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Old 07-24-2011, 03:25 AM   #1
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House leaning

Ever since I bought this 1920 house I have known that the East and West outside bearing walls were leaning to the west a half inch. Both walls are consistent on the lean. I raised my house and added two feet to the existing foundation. To add a sill plate,put a glulam in the center of the joist and to make the basement livable. I was hoping that the lean wood straighten out also because there was some settling in the in the west side of the house foundation. Cracks on the floor from separation and also the foundation was leaning towards the west . But it didn't straighten anything. Every part of my house is stripped to studs. I have started framing the new design of the house and I can't stop thinking about that lean. I would like everything to be perfect. It keeps me up at night thinking of ways to fix it. Do I live with the lean? Is a half an inch even something to stress about? Are there other projects that this will affect? Just trying to ease my mind. Thanks. First remodel job but not the last.


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Old 07-24-2011, 07:14 AM   #2
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First off, how did you measure half an inch lean in 8 feet? That would be hard to measure with a carpenter's level. Second, why are you concerned, by your description the lean is permanent and stable, and you are adding new work, which presumably you will install plumb and level.

The part about "putting a glulam in the center of the joist" made no sense, either there was a typo in there, or you used some really exotic framing I have never seen.

The part about getting rid of the lean by adding two feet to the house also made little sense. You did not indicate that you attempted to plumb the house when you jacked it up, so why would the lean disappear? And if you did attempt to plumb the house when you raised it two feet, why did the effort fail?

Getting a house plumb is not rocket science, you may need to shim the sill plate. But without a detailed explanation, and some drawings and photos, showing exactly what you did, and what you were attempting to do, I cannot understand exactly what happened.


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Old 07-24-2011, 07:32 AM   #3
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I agree with Dan
"lean" means out of plumb

1/2" in 8' that has been there for a long time is manageable as mentioned.
Give us more info.
Glad to help
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Old 07-24-2011, 02:38 PM   #4
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I understand your concern...... I framed houses for over 30 years with a wall out of plumb by 1/8" max. Started with a 4' level, switched to 6' (when they came out) for easier plumbing without a board taped on to the shorter level. Now they sell much longer levels. 1/2" in 8' high is a lot. Sounds like you did a good fix with replacing a solid beam with a glu-lam. The corner diagonal-cut blocking is holding the wall out of plumb, plus the help of the 1x8 ? ship-lapped/butted solid boards installed horizontally. Later in time, 1x4's replaced the blocks, though neither has anywhere near the racking resistance of plywood/OSB;
Fixing would require removing the plaster/lath, the corner blocks, a come-along...........

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Old 07-24-2011, 03:28 PM   #5
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Red face

Yes it is out of plumb by a half inch. The west wall top needs to come in and the east wall bottom needs to come in. I used a 6 foot level. Now the glulam was information I didn't need to put in there. Just explaining what I did when I lifted the house. The glulam was centerted below my floor joist to pick up the sag in the joist. And yes when I added two feet to the exsisting foundation I leveled the forms. So that is why I figured if the house is leaning because of the foundation and I leveled the foundation the house would be plumb. No go. I can definetly post pictures.
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Old 07-25-2011, 06:51 AM   #6
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Is this a single story or 2 story? The 1/2 run out is in how many feet? Are the intermediate studs racked the same amount? Are the leaning walls pulled away from the perpendicular walls at the corners? There should be some diagonal bracing framed in at the corners to prevent racking. Is that bracing tight? A half inch in a 90 year old house isn't terrible. That's 90 years of shrinking, twisting and warping. It may even have been constructed that way. I've seen much, much worse. The amount of work to correct this may far exceed the worth. Provided it was properly braced, and I'd imagine that it is, since it lasted 90 years, it's not like it's going to fall over from being a half inch out. I would check it with a plumb bob or a laser, rather than a spirit level.
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:26 AM   #7
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Sorry, kinda lost sight of this question because I have been doing other projects. Do not mean to ignore posts that take people time to answer.
Here are my results. First off I am done using a level on walls. It is really irritating that you cannot get a accurate measurement. The plumb bob is my new best friend. Takes a little longer but so accurate.
@ Maintenance 6. It is a 1 and 1/2 story.1/2 story has two bedrooms. Yes the studs were racked the same amount. The walls were not pulled away from the perpendicular walls. There was no diagonal bracing. There was no outside sheathing. Only cedar siding. The previous owner put a new roof on and added osb to the roof rafters before shingles. That was adding a lot of extra weight. Also the only thing that was worth noting, holding up the roof, was a stub wall at the end of the rafters holding the roof. That is still currently bowing outwards opposite of each other. So the roof is slowly collapsing. I will fix that once I complete my other million projects.
I was told by you guys and family to just leave it alone. And do agree it is not that big of deal but I couldn't ignore it. I get obsessed over things when they are not correct. I put a 4 by 6 outside on the outside wall. I put it on so the 4 by 6 covered the top plate and some of the rim joist. By the way, the house is completely down to studs. I attached a 2 ton come along to the 4 by 6 and ran it through my floor in the inside to my huge glu lam supporting the center of the floor in the basement. I didn't like the part where I had to cut some perfectly good flooring. I cranked her up and the damn thing worked. Corrected both walls. Which I figured it would because the joist are attached to both walls. My door doesn't close now but I have a plumb wall. I plan on adding simpson t bracing(TWB) to my interior walls that run perpindicular so it keeps its plumb. Also the sheathing on the outside that I have to install will help out so much.
I plan on doing it down my 40 foot wall but for now I am sistering my upper joist and adding cross bracing. I am afraid that I will not be so lucky as my trial run and next time it will just twist my joist instead of moving the walls and plus they needed to be sistered already. Dang rot. Right now I have the come along just holding the wall. Very happy.
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Old 02-24-2012, 03:24 AM   #8
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Whats next on the project list? Moon launch?

I pulled in two exterior walls where the cathedral ceiling was pushing them out (no collar ties) and without an Engineer to check my straps and jacks, the pucker factor was pretty high...

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Old 02-24-2012, 04:40 PM   #9
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on an old house having walls out of plumb is not be unexpected. its not something really sweat to much over when doing additions as long as its stable. it can be from a couple things, the guys who originally built it didnt have the wall perfectly plumb in the first place or the foundation settled a little bit which is showing in the walls not being plumb.

just allow for it when you do your framing so your work is plumb and you should be fine


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framing , lean , tilt , unlevel , wall

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