When we had our foundation replaced, it took about two days to
get all the equipment in place, but the actual jacking up of the
house took about half an hour to lift the whole thing 4 feet.
Rather than traditional screw jacks, they used centrally-
controlled hydraulic jacks so that the whole house lifted evenly,
no cracking, no split beams, doors and windows still opened and
closed normally, etc. Much faster and less disruptive than my
previous experience of lifting a house with screw jacks, and well
worth the cost of having a professional with the right tools.
The house was lifted on two steel I-beams supported near the
ends, around 30-foot span between jacks.
While it was up in the air getting the new foundation poured, we
took the opportunity to sister every floor joist whether it
needed it or not -- how often do you get a chance to work under
the floor with 4-foot clearance and no foundation walls in the
firstname.lastname@example.org is Joshua Putnam
Yep, that's right. Pay some professional about $20.000 to fill out 12
reams of paper to analyze the problem, and then he will go to HD and
buy a few screw jacks for about $50 to $100 each and jack the thing
up. *OR* Save the $20K and just buy the screw jacks yourself, and
raise it a little every week. Of course, keep in mind that it will be
on your conscience that the professional will have to eat hamburgers
and mashed potatoes instead of caviar, lobster, and t-bone steaks.
If your basement floor is lousy, put in foundations. If it's solid,
jack it right off the floor, but get a 16 inch or larger piece of at
least 1/2" thick steel under the post, and another the width of the
beam under the wood. Go to any welding and metal working shop and
they will cut it for you to size.
Screw posts involve screwing. If you dont know how to screw, hire the
professional and but save enough money for your divorce.
Some people like to make things far too complicated.
PS. The first week you can probably raise it 1/2 inch. After that,
give it one half turn every few days, or no more than 1/4" per week.
Keep an eye on your doors and windows upstairs, and prepare to patch
plaster cracks. Remember, the house used to be straight (usually), so
you are only putting it back where it belongs, but there has been
patching and door adjustments made over the years.
Since the main column you have now settled 2" doing a footer first is
smart, work without one and you may end up redoing it all over down the
road. If the original pillar was done right it never would have sunk 2".
So what you're saying is she has a choice of having someone with
professional credentials, training , and experience come out and actually
look at her problem, give advice, and make recommendations or she can go
with you, someone who has never seen her problem but thinks that screw jacks
are the answer. That's a tough decision.
On Thu, 14 Apr 2005 22:33:09 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:
Right on, brother. I like the way you talk.
I have lost all respect for the jerks who come in to a newgroup and
the only advice they can pull out of their butt is to say "Hire a
What a cop out and waste of cyber space.
Yep, I totally agree. Why ask the question if that is all that people
can say. I am a farmer, and a handyman, and have been a handyman for
nearly 30 years. I have jacked up many sagging houses, inclusing
several of my own. It only makes sense that when anything sags, it
needs to be lifted, and screw jacks are what is used to raise the sag
in a house. As a farmer, I learned right from the start that when
something needs to be done, you do it. The city folk who got too much
money hire the pros, but out here in the country there are no pros. A
house is not going to fall apart from lifting a sagging beam. At the
same time, it is unlikely to collapse from not lifting it either,
especially is it as old as the OP said. It's just saggings from age.
A wooden beam will sag over time, if there is weight on it. Sag
requires more support. It's not rocket science. My only cautions are
to be sure the basement floor is solid, and prepare for cracked
plaster and misaligned doors. That WILL happen, and there is no way
around it. However, unless the doors were replaced, they will only go
back to their original hang. However, old plaster will crack and just
has to be repaired after. The only other option is to use screw jacks
to ONLY support the beam from further sag. but not to life the beam.
Thus the floors will continue to slope, but not sag more.
If you dont use the steel plates and let the jacks act as a wedge to
split the beam like a splitting wedge used to make firewood, you might
end up with a disaster, or if you are in too much of a hurry to jack
the whole sag in one day, you will end up with a real mess with
cracked and falling plaster upstairs. However, with hand operated
screw posts, it's near impossible to over do it, because you simply
can not apply the amount of effort to over lift it. Just be sure to
use the steel plates to avoid splitting the beam. However, if you
were to use power jacks, then definately do hire the pros.
One other thing. When I have jacked buildings, I have always
compromised a little. In other words, if there is a 5 inch sag in the
middle of the house, I never jack it to exactly level. Jack it up 4
inches and leave it. While you will notice a 5 inch sag considerably,
you wont notice a one inch sag much at all, and leaving that little
sag is much easier on plaster and doors. One other thing. If you
have existing posts under the beam (and you most likely do), be sure
to add shims between those posts and the beam as you jack it up.
You want those posts to continue to support the structure. Just use
scrap pieces of solid wood and drive them in place. If you lift 1/4
inch, use 1/4" plywood.at first and eventually thicker boards.
On 18-Apr-2005, snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:
This makes you an expert? There are ways to jack a beam that will
cause the beam to fail that will almost never be expected by someone
like yourself. They teach that stuff to first-year engineering
students to show examples of why some things are not so intuitive.
Your method can turn a "cheap" lift into a $30,000 repair job
Just because you've been lucky doesn't mean you know what you're doing.
The pros are there because most folks don't have a clue what they are
doing. Advice on the internet is only worth the money you pay for it.
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