I currently have a 30 yr old seasonal two story log cottage sitting on cedar
posts which are either sitting on bedrock about 2 feet below ground or
soft ground at varying depths according to slope of bedrock. I do not have
access to heavy equipment as I am secluded. The land slope is about 10
percent. My problem is that the frost has been heaving the posts at the rear
of the cottage which is now 5 inches higher than the front. I tried putting
in cement blocks filled with concrete and putting them as deep
as I could but they are heaving too. The construction is simple 6 inch
cedar logs nailed vertically on post and beams. The 2 story cottage
measures 25 X 32 feet. The slope of the bedrock( which is a few feet below
ground level at some support points) can be at 30-40 percent. My next plan
is to just get the cottage level and use new cedar posts. I need to lift the
sagging sections and put in new cedar posts. For this I want to use three
20ton bottle jacks to straighten the main beams which are double 2 X 12.
My problem is how to safely support the jacks at a three foot hight. The
ground is sandy with clay underneath. Can I just use cottage pads on the
ground and put solid concrete blocks to fill the gap. So one support would
be a 18 X 18 X 3 inch reinforced pad on the ground with maybe crushed stone
to level. then several 3 x 6 x 8 solid concrete blocks stacked together and
finaly the bottle jack and a 3/8 steel plate secured to the jack and the
beam. In my area there is available either a 20 X 20 X 4 inch 7000lb per
square inch cottage pad or a 18 X 18 X 3 inch steel reinforced. I would
prefer the reinforced one because its only 75 lbs and easier to stack and
move around. I don't know what the load capacity of the 3 in is and I dont
know how much of a load I will actually be putting on it. There are so many
variables. I've seen house movers using what looks like railway ties to
build cribs to do this but i can't find any DIY info on this method. Has
anyone had similar challenges that can give me some pointers. How far
apart to place the jacks? How to keep the whole lifting assembly dead level
while it is being pushed into the ground?
Sorry for the long post but I'm trying to do this job right for once and not
kill myself in the process. I heard that if the jack is not dead level it
could slip out and....well my wife would be rich ;-)
A couple of moths ago TLC ran a show on the relocation of a historic
train station that was going to be made into a museum. They had some of
the most rotten soil you could imagine and the whole station sat
directly on its floor. Picture a concrete matte foundation without the
concrete. They had a lot of details on exactly the method you were
Another possibility is contacting a house moving company and talking to
one of their field superintendents.
The cottage pads should be sufficient but since the soil is sandy on
top. I would try to spread the weight by putting several tightly packed
2x12's under the cottage pad. This should prevent most of the sinking.
The jacks do need to be level but at least one will always be out of
level as the cottage is being raised. Get several (borrow from friends
or rent them) 4' framing levels and strap them to the house at the
corners and midspans. You can even get post levels (very cheap) that
tack on to the corners of fence posts and put them on the bottom corners
of the house.
Just some thoughts.
Maybe lower the back by say an inch or so at a time by supporting
beside each post, cut an inch off, then lower ... and repeat. Better
still, replace the posts while at it. A buddy has a similar situation
... footings don't go down below the frostline so levelling once in a
while is required. Too bad you can't get down to bedrock and put an end
I have a bunch of left-over shingles from my new house. They are IKO
brand. There are a bunch [about 40] of "cap" shingles. There are 4
packs of IKO Aristocrat 25 shingles. There are 15 packs of IKO Chateau
shingles. I've had no luck selling or giving them away but I'd hate to
just dump them and don't have any room for them here.
I read a few months ago about a place in Maine that either buys
left-over materials or lets you donate them. Then other people can go
and buy your old stuff cheap. I live in York, Maine and remember it
being in a town pretty close by. Does this ring a bell for anyone?
Basically I'm just trying to get rid of these shingles and it would be
nice if someone else could use them and save some money.
A quick email to let you know that I found the place I had heard about.
It's called the Maine Housing and Building Materials Exchange and
here's their URL:
They came to my house and picked the stuff up. The guy was very
professional, wrote out the receipt, didn't leave a mess, etc.
Thanks for the suggestions!
I would suggest forgetting about the old posts and footings for now.
Pour new ones next to the old ones at proper depth (dig with 2 man
auger, very portable) after these have been in place say for 2 weeks
place the jacks on these new pads and re-level the entire building its
not that big. Any other way is going to allow the problem to continue
if you do not get below the frost line you will have heaving there are
no if ands or buts about it.
If you do one at a time you do not have to worry about it going
I've seen house movers using what looks like railway ties to
these cribs are used after the house is lifted the house rests n them
while the new foundation or walls are being erected. If Im
understanding correctly your saying there is no stable ground on which
to rest these oncorrect ? which is anoter reason why you must pour new
there is only one way to do it right and not have to do it again....you
must get below the frost line......
Frank D wrote:
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