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Old 02-23-2012, 12:04 PM   #1
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Question about Jacking/Lifting House


I have an old house, around 110 years old here in MI I just bought. The house is sagging on one side a bit. The house stands on really old cedar posts that seem to have sunk in the ground and rotted out in some spots. I seen someone has done make shift pier repairs here and there but have done a really crappy job, lol.

I am slowly digging and poring footings and making cinder block piers, like this one:

(not my pic) on the inner parts of the crawlspace and I plan on spanning the floor joists with 6"x4" treated beams setting on top of the cinder block piers that I'm making.

My question is, if I put jacks under a beam spanning the floor joists and start lifting, will it lift the outer walls of the house too? I am hoping it will because the outer wall does have to come up as well.

Under the outer walls, I do plan on digging 42", poring footings and putting new treated posts for the house to stand on as well.

I look forward too all replies, thanks guys.

Edit: Here's a diagram of my idea.


I was thinking about repeating the process going down the entire length of the house and only jacking the low spots. Some parts are lower than others. If I have to, I will jack the outer wall, place new posts and shim the posts and the inner cinder blocks as in the diagram above. Jacking the outer wall should bring the floor joists up right?


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Old 02-23-2012, 12:17 PM   #2
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Question about Jacking/Lifting House


I have to give you a lot of credit, you have undertaken a really difficult job, specifically underpinning a house, and you are still alive to discuss specifics about lifting with jacks. To answer your question, placing jacks under a main beam and lifting is going to lift the entire beam. Exactly how much the beam will lift, and where, is a complex structural issue that is way beyond DIY. Normally a project of this type is undertaken by an experienced jacking firm, using sophisticated jacks with a complex control system. I am guessing you have either screw jacks, possibly some bottle hydraulic jacks, or maybe a floor mounted automotive jack. So you are probably doing a major project with relatively unsophisticated equipment, and I like that.

Be careful, hydraulic jacks are prone to failure at the worst moments, potentially leading to severe injury or death. For a gruesome example, see the last episode of CSI, where a hydraulic jack failed under a house leading to crushing death of one of the individuals under it. Made for TV, but it can happen. If you need structural assistance sizing beams to support the house, determining where to place the jacks, how to support the jacks, or how to control the jacks, I suggest you contact either a local structural engineer with support experience, or a contractor with experience. And good luck.

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Old 02-23-2012, 12:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
I have to give you a lot of credit, you have undertaken a really difficult job, specifically underpinning a house, and you are still alive to discuss specifics about lifting with jacks. To answer your question, placing jacks under a main beam and lifting is going to lift the entire beam. Exactly how much the beam will lift, and where, is a complex structural issue that is way beyond DIY. Normally a project of this type is undertaken by an experienced jacking firm, using sophisticated jacks with a complex control system. I am guessing you have either screw jacks, possibly some bottle hydraulic jacks, or maybe a floor mounted automotive jack. So you are probably doing a major project with relatively unsophisticated equipment, and I like that.

Be careful, hydraulic jacks are prone to failure at the worst moments, potentially leading to severe injury or death. For a gruesome example, see the last episode of CSI, where a hydraulic jack failed under a house leading to crushing death of one of the individuals under it. Made for TV, but it can happen. If you need structural assistance sizing beams to support the house, determining where to place the jacks, how to support the jacks, or how to control the jacks, I suggest you contact either a local structural engineer with support experience, or a contractor with experience. And good luck.
Yea I'm using 20 ton bottle jacks and only doing 1 area at a time. I make sure to have a pier already built and jack close to it and shim at the most 1/4" at a time. If the jack fails, it only falls 1/4 inch onto the pier. It's still scary though, lol. Oh and yea, I seen that CSI show last night, lol. I was thinking the same thing. But that guy was just plain stupid, lol.

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Old 02-23-2012, 03:48 PM   #4
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Question about Jacking/Lifting House


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Oh and yea, I seen that CSI show last night, lol. I was thinking the same thing. But that guy was just plain stupid, lol.
No s**t, you see that on a show the night before you do that major project? I would have taken that as a sign from God to not do it.

I was watching 'Disaster House' on DIY a few weeks ago about cutting out a few load bearing studs without properly supporting the night before I was cutting a doorway in a load bearing wall. Wife said "...are you watching that!".

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Old 02-23-2012, 04:11 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Beepster View Post
No s**t, you see that on a show the night before you do that major project? I would have taken that as a sign from God to not do it.

I was watching 'Disaster House' on DIY a few weeks ago about cutting out a few load bearing studs without properly supporting the night before I was cutting a doorway in a load bearing wall. Wife said "...are you watching that!".

B
Actually I've been working on it for a wile but yea, that creepy watching that last night. lol.
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:28 PM   #6
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Question about Jacking/Lifting House


holzman is hitting this one on the head i am starting to think he really is an engeneer

about 5 years ago i got the privileged to do major structural repairs on a approximate 1890 3 story women's college aprox. 100x60 roof structure where the whole roof was supported by 5 beams and someone hung a divider curtain on one of them a year later they started the motor to separate room and boom cracked beam in two. wow i learned a lot about lifting and shoring and down pressure it was a learning experience for me and i thought i knew a lot since when i was younger i helped lift and move 2 houses to another location
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:43 PM   #7
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Question about Jacking/Lifting House


That house should be lifed all at one time with steel I beams by a real home lifting company not a DIY.
By trying to lift one area at a time your putting all kinds of undue stress on every part of the house.
The floor joist should be supported with ganged up 2 X's (sized according to span there running) not a 4 X 6" beams. Reason being a 4 X 6 does not have much side load streingh, there subject to checking and twisting. Checking does not matter much where there top loaded as there meant to be used but, if there side loaded they can fail.
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:53 PM   #8
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Question about Jacking/Lifting House


Quote:
My question is, if I put jacks under a beam spanning the floor joists and start lifting, will it lift the outer walls of the house too? I am hoping it will because the outer wall does have to come up as well.
Ayuh,.... I agree, yer doin' quite a job...

I've jacked a few places, most in feet, rather than inches...

Yer question above, a jack usually lifts the area directly above it, 'n to varying degrees, 'bout 8' away...
'course, the stiffness of the beam comes into play, as to how Much deflection....

In other words, with jacks 8' from each other, level lifts can be done,...

Wood construction...
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:00 PM   #9
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Yea I was thinking about putting the jacks near the 2 ends of the 8' beam but before the 2 cinder block piers. I was going to have the 2"x6"x8' beam spanning an 8'section of the floor joists with the 6" portion perpendicular the 4" portion vertical. Then lift 1/4" and shim between the spanned beam and the cinder block pier.
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:18 PM   #10
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why not start by telling us the length and what the floor joist dimension and spacing are and species if you can tell
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:29 PM   #11
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Here's a diagram of my idea.


I was thinking about repeating the process going down the entire length of the house and only jacking the low spots. Some parts are lower than others. If I have to, I will jack the outer wall, place new posts and shim the posts and the inner cinder blocks as in the diagram above. Jacking the outer wall should bring the floor joists up right?

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Old 02-23-2012, 07:41 PM   #12
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Question about Jacking/Lifting House


Somewhat similar to my project, you might learn some from reading through my post history but there's a lot I can add that I haven't written about on this board yet as well.

One difference is my crawlspace is conditioned. My footings are specified at 10" deep but I'm going to 12" just because I'm cutting my concrete forms from plywood, and 12" works out more evenly. Anyway...

Let me say this about jacking. As stated, you lift where you are jacking. Whether it's going to lift at a point at some distance can be a matter of load and structure. In my case, if I lift on a particular joist, the next joist over will not necessarily move. This has been particularly troublesome in some certain locations:

One lift I was performing under our bathroom, I needed to lift some joists to remove a cement block column and replace it with jack posts supporting a 6x6 beam. To lift this section, I placed another 6x6 beam for the lift, and I only needed enough lift to remove weight from the cement blocks. What was happenning is that the floor joists were raising, but the exterior wall that was sitting on them was not. The joists were deteriorated enough that the ends deflected rather than lifting the wall, thus the cement blocks didn't unload. I had to sister joists to get the wall to lift.

In another case, I needed to lift the rim joist 1/4" to get a beam under it I was constructing. I lifted with a 6x6 triple beam under the joists. The joists raised, the rim joist did not. I needed to place the 6x6 such that it lifted directly on the rim joist.

My experience may vary from most, and it is a reflection of the condition of my house's structure. My house is 93 years old and has had a renovation history of things done which have been bad for the house's health. Kraft faced batts of Owens Corning insulation in the floor joists, for example, over a conditioned crawlspace.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:10 PM   #13
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why not start by telling us the length and what the floor joist dimension and spacing are and species if you can tell
not the beam you are using
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:52 PM   #14
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why not start by telling us the length and what the floor joist dimension and spacing are and species if you can tell
not the beam you are using
Not sure of the dimensions right off the bat and won't be going down there probably for a few days.

I think the front of the house has 2"x12" joists which are 13' long.

The center of the house is a bit wider so the joists are longer but a bit smaller as well.

I will try to get the dimensions for the middle of the house when I can but the front of the house dimensions I gave, I'm pretty sure about.

Furthermore, not sure if it helps but I do know that the house is 1200 sqft 2 story. Here is a birds eye view:

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Old 02-28-2012, 03:01 AM   #15
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If I had that much backyard, I'd build a new home from scratch.
Then turn the original into a serious guest house or something crazy like a Wood Shop or...heck something useful....

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