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denemante 11-06-2012 03:41 PM

house shift from Sandy - fixable?
Our shore cottage is still standing, but flooded. That could be fixed, but there seems to be a greater problem - it's a bit crooked.

The home has about a 25x25 foot footprint. It was built in the 40s. In the late 60s, it was raised. That process was raising it up, then a square hole was dug under it. Note that it was not a slab poured. Rather, it was a square "ring" of concrete, so open/dirt in the center. That poured cement ring is about 2 feet tall/wide and of course, about 25 feet across.

On top of that are 4 cement blocks high that make up the foundation. The house sits on that.

Post-storm, the downstairs doors don't close right, and there is an obvious slight lean - it lower/higher by probably an inch (or a few inches) - tough to tell exactly.

The home got 3-4 feet of water inside the first floor.

The home still appears square. Strangely, no drywall or other cracks inside. And the visible cement block foundation - no cracks. Plus, the home has not risen off of them. The lines of the siding, etc. are still parallel to the top cement block.

That would seem to indicate the home (and whole foundation) sunk slightly on one side.

The deck remained attached to the house, but was wrecked as the water floated it up or pushed/pulled on it.

All we can imagine is the water somehow loosened the earth, and pushed everything down on one side.

My father thinks the solution is simple - jack the house up and shim it. Sounds crazy to me. I'd be fearful that if the poured foundation sunk some, it's now loose and would need to somehow be secured before anything was done.

The house isn't worth much to start with (the property is). We're also going to need to gut the whole first floor. So we're basically left with a shell of a first floor, a tiny, finished, untouched second floor - then all the work to level the place.

Any thoughts on this lean/foundation issue? Is there any time when just shimming is suitable? Or in every case, would you want to sure-up the entire foundation?

joecaption 11-06-2012 03:49 PM

I'm not seeing lifting and shimming as a very good idea because it would then come down and be sitting on an unstable foundation which may just keep on settling.
No one here is there to see it so where going to be guessing.
My first thought is to mud jack it. Google it.

GBrackins 11-06-2012 04:49 PM

could it be the doors just expanded because of the exposure to water? how about windows, do they open properly? what are the window frames made of?

do interior doors open properly?

just trying to get a feel for things before we jump to something more involved .....

Gensetter 11-06-2012 04:51 PM

See what your insurance says.

gregzoll 11-06-2012 04:54 PM

If it moved off of its foundation and the walls have shifted, your insurance may say to tear it down, then the Feds will state that you can not live that close to the shore and have to move farther inland.

No one knows, but let your insurance company determine what the next move is.

Gensetter 11-06-2012 04:55 PM


Originally Posted by gregzoll (Post 1046133)
then the Feds will state that you can not live that close to the shore and have to move farther inland.

That won't happen.

Daniel Holzman 11-06-2012 05:31 PM

It sounds like you have major repairs ahead. This will certainly require a permit, so you are going to have to follow local regulations. Certainly no one on this site can tell you what the local regulations are, or how they will be enforced. You should start by having a chat with your local building inspector to see what steps are required to repair the property, if it is allowable. Then you can begin the process of deciding what to do next.

Gensetter 11-06-2012 05:32 PM

He should talk to insurance first and he should also see about gettin himself some FEMA bucks :thumbup:

denemante 11-06-2012 06:11 PM

What will be very interesting in the permitting. In this region, getting permits is notoriously horrific - can take 3 years to get a permit to raise your house in normal situations. And many years of lobbying to be able to build outside your original footprint.

They've got to relax that some - there are 1000s of houses that need this work.

gregzoll 11-06-2012 07:20 PM


Originally Posted by Gensetter (Post 1046135)
That won't happen.

It has happened, and do not be surprised that there will be a lot more shoreline taken back in Jersey, due to this.

AvalonGirl 11-06-2012 08:15 PM


Originally Posted by gregzoll (Post 1046245)
It has happened, and do not be surprised that there will be a lot more shoreline taken back in Jersey, due to this.

Not to hijack, but it has happened and I believe Gregzoll is correct. If memory serves, a case was just settled on beach front reclaimation resulting from a 1960's storm in Sea Isle City, yes took 40 plus years to resolve...

concreteman 11-09-2012 06:22 PM

It sounds as though the footings of the foundation were undermined by the pressure of the water. For a perminent fix I would recommend switching to a helical pier type foundation which will give the foundation a much deeper (40'+) bearing point that will never be disturbed. On top of the helical piers a footing would be poured and then concrete piers up from the footing to the house which would allow water to flow unobstructed under your house. A cheaper alternative but nowhere near as strong would be treated wooden pilings.

Canarywood1 11-09-2012 07:04 PM

If you get to the point they will let you repair what's left,look into augercast piles,probably the cheapest way to getting a good foundation under your house, driven piles are way to costly,and helical piles are a lot of work preformed in stages.

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