawn mower and attempt to grade it myself, because there are some lower spots. However, my mom was in the hospital/hospice from June to August and I have been concentrating on getting rid of a literal hoard of stuff since then.

I am going to attempt to work on the gutter down spouts these upcoming days off.

The county I live in apparently doesn't have many rules. You don't even have to have a contractors license. I got scammed by a contractor a few years ago for 5k..... gutters and downspouts were part of what was supposed to be done in that 5k.

I hope I hit all of your concerns, than you for taking the time to respond.
Make sure your downspouts discharge well away from the house.

You want the soil adjacent to the house to slope away 1/4-inch per foot - or steeper if possible - for at least 5 feet. Personally, that is as close to the house as I would ever put a french drain. For a short section of my house that is 5 feet from the property line, I excavated down 2 inches, placed heavy plastic on the ground with the edge turned up 3 inches onto the foundation, then covered the plastic with decomposed granite 3 inches deep against the foundation and 2 inches deep at the outer edge. It makes a nice looking walkway that is impermeable.

Lack of vents for your subfloor can't be a unique situation. Talk to other homeowners. Maybe just fixing the drainage will be enough to fix the moisture problem.

If I had your sagging floor problem, I would likely install some kind of temporary supports myself to at least keep the problem from getting worse. Something like the engineer described: 1) a base constructed of 3/4 inch plywood sitting on bricks, 2) a bottle jack or other cheap jack; and 3) 3/4 inch plywood between the jack and beam. This would not be adequate for the long term, and I would not try to use this to re-level the floors, but relieving a little of the load could inexpensively stabilize the problem until you can work out a permanent solution.

If you can live with the sag, you might be able to act as your own contractor (and some of the labor?) to install a permanent system instead of the temporary one I described. Do some research on the kind of support system the engineer described. Talk to the people who sell building materials (yes, even the ones at Home Depot) and talk to people buying the same materials you would need - I have received great advice that way. The down-side of being your own contractor is that if a laborer you hire to dig holes and pour concrete footings hurts himself you could be liable for big costs. Jacking the floor back into place might require repairing or replacing the existing supports (which sound like they might already have problems) and so is a different problem. There could also be other structural issues a contractor would see that you won't but those are the kind of cost/benefit choices we all make.
 

shan2themax

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Thanks for the information and its something to consider. The first companies estimates were half the cost, but I feel like it would be me comparing apples to oranges trying to compare the 2.


Here are pages 1,2,3,4 of the engineers report. I already posted 5 and 6. Idk if its helpful information or not.20221210_140154.jpg 20221210_140225.jpg 20221210_140107.jpg 20221210_140115.jpg
 

zannej

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Something my dad did about some of the poor drainage in our yard was to use a post-hole digger to dig a hole straight down for a few feet. He made sure he broke through the clay layer & hit the more sandy layer underneath. That allowed for better percolation of the water through the soil. He then filled the holes with dust-free drainage quality rocks.

My friend did the same in some spots and also dug a trench along his sidewalk with the same type of rocks & had it slope to the ditch in front of his house.

I like the idea of solar panel fans, but they might not be necessary so long as you add some vents. Maybe just those louvered type ones that are rated for outdoors. You can put screen material behind them to keep rodents out.

I am interested in seeing photos that you plan to take (you know I'm always wanting to see photos). I hope a 3rd estimate might be better.
 
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