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
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.
on 8/28/2007 5:27 AM firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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...
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.
If the house was NOT on a slab, but on a regular poured concrete or concrete
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.
- "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.
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......
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
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
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.
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
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...
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...
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
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.