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Old 03-19-2010, 11:07 PM   #1
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Foundation sinking/sunk?


Hi all,

I have an old house, with lots of additions, that is at least 60 years. The original part may be older (living room and two bedrooms). The living room slopes down about 2-4 inches to the east side of the room. The room adjacent to it, the kitchen, was one of the additions. It is completely level throughout, and actually lines up with the room sloping down 4 inches. This makes me feel the addition came after the sinking, and that maybe it hasn't sunk too much since. My question is, what can I do to make sure it is stable? If I dig down to see the footers, what will I look for. I was thinking of pouring more concrete under the footers.

Also, I am planning to raise the subfloor so it evens the room out (it has a crawl space). Can I do this by attaching 2x6s to the existing joists so that its all level? I realize this will give me about a 4 inch step to the kitchen.

Any advice?

Thanks!

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Old 03-20-2010, 02:55 AM   #2
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Foundation sinking/sunk?


1st step's retaining a p/e w/soils/structural experience,,, you mayn't not even be able to successfully add an underpinning to your footings,,, its your house so do what you want but, if it were me w/your level of experience/education, i'd hate to pay 2 or 2x for the right work,,, do it once the RIGHT way & save yourself $$$,,, we had an 1865 home that was all addns,,, not my 1st time around the block good luck !

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Old 03-20-2010, 11:24 AM   #3
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Foundation sinking/sunk?


By p/e do you mean structural engineer? I've found them hard to get here in Albuquerque, NM.

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1st step's retaining a p/e w/soils/structural experience,,, you mayn't not even be able to successfully add an underpinning to your footings,,, its your house so do what you want but, if it were me w/your level of experience/education, i'd hate to pay 2 or 2x for the right work,,, do it once the RIGHT way & save yourself $$$,,, we had an 1865 home that was all addns,,, not my 1st time around the block good luck !
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Old 03-20-2010, 03:26 PM   #4
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Foundation sinking/sunk?


professional engineer,,, call albuquerque surveyors - 884.2036 - explain your problem & ask who he'd recommend,,, i don't have any cards in my file.
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Old 03-28-2010, 04:18 PM   #5
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Foundation sinking/sunk?


Hey, so I had an engineer come out who said he thought the foundation was fine (despite one joist lower than the others). He did use a level, but other than that no tools. He was at my house for about 25 minutes, wrote no report or anything, and billed us the hourly rate of $160. Is this typical, or should I demand something in writing before paying?
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Old 03-28-2010, 04:35 PM   #6
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Foundation sinking/sunk?


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Originally Posted by archsteve View Post
Hey, so I had an engineer come out who said he thought the foundation was fine (despite one joist lower than the others). He did use a level, but other than that no tools. He was at my house for about 25 minutes, wrote no report or anything, and billed us the hourly rate of $160. Is this typical, or should I demand something in writing before paying?
What did you ask him to do ?
What was the agreement on work to be completed ?
Did you ask for something in writing ?
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Old 03-28-2010, 05:28 PM   #7
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Foundation sinking/sunk?


I asked him for his opinion on the issues above (sinking floor in living room). I have no idea what the industry standard is for a structural engineer, I didn't realize I would have to ask for a written report. For $160 I guess I thought he would do a more through exam than just eyeball the place. I'd also just expect that it would be in a report, for that price.

When I go to a doctor, I don't expect to have to ask the doctor to do a specific exam. I just tell them what the ailment is, and they do their work. I'd also just expect a written report of lab work I get done. Its just part of the deal. Maybe this is not the case for engineers.

It also seems strange that I was charged the complete hourly rate when he was only there for 25 minutes. I understand there is travel time involved, but I'd rather that be said up front.

All other contractors that have been to my house give me something to sign in writing before the work is done, so there are no surprises on the charges.
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Old 03-28-2010, 05:32 PM   #8
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Foundation sinking/sunk?


So you didn't ask what he would do or a price before hand ?
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Old 03-28-2010, 05:37 PM   #9
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I got the price per hour from him, which seemed reasonable. I was just not clear on what the product would be--I thought it would be some kind of engineering report.
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Old 03-28-2010, 05:41 PM   #10
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The next time you have someone out to your house to perform a professional evaluation, you should discuss the terms and conditions of the assignment and get a written contract first. When I do inspections for structural issues, I always have a written contract. Sometimes the owner wants a written report, sometimes oral, sometimes they want my stamp on the report. The price differs depending on what they need.

As for $160 an hour, that is pretty typical for a registered professional engineer, if you think the rate is too high, you can always shop around. As for your house, a thorough evaluation of the cause and origin of settlement can take a lot of time, may require soil borings or test pits, and often requires a careful, time consuming survey of the elevation of points within the house. Not generally something you can get for $160, more like north of a thousand dollars.
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Old 03-28-2010, 05:51 PM   #11
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I think I might have expected somthing in writing
But hopefully would have worked that out ahead of time
I know a lot of Pro's charge a Min fee

When I did PC Tech work it was a 3 hour min charge for an on-site call
That included travel time
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Old 03-29-2010, 12:28 AM   #12
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Foundation sinking/sunk?


My house is about 100yrs old and has sloping floors in several rooms. There is a large fireplace going straight up through the center of the house - the chimney seemed to keep its height however the outside of the house lowered a few inches over the last 100yrs. We had it inspected before we purchased and the inspector said everything is structurally sound despite the sloping floors. He said one of the prime contributing factors was likely poor drainage around the house, making it that much easier for the foundation walls to sink down. The basement gets water along the walls - in fact, with all the snow we had plus all the rain as of late, there's been standing water along the walls now for a couple of weeks. I'm planning on putting in french drains this summer. If the proper precautions aren't taken, which often didn't happen in the distant past, its fairly common to have sloping floors.

Your proposed solution has been done before and should work if done right. Just make sure that the sistered joists are not only level going parallel with the joist, but also that all the beams are level with each other (perpendicular to all the joists).

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