House shifting off foundation

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This is about my neighbors house. They live nearby and we recently had real heavy rain and flooding. The water came down the hill behind his house and pushed the house about 3 inches forward on the poured concrete foundation basement. The house is still solid, but they are worried about further rain, which is predicted. Yesterday he had a guy come with a skidloader and dig a trench around the rear of the house, put down plastic tarps closer to the house and put the soil from the trench on top. He said that way the water should channel around the house, and that seems to make sense.
What he cant figure is how to get the house pulled back the 3" it shifted. Knowing this guy, he wont hire any outside pros. He built the house himself and insists he can get it back where it belongs. I explained to him that he neglected to bolt the house to the concrete walls, and he agreed and said he plans to do it as soon as the house is pulled back. The question is how to get the house pulled back. He seems to think he can do it with a few come-alongs. I personally dont think that they are strong enough. This is a smaller house, but it's still heavy. This house is in a rural area. My suggestion is two powerful tractors with chains, and just inch it along. But then comes the next question, what to hook the chains to? I think the sill plate would just pull off and chains or steel cables need to go around the entire house, and said to take off the bottom siding before doing it. What do you think?
On the other hand, I thought he could add a layer of brick on the inside of the basement in the rear and on the outside in front, but that almost seems like more work, and definately more cost than pulling the house back.
He was lucky to not have any pipes or wires break, and there is no solid chimney so there is little to worry about except the house itself. The house is only 3 years old, stick built framed with vinyl siding.
Joe
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This is not a simple issue and is far beyond even very experienced DIY'ers. I suggest first contacting any applicable insurance company and then find a professional with experience with this kind of problem. Likely they will be coming around shortly.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
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on 8/28/2007 5:27 AM snipped-for-privacy@noemail.com said the following:

So, what are you worrying about? It seems he thinks he can do it himself. Offer no advice but have a video camera handy when he starts and if anything spectacular happens, you can submit the video to the Darwin Awards web site.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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snipped-for-privacy@noemail.com wrote:

Sounds like an easy job for a house moving company. I expect they would probably setup and array of cribbing and jacks in the basement to take most of the weight off the sills / foundation to the point where they could jack against the sill horizontally with suitable cribbing and anchors and nugde things back into alignment. After it's realigned the sill should be anchored to the foundation with proper fasteners.
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snipped-for-privacy@noemail.com wrote:

If water piled up enough against the house itself to move it, probably lucky that it wasn't tied solidly to the foundation or might have collapsed the basement wall as well. If it were block almost certainly would have, poured had a better chance.
Not that it shouldn't be, but given the water/drainage wasn't adequate, he may have gotten off w/ the lesser problem since it didn't go floating away down the hill entirely.
Anyway, you can't simply push or pull it w/o raising it at least some -- undoubtedly one of the things the water did was to partially tip it downhill, raising the back slightly and thereby reducing the area solidly sitting on the foundation and reducing the friction forces significantly. Probably was also pretty wet so had some lubrication from the water besides. IOW, I'm guessing it slid a whole lot easier during that time than it's going to going back.
You're right you'll undoubtedly just pull the sill plate/rim joist off if you/he try to pull w/o lift and if you attempt to put a cable or chain around the whole thing you'll simply collapse the corners.
Someone else pointed out the key -- cribbing and jacking. As he also said, housemovers have all this stuff and do similar things all the time--while it's possible to do it for a small structure as this one sounds as though it is, it's unlikely you/he will have anyways near the amount of gear that would be needed and by the time its rented or purchase you'll have a goodly fraction of the cost of the mover in it and he'll be done while your still trying to figure out what is needed and rounding it up...
The insurance carrier contact is good idea, too--comprehensive just might cover some of the cost...
--
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Is this a troll -- to have a house move 3" on a slab foundation would place the toilet in the wrong location or broken off its flange, and shear off all the plumbing lines and possibly any wires that were embedded in the slab. Finished floors would all be out of position and doors would not close properly along with many other problems.

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EXT wrote:

It was clearly stated NOT constructed on a slab...
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block foundation, it will be impossible to drag the house back without collapsing some of the walls, in fact I cannot believe that the house has moved 3" on such a foundation without some damage, especially since 2x4s would only be left with about a 1/2" purchase on the edge of such foundation walls. Must be a troll.
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EXT wrote:

Could be, but I've seen far more incredible things than this sounds like...
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- "especially since 2x4s would only be left with about a 1/2" purchase on the edge of such foundation walls."
I'm not saying it's not a troll, but perhaps I'm misunderstanding the significance of what your are saying.
My house sits atop a block wall. There's a 2 x 6 sill plate lying flat on top of the blocks and the first floor joists sit on top of that. Theoretically the house could slide 3" in any direction and the "worst" sill plate would still have 2 1/2" purchase.
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I agree, plus to have enough water pressure to move it at all, I doubt it would stop at 3". I'll bet you'd have to have a foot or two of water up on the wall rushing pretty quick to get it started. And it's a lot eaiser to keep moving, than it is to start moving, so......
steve

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sounds like a troll, to move a house 3" there would need to be enough water to have flooded it and have done extensive water damage inside, and his drains, Ng and water pipes are all fine-right, and he built it and would even try a come along, unless its a 15x15 ft shack
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On Tue, 28 Aug 2007 15:57:01 -0400, "EXT"

If you think I am a troll, go look at this photo.
http://couleeonline.com/upload/photos/17/1774.jpg
This is one of the worst cases in which this house floated down stream and stopped on top of railroad tracks from this same storm.
We have had severe flooding in this area, covering the states of MN, WI, and IA. Being a hilly area, some houses floated, others slid down hills ending in the road, and some completely collapsed. You can see many more photos of this storm by going to www.wkbt.com and clicking on "viewers photos".
The house I am referring to is in an area that had lesser flooding, but enough water came down the hill behind the house to cause the house to shift 3" on it's poured concrete basement walls (NOT a slab). No, the toilet did not shift, but the PVC pipes were strained where they exit the wall to the septic. The romex wires all remained intact but some of the staples popped where they were stapled to the sill plate. He has since taken the strain off the pipes and wires by extending a few of the wires and temporarily modifying the drain pipe with a fernco coupler. In some ways, I think the pipe and wires may have helped keep the house from completely shifting off the foundation.
I think we have found a solution to get the house back where it belongs. We have taken some heavy duty bottle jacks and have been lifting the house a litttle at a time to place pieces of 1/2 solid steel rod under the sill to act as rollers. This is a slow process. Once we have these rods under the entire sill, a few of us farmers are going to run a cable around the entire house at the sill plate, and using large angle iron on the corners to keep the wood intact, we will pull the house back with our tractors. To insure it dont go back too far, we plan to dig a few 8 inch fence posts in the ground in the rear and put old tractor tires on them to act as bumpers. When the house is back in place, we will have to remove all the rollers and then bolt it to the foundation.
The homeowner has no insurance and we are all happy to assist him. Actually, we find it a challenge. The house was not structurally damaged so this should work. When we move the house, the breaker box will have the power cut and it will hang loose and the plumbing drain pipe will be disconnected. We also have had to remove the vinyl siding along the bottom edge of the house.
The yard will be modified afterwards to make for better draining. At least two feet of mud came down that hill and was piled against the house. This has now been removed with skid loaders. We plan to create a ditch at the base of the hill to allow water to run off to the sides of the house and the soil removed will create a dike of sorts. Hopefully there will not be another storm like this again, but it happened once so it could happen again.
Joe
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snipped-for-privacy@noemail.com wrote:

I hope you're taking pictures throughout your moving attempt. Seems like an interesting method, I've done similar to move a 40' container.
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snipped-for-privacy@noemail.com wrote:

One other comment: Do not attempt to pull the house with tractors for a 3" move, you just won't have the control. Use the tractors as anchors and use manual come-a-longs or high lift jacks to allow much finer control.
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wrote Re Re: House shifting off foundation:

This seems like good advice. Using 5 or 6 (or more) come-a-longs will give much better control.
--
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snipped-for-privacy@noemail.com wrote: ...

I agree overall w/ Pete C, but I still don't think the cable around the corners is a good idea at all -- angle or no, you're highly likely to pull the corners in imo. If you decide to try it, pay close attention. But, if it's like most frame construction, there isn't much more than some 16d spikes in the corners and the corner stress panel and you're putting a point load at that location.
I also agree if you decide to try to pull, don't use the tractor itself but an abundance of comealongs in concert or the hydraulics on your loaders--I would assume every farmer has at least one tractor w/ a loader. Oh, one possible way to get away with it -- if you all have hydrostatic transmissions, then you may have sufficient control, but the one guy w/ a direct-drive has a problem.
I would much prefer the heavy beam between the sill plate and my loader bucket lip and then apply pressure there to push. That worked well when re-straightening the barn here. If this is a small house as you say, the other possibility to pull is the long beam against the bottom side and attach to it on each end. Same caution about using a tractor to do the actual pulling.
Good luck, and tell the guy to buy some insurance--there's frugal and then there's cheap...
--
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If this is a one-story house over a basement, how about applying force at the level of the floor diaphragm?
Wayne
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Wayne Whitney wrote:

Good point/thought...depends on whether conventional joist or truss and how constructed. Typically the sill plate and directly above will be the most solid point but if is truss, might be as well at the top chord although I'd be inclined to try to spread it across the top and bottom chords I think...
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I would not use tractors, use a electric winch, or heavy duty come along, and speeed reducing, power increasing Block and Tackle. Cranes lift heavy loads because of Block and Tackle. The problem is what to attach it to so you dont rip apart the house. A winch may be to fast.
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