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Old 03-14-2008, 08:53 PM   #1
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Lifting from the outside


I have to replace about 8 feet of my sill right at the front door of a c. 1840 home. About 1300 sq ft. I have no way to lift from the inside as the floor joists all run the wrong way (and they are 1/2 strewn logs only 4 inches thick and mostly destroyed by carpenter ants. ) A few of the floor boards are rotted as well - so blocking them and jacking will simply pop the floor up and leave the frame in place.

The previous owners put up over a dozen screw jacks over the years so I have much structural work to do besides the sill - but I wanted to start there.

So I was wondering if any one has some good references for me to look into for lifting the house from the outside. Something I need to consider is that the post and beam structure has no studding in the outside walls. So the only verticals I can attach to are around the front door and there may be some around the windows.

I have seen it done in a couple places but I wanted to get some good solid guidelines. I will be fixing the root of the problem which happens to be that the front granite step is actually built into the foundation and level - so the water running off the roof freezes each winter and backs up into the sill. (we use the back door mostly and don't keep up with the front steps )

So that brings along another question from me - anyone got some good tips on building an overhang over my front door to extend the rain fall off the step?

All this sounds kind of sketchy - but I will try to post some pictures in a day or two - after I can take them in the daylight.

Thanks all,
Chris

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Old 03-15-2008, 03:42 PM   #2
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Lifting from the outside


More info needed. How heavy would it be to put a jack on 'each' side of that 8' and raise it?? What is foundation made of,brick?? concrete block?? solid concrete?? IF lifting from outside you HAVE to chip out enough (and repaired afterwards)for the jack and IF its too heavy and needs another jack at the 4' or MORE length,,then may have to replace in sections

Are you saying the floor joists are 2X4's?? If so you may have MORE problems.

Can you build a porch like structure to keep rain out of there and wind out of the house,,,thru the door??

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Old 03-15-2008, 07:10 PM   #3
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Lifting from the outside


Hey JustDon - Thanks for taking the time. The foundation is fieldstone. The floor joists are 24 in on cente 1/2 logs. There are no 2x4 except in an effort to bandaid the old boards. This is a traditional 1800's home w/ very little by way of updates.

There is but one supporting beam placed from front to back right smack where I need to replace the sill. I am fearful of lifting from below as the only thing I could really lift from are the floor boards. The floor joists - if you can call them that - old and haggard and the nearest one is no less than 2 feet from the sill - requiring lifting from the outside.

AS for the lifting process - I mean lifting from the roof line - not from the foundation. Maybe that would help. I am talking a few 12 ton bottle jacks and 4bys attached just under the ridge of the roof. I did get pictures today - but have not had a chance to get them on this computer yet - hopefully tomorrow.

As for the porch like structure- the front of the house is on a main road through town and first would be a waste of money as we would never use it - but more importantly the house is so close to the road - I am not sure the zoning board would allow it. But I have to admit - it is an interesting idea! I will certainly look into it.

Thanks again,
Chris
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Old 03-15-2008, 08:36 PM   #4
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I am sorry but I must say this. Please do not get upset, but one must be fully educated in how a structure is built before attempting this. I know there are many out there that probably could do it, but I have seen disasters occur because of not having the right knowledge. I have a "Feel" for where, how, how much, and what every popping and creaking sound is. I just do not think that this is a safe thing for a home owner to attempt.
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:04 AM   #5
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you could eventually gain knowledge to to this work but the experience'll come at a VERY high price - the probable ruin of your very fine home not only're equipment, knowledge, & experience absolute rqmts, there's another critical ingredient - INSURANCE,,, hate to see your wife/life partner/girl friend suing you.

there's a cure for ignorance but stupid's often fatal in spite of the govt programs to prevent it,,, if you get upset, so be it - better upset than have your house fall over,,, start w/a good pe or structural engineer - hopefully, you'll marvel at the whole process as did i when we raised 1 of our homes,,, good luck ! ! !

now, even after 35yrs in const-reconst-etc, i wouldn't attempt it on my own.
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Old 03-16-2008, 12:43 PM   #6
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I take no offense at being given advice - being called stupid - well that's ignorance on your part. There is no need to insult people to educate them.

As for doing it myself - I will not be - I will have no less than 3 full time self employed handymen who have done projects of this scale or larger for more than 70 years combined. Plus a commercial construction foreman. I myself have been in carpentry for over 20 years - I learned as a teenager how to build structures - and break them - however I have never worked on a structure this old.

So no - I won't be doing it alone, no I won't be doing it w/o supervision from some very experienced people - HOWEVER I was charged with looking up this particular aspect on my own - for my own edification before we all go about doing it after the spring melting.

So thank you all for the advice - I will still be looking for the concept and it's process.

Chris
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Old 03-16-2008, 01:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cluksha View Post
I take no offense at being given advice - being called stupid - well that's ignorance on your part. There is no need to insult people to educate them.

As for doing it myself - I will not be - I will have no less than 3 full time self employed handymen who have done projects of this scale or larger for more than 70 years combined. Plus a commercial construction foreman. I myself have been in carpentry for over 20 years - I learned as a teenager how to build structures - and break them - however I have never worked on a structure this old.

So no - I won't be doing it alone, no I won't be doing it w/o supervision from some very experienced people - HOWEVER I was charged with looking up this particular aspect on my own - for my own edification before we all go about doing it after the spring melting.

So thank you all for the advice - I will still be looking for the concept and it's process.

Chris
First off: Let me introduce myself: "I am an idiot".

There are times in my life, that I have uttered those exact words to myself.
Why? For the times that I have not properly thought out matters, and made mistakes. One such "stupid" mistake resulted in me - almost losing my right thumb, the tip of one finger, and possibly ripping open an artery, in my right wrist.

ANYONE....is capable of making mistakes. The larger the scale you are involvd with, the greater the potential for making LARGER mistakes.

It is my habit, when getting into larger sized projects, with larger sized structual matters,to makethe decision to bring in "bigger guns". They are people that are qualified, and thoroughly experienced in the specific areas at hand.

Now having said that. I must say this:

Hiring three "handyman" types, is not bringing in the "big guns"....for such a project. And this IS: A Large, Detailed, Structural-Alteration Project.

What you are proposing to do is MOST DEFINITELY a serious project that has the capacity to go "south".

Even I, would not attempt, what you are proposing, without consulting, or bringing in a person or subcontractor truly experienced with Jacking and moving older structures.
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Old 03-16-2008, 02:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. View Post
First off: Let me introduce myself: "I am an idiot".

There are times in my life, that I have uttered those exact words to myself.
Why? For the times that I have not properly thought out matters, and made mistakes. One such "stupid" mistake resulted in me - almost losing my right thumb, the tip of one finger, and possibly ripping open an artery, in my right wrist.

ANYONE....is capable of making mistakes. The larger the scale you are involvd with, the greater the potential for making LARGER mistakes.

It is my habit, when getting into larger sized projects, with larger sized structual matters,to makethe decision to bring in "bigger guns". They are people that are qualified, and thoroughly experienced in the specific areas at hand.

Now having said that. I must say this:

Hiring three "handyman" types, is not bringing in the "big guns"....for such a project. And this IS: A Large, Detailed, Structural-Alteration Project.

What you are proposing to do is MOST DEFINITELY a serious project that has the capacity to go "south".

Even I, would not attempt, what you are proposing, without consulting, or bringing in a person or subcontractor truly experienced with Jacking and moving older structures.
I can not agree more. DIY was brought to life to give homeowners that are attempting a simple safe job a place to seek advice. I have jacked up countless homes, some had to be restored to within 1/4" over the entire span. Some were 2 story homes. Big problem is there is a severe difference between conventional framing and baloon framing. Each one has its advantages/dis advantages and when jacking them up needs completely different approaches. Yes, this can cause death if not done right, therefor I because of safety reasons will not offer any assistance other than please let someone insured and skilled do this type of work. Lets put it this way. It takes me sometimes 2 to 3 days to set up where to lift, what size jacks to use, what size timbers to use and so on. The GC I was doing it for once got mad saying it was taking too long, so he goes out front, sets a jack and starts jacking. All of a sudden BANG! he blew the wall out. Why? because he did not know how to do it properly.
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Old 03-16-2008, 03:22 PM   #9
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Lifting from the outside


I see NO safe structural way of jacking up by the roofline. Beter concentrate on picking it up from the bottom only.putting a few stones BACK into a foundation seems minor compared to jacking from the 'top'. What kind of outside siding is on this house?? and what is interior wall made of where it needs to be jacked and sill replaced!!ONLY way I see IF its a light weight house,,,NOT a two story is to put two bridge planks on outside lower wall and ONE plank indie,,,bolt them together by drilling clear thru the wall and clamping them TIGHT like a vise so you are lifting the whole wall at once,,,like a sandwich. and jacking from outside (on those bridge planks)as LOW as you can stay and give clearance to get sill in and out,dont jack more than a couple strokes a DAY, slow and easy and "HOPE" ALOT, not over 1/4 to 1/2" clearance to get it in and let it back down JUST as slow!!
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Old 03-16-2008, 04:52 PM   #10
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if you didn't read correctly what i wrote, it was clear to me,,, this ain't ' handyman work ' no matter how severe the ' charge to learn ',,, if i were the only 1 to suggest so, you'd have reason to pause,,, appears to me other experienced men agree, tho,,, so have at it - please post some completion pics, too,,, if it works, the laugh'll be on us which seems fair as we've nothing invest'd other'n wasting time talking/typing.

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