Sinking piers & DIY leveling "help!"

Discussion in 'Framing and Foundation' started by gregoire, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. Dec 9, 2011 #1

    gregoire

    gregoire

    gregoire

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    My 1200 sqr foot house is built on a concreteblock/footing perimeter (which seems fine) and is supported by piers in the crawlspace. Some, or all of these piers have been sinking or settling for years. The house is 17 years old and some doors are sticking, and some door frames separating in the upper corners.

    I know this is a job for pros, but I don't have the money. (By that, I mean, I really don't have the money) so, I either fix it myself, or watch it deteriorate.

    My plan is to jack and shem the floor where sagging, till level again. But, from under the house, I can't tell which piers are sagging, and, how much. I've considered buying a laser, and using it as a "straight&level" but due to all the HVAC ducts, there's few places I can have "line of sight" across the entire house.

    Any suggestions on how to tell which piers are sagging, and how much?

    Thanks, greg
     
  2. Dec 10, 2011 #2

    BridgeMan

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    The easiest way would be to buy a laser level, and set it in the crawlspace in rotation mode. Start at the main beam ends, and measure down with a 6-ft. folding rule. Where the light hits is your control dimension, and it may not be the same at both ends of the main beam. Might be best to use the average of the 2 dimensions and then proceed down along the main beam to each pier pedestal to see what the difference is (when you measure down with the rule) between those locations and the beam end number you've chosen to match. Write down the difference for each location, that being the amount you want to raise each pedestal.

    Another, somewhat cruder route would be to use a straightedge with a torpedo level taped to it. I prefer a 10' magnesium straightedge, as it makes for simpler arithmetic to get the total deflection amount at the end of a main beam run when you know the amount the run drops in 10 feet (simple proportion). Could also probably use a line level, although I've never found them accurate enough to fully trust, especially for longer pulls. But I have bloodied up the hands a few times, yanking hard on the string to make it perfectly straight with no bow.
     
  3. Dec 10, 2011 #3

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACcDtyMwvyc]how to tie a string line - YouTube[/ame]

    This will show you how to tie that string so you don't hurt your fingers, Just attach a board down from a joist at each end of the house and place nail at a set distance from the joist and run a tight string. You can use a $.99 string level but sometimes level is to much to ask and you may want to settle for straight. Then you just measure from string to joists near the piers.
     
  4. Dec 11, 2011 #4

    BridgeMan

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  5. Dec 12, 2011 #5

    njglass

    njglass

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    Try using a water level system. There are a few ways of going about it but this video outlines the basic principles. You don't need a line of sight and distance is only limited by the length of your hose.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAcT_1T25LM]How to Build a Water Level - YouTube[/ame]
     
  6. Dec 13, 2011 #6

    gregoire

    gregoire

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    Wow, these are great ideas, thanks, I've been straining my brain for months. I guess I should have ask here before.
     
  7. Dec 13, 2011 #7

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    If you wait a while you will have five more idea. Do you have a plan for jacking it up?
    There will be lots of ideas for that too.
     
  8. Dec 15, 2011 #8

    joecaption

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    Your going to need at least 3, 20 ton bottle jacks with steel plates sitting on the tops of the piston to keep it from just crushing a hole in the beam.
    What ever you use as a base to set it on has to be level or it will just make the jack tip. I use 6 X 6's most of the time because I have some left over from a job. There wide and thick enough there not going to split.
    A super simple way to get it level enogh to make it better is to have someone in the house watching a long level (min. of 4') and someone else under the house running the jacks and use a walke talke to talk to each other. If it's really far off then do not try and lift it all in one day. you will end up with cracks in the walls.
    It would be best to use metal plates as a shim not wood. Any welding shop will have scraps laying around.
    To know how thick to get the shims just take the level, lay it on the floor and lift it until it reads level, measure the distance from the bottom of the level to the floor.
    If you try and use just one jack most likly you will end up with humps in the floor.
     
    khdesigns likes this.
  9. Dec 21, 2011 #9

    1jackguy

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    hey let me help :
    you need to start at the end of your main beam make sure the beam is in level with the seal plate take your 4 foot level go from one end and other end of the house raising piers as you need . using oak shims never use steel plates they draw moisture.
     

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