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SolidStateS15 03-17-2010 04:09 PM

Questions about jacking up house to replace rotted rim/sill
I have been searching and reading everything I can find about the subject but I haven't been able to find any solid info. I find many different ways of doing it and some who say it's easy and some who say leave it to a professional. I am not a contractor, but know my way around tools and medium construction. I couldn't build an entire house, but a deck is no problem. I'll try and get some pics put up soon but for now I'll just try and explain what is going on and my thoughts.

The whole front of my house (25 feet) had a full deck on it which was installed by boneheads and done wrong. It was not properly flashed and sealed from the house so the entire front rim joist and sill are completely rotted to mush. I can poke my finger through the wood almost anywhere along the front. I'm surprised that the house it still standing, but it's only a matter of time so I need to get this repaired. I'm on a budget to hiring a company is out of the question. I do not have a few grand lying around to throw at it but enough to at least buy the materials to do it myself or with someone.

I have completely torn off the deck, which is how I found the rot in the first place. I was planning on replacing the deck with a smaller covered porch about 5x10. Once I had the deck removed I went to pull the ledger board off and found it to be all rotten behind. The thing is when I bought this house the inspector did notice a section of sill place from inside the house was bad and it was replaced already. From the inside of the house you cannot tell anything else is wrong. From that it seems like I at least have a double rim joist because the inside is good yet, or at least the back half. the water hasn't seemed to creep in any farther into the floor joists to where it's noticeable. I believe the sill is about a 2x8 and the rim is a 2x10. This is a house built in 1949 so it wasn't put together very well at all. I'm 99% positive that the sill is not bolted to the foundation. It's smaller 2 story house, about 1100sq ft, and the front side which I'll be working on is a load bearing wall. It also has a large single window which replaced an old bay window which I am affraid may crack or shatter if it's jacked from underneath. the floor joists run perpendicular to the outer rim as it's the front of the house and the weighted side.

I know it needs to be jacked up and I have full access through the basement, but not sure exactly how I should do it. I have read about jacking it up from the bottom as well as from the outside of the house. Some say you need to jack up the wall and some say the whole thing. I am confused on that. Going in from the inside through the floor is not an option as I have hardwood flooring that I will not tear up so it would have to be from the outside. What's wrong with just jacking it up from the basement? Can I do it in sections or the whole 25' at once? I have 2 12T bottle jacks already to use so that should be enough, but I'll have to get some other bracing and such. My plan originally was to use 6x6 posts, 1 across the top, and 1 under each jack and do sections at a time. I realize now that 1 jack would be enough and that bracing or screw jacks on either side would also work. But from what I am reading it looks like the whole thing will need to be raised slowly over a period of a few days. Am I supposed to just start at one end and work my way down or should i utilize both jacks at either end and work in? Also the basement ceiling is finished, so do I assume I will have to remove the dryway to the area near the wall or it will be crushed.

What should I be doing here?

bjbatlanta 03-19-2010 05:20 PM

If you decide to undertake this project, what you should be doing is exercising EXTREME caution. In my opinion, this is REALLY not a DIY project. A lot of things CAN go wrong with bad consequences. I did a similar project several years ago. I did do all of the jacking from underneath (4' crawl space = no fun). A two story house with the roof load on that wall is nothing take a casual approach to. I had three 20 ton jacks and a 30 for good measure. I wouldn't put a lot of faith in a couple of 12 ton jacks. Blow a seal and bad things can happen. I'm sure there will be some more input, but I personally can't advise you to undertake this project in good conscience......

kwikfishron 03-19-2010 06:25 PM

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Some pictures would be nice but I can 99.9% guarantee you don’t need to jack up the house. Working on the Oregon Coast I do a couple of these a year. What you do need is a handful of new sawzall blades and maybe some Band-Aids.

You got the deck out of the way, that makes things a whole lot easier. Not sure what kind of siding you have but It obviously has to come off 1 course above the rotted sheathing and then the sheathing till your staring at the rim. You said it was a double rim if so the joist are probably running the same direction as the rim, if so you just work it a a few feet at a time. You simply cut, sawzall, chisel, split, bloody up a knuckle or two whatever it takes to get a section of rim out, same with the plate. Then replace the section of plate (notching for any bolts) replace the inner of the two rims and then move on. After you got a couple sections done then put 10-12’ piece on for the outer rim. 2x8’s vary from 7 1/8 - 7 ” so expect your new wood to just slip in you’ll probably have to rip them down. Just watch out for wires and plumbing, hitting them always ruins my day.

oh'mike 03-19-2010 07:11 PM

Are you familiar with a JACK WALL??
Atlanta is right about bottle jacks --they are scary dangerous--not what you need with a full basement.

You are going to have to see if the house has actually dropped--Kwikfish pointed out that possibility.

I am a cautious sort when pulling out support members--I would build a temporary support wall in the basement if the sill plate and rim joist need to be pulled out.

If the house HAS sagged in that area build a jack wall instead.
A jack wall is build using studs that are a bit to long--each stud must be beaten in with a sledge hammer---you will easily lift the entire house with a jack wall.

I posted a long winded explanation of how this is done in a long ago post--I'll try to find the post and send you a link---if I can't find it I'll come back and type the whole thing again----Mike---

SolidStateS15 03-19-2010 07:11 PM

Well I did start to tackle this today since we are having a beautiful week end and no rain. I've gotten advice from some other already and am just checking many sources to make sure I do things right. I have also heard from others that I may not have to jack up the house. So I decided to just go ahead and add my bracing wall underneath it all and go from there. Today all I got done was the wall and it should be sufficient. I then went outside and started to pry off the old rim to take a look. It comes off very easy since it's completely rotted through. It wasn't as quite as bad as I though it would be either. The sill plate is only totally rotten and soft on the outer 2-2.5", but not great the rest of the way. It's still enough to support the joists however and it doesn't appear that anything has sunk down. I should be able to pop out the old sill plate in small sections and replace it w/o jacking up the house. I'm also debating on even replacing it or just replacing the rim which is the worst. I will probably try an small section first and just see how it goes and that will let me know how the rest will go.

kwikfishron 03-19-2010 07:24 PM

199 Attachment(s)
He said it all looked good from the inside

oh'mike 03-19-2010 07:30 PM

I know you don't need this any more--But dog gone it I had to work to hard not to post this--
How To Replace A Rotted Sill In An Older Home - DIY Chatroom - DIY Home Improvement Forum

bjbatlanta 03-19-2010 07:40 PM

Glad it worked out for the best (from the sound of things). The one I did, the sill was totally gone and part of the rim joist had rotted and sagged, so it had to be jacked up a bit over 2" (all the creaking and cracking was a bit disturbing). Some rocket scientist (previous owner) decided to put up a 3' brick wall around the patio on top of the existing slab (no footing). The slab eventually buckled in the middle and water went toward the house due to the "peak" in the middle of the slab. No telling for how long. The homeowner who contacted me was looking at replacing some rotted siding. When I pulled a piece off, SURPRISE.....
Best of luck.

SolidStateS15 03-19-2010 08:50 PM

Thanks all. I did forget to answer kwickfish, but as stated in the original post the joists are perpendicular to the rim. After pulling the rim off the house I found that there is only a single rim and not double. it's just the parts that can be seen from inside just looked fine from the back so it made me think there may have been a double layer. The basement ceiling has been drywalled and there are some gaps where you can slightly see though. I also had some sections cut out to run some wires and that side looked good from inside but it's really not. I think just one side of the house is worse than the other, but it all has to come out.

mike, I didn't read your link yet but I did sort of do what you said already. When I made my support braces downstairs i did make them a little long and pound them in so they were really tight to help relieve some pressure from the joists. I just hope it's enough.

oh'mike 03-19-2010 10:42 PM

Very good--that's a jack wall--you figured it out on your own! I used a jack wall(actually a series of them) to lift a garage 9 inches. They are simple and safe.---Mike---

SolidStateS15 03-22-2010 11:43 AM

Well I got it all finished last night and it turned out just fine with no jacking up needed. I was just lucky that the house hasn't sank any or it would have needed to be lifted up. Only one portion had dropped a little because the sill was completely crumbled, but bewteen the support wall and wedges it was able to be fixed. No cracks inside the house so that's good. The only thing I notice so far is the front door deadbolt is hard to turn now so it's not lined up anymore but that's an easy fix. It may also be fine after I remove the support wall. It was still a very intensive project for one person but doable in a week end and I proved it. Next step are the finishing touches like flashing, wrap, siding but the hard work is done.

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