Raising a house/repairing main beam

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Old 06-22-05, 12:43 PM
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Raising a house/repairing main beam

Hello,

We have a 110 year old victorian home that we recently purchased. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The home has about 1/3 full basement (fieldstone walls), with the remainder of the home being crawl space (or even less room). The portion of the home that is built on the crawl space has settled quite a bit, and we don't think the back wall of the home is sitting on the sill plate anymore (if there's even one still there). We know that the main beam running down the middle of the home is part of the problem because the piers that support it were wood going into dirt. These have rotted away over time and someone put in concrete blocks temporarily to stop it from settling any worse.

We think what we need to do is have the back portion of the house lifted enough so we can replace/repair the sill plate/foundation wall and also get some new concrete piers poured to support the main beam. We're hoping that the foundation is still ok, but if that needs to be replaced, we're willing to do that as well...

We're planning to hire professionals for this, but are just wondering if anyone has any ideas on cost to lift the house, or anything else I should be thinking of/asking. We have a house lifting company stopping out Friday to look things over, but I just want to be prepared.

Thanks in advance...
 
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Old 06-22-05, 02:07 PM
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house/repairing main beam

Since your are registered, your project is more important than a normal house. No two of these jobs are the same, so price comparisons are difficult. Check out references and look at jobs they have done. If possible, talk to the people that hired them.

It sounds like you may have caught things in time.

One thing to look for are any major cracks in previous jobs. There should be some, but they should be repairable. The doors and windows can be expected to be a little out of wack since they probably were distorted too.

The job of lowering the portion of the home back in place cannot be done quickly. Most of the distortion and deflection has taken place over a long time. It will not spring back and some of the deflection is permanent and will never come back. Remember - wood is not permanent and is an organic material that will change over time and may not come back to its original position.

Don't worry if you have a reputable contractor. Recently they moved a complete 80+ year-old church and steeple in Minnesota about 75 miles and it came out fine.

Dick
 
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Old 06-22-05, 02:26 PM
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Thanks for the reply. Fortunately, almost all of the interior walls are drywall over the original plaster, so repairs should be easy.

We're just hoping that some of our sloping floors can be corrected. In the bath on the main floor, the toilet actually leans because of the floors. Overall, the house is in very good shape (updated electrical, new roof, etc.), but none of the previous owners have ever wanted to tackle the foundation/leveling problem. Probably because on one side of the house there's no access at all to the crawl space. We're just starting to lift floor boards so we can dig out some access to shovel some dirt out (what a FUN job)...

We actually think that the settlement happened a # of years ago. The concrete blocks under the main beam look like they've been there a long time. We just want to get it fixed so it will last another 100 years.

Fortunately, because we live in Wisconsin, we can get a 25% tax credit back on this repair work (due to the historic home)...
 
 

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