Reinforcing a sinking foundation in an old home

My home was built in 1926 and is aprox. a 1650SQFT single story home with a crawlspace. Let me start off by saying this was my "first-time home buyer" expereince and I should have gotten another inspection before buying, but with that aside. I have a few problems that I am trying to address. The main problem is the foundation problems, it is a concrete stem wall with a crawlspace. The clearance under the house is minimal, between 14" - 24" there are a few cinder blocks under neether the main load bearing wall in the middle of the home. The joist is not even touching the cinderblock at this time, it looks like someone just tossed it under that joist to make it look like reapirs had been done. This main wall itself has sunk 2" since I moved in 2 years ago, I've called every foundation repair company in the state and most of them have turn me down saying they can't do it or they are to busy?? I mean when we are talking about a 10,000 - 15,000 dollar job you think they would be all about it but I guess not. I did have one of them refer me to another compnay that specailizes in raising and level wood floors. they came out and quoted by 12,000 dollars for 30 concrete pads with supports and a couple beams +labor. and that company did not aprear very professional when they came out, so im a little hesitant to hire them but they have been the only people that have givien me a quote yet. Could I cut a hole in my floor and do some excavation myself to save money or possibly do this work myself? I dont really have access to that much money for the repairs and would be willing to try it myself. Any thoughts or ideas would be most appreciated.
-Mike Oklahoma City, OK
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Some things can be done by a novice, others need special equipment -- it really depends on what needs to be done. I can sympathize with your difficulty in finding people who are willing to work -- feels like next to impossible to find someone to take your money these days when it comes to repairs. Your post leaves some open questions... maybe if you answer some of these people can give you better advice:
- What do you mean "joist is not even touching the cinderblock"? Do you mean the cindrblocks "tossed" on the crawlspace floor (presumably dirt?) are sinking on their own? That would be pretty strange -- a cinderblock only weighs a few pounds by itself.
- The main wall "has sunk 2" ..." with respect to what? Is the floor sagging in the middle by 2", or is the entire house sinking, or what?
- What symptoms is your house showing? Floors are starting to slant? Interior walls are cracking? Doors not working anymore? Floor beams and joists looking like they are sagging/tilting/etc.? Foundation stem walls cracking? Visible sinking in part or all of stem walls? Gaps opening between foundation and walls above?
- What are the new beams for? Are the old beams (which lasted 80 years) rotten?
- If your 1926 house moved 2" in 2 years, how many feet has it moved in the 80 years since it was built? Do you know what changed?
Depending on your situation, soil type, etc, you might really need that $12k job. Or maybe just digging some footers for posts/pillars under your existing beams, and maybe some reinforcement of existing beams. You might post a picture or two if you can...
-Kevin
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I've lifted portions of two homes, and my son and I raised an entire 22 ft. x 35 ft. garage 4-1/2 feet in the air. For the garage, I called everyone, even house movers, and only got 2 companies willing to do the work. I found that the most important thing is planning. Before you touch anything, sit down and figure out every detail of the job. Not only how you're going to lift it, but how you'll construct the new foundation and how you'll lower the house. Then DON'T DO ANYTHING. After a few days, you'll probably think of something else you forgot. Keep doing this until you're 100% certain that you've thought of everything. After you're 100% certain, go out and get the tools and construction material you'll need. Don't start the work until everything is on-site. If you can't get under the home, you may need I beams. I've used screw jacks and 35 ton hydraulic jacks, but the best jack I found was railroad jacks.

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Mike, I have to second kevin's questions and Bob's cautions. I don't think it is wise to start work until a clear statement of the problem is made. It is possible to raise a house. I've planned and assisted in raising my three story house. Phots or a clearer statement of existing conditions would help a great deal. TB
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Mike, I have to second kevin's questions and Bob's cautions. I don't think it is wise to start work until a clear statement of the problem is made. It is possible to raise a house. I've planned and assisted in raising my three story house. Phots or a clearer statement of existing conditions would help a great deal. TB
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