Foundation posts extreme movement/settling


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Old 08-06-14, 11:38 PM
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Foundation posts extreme movement/settling

I'm in California bought the house 4 years didn't even check on the house inspection report before purchasing. The front door was sticking last year changed new door now the door is sticking again, floor tiles cracked about 6 months ago. So today ask a handyman to craw into the craw space to check on the foundation, and pictures are attached. The posts are now not even with the cement blocks beneath, what does this mean? Did the whole house move side way or are the cement blocks themselves moved? I'm trying to have a better understanding of such movement. What would be the best fix for this problem? is this normal? Any profession suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 
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Old 08-07-14, 04:46 AM
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Interesting and a bit scary. Being in CA my east coast thinking turned to seismic issues, which may have nothing or all to do with what you see. What we don't know is how those columns looked right after the house was built. But your "sticking door and cracked tile" issues do suggest something is moving. It definitely looks like now is a good time to start understanding what is happening and make some improvements. Here are some thoughts.
1. Support posts should be attached to the base they rest on.
2. Look at all posts and determine if they have all moved in the same direction.
3. Get someone down there to establish what is moving and how best to stabilize it, up. down. and sideways.

I'm sure an engineering company from CA will be familiar with building requirements specific to CA and most likely familiar with what you are looking at. If it has moved, it doesn't have far to go before you will have some major problems.

Bud
 
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Old 08-07-14, 05:49 AM
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That is rather extreme movement.
My house has same foundation, built in 1956. It's unstable but not to your extent.
California is notorious for ground heaving. Like Bud said, the house can be jacked and the piers replaced. I'd like to do it myself one day.
Look for a foundation contractor or a jacking company. And get references and check them.
 
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Old 08-07-14, 08:39 AM
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I have a foundation company stopping by in a couple of weeks, they're booked I guess. Some more info. the house is half on slab and the other half on posts. Only the kitchen and living room are on posts. This looks like it'll cost me a pretty penny. One thing I dont get is there are no cracks in the cement wall but the posts/cement blocks are so off center. If you look at the last picture, you can see how much off the cement block is. The handy guy that took those picts said he can put in new 4x6 posts and cement block with bracing and that will stop the movement. Does that sound right to you guys? Thanks.
 
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Old 08-07-14, 08:48 AM
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If half is on a slab it sound unlikely that the whole house has moved. It may just be sloppy construction where they were poorly placed when it was built. That's why I asked if they were all off in the same direction. If one post is north and another is south, then it was during construction that they were not positioned correctly.

if that is the case a good handyman could probably resolve the position issue and also do some vertical adjustment. Get the quote and opinion from the foundation guy, but remember, he makes his living doing this work. An engineer makes his/her living providing you with the correct information.

Bud
 
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Old 08-07-14, 11:35 AM
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I was thinking the same thing, maybe it's best to have a third opinion. Get a structure engineer report then see if it matches with the foundation guys and/or my handyman suggestions. I believe the owner prior to myself did a hack job on trying to stiffen the floor. And I didn't help the matter by adding a 12x12 tile flooring in the living room after my purchase. Thank you all for your help, I'm now armed with more information to deal with the foundation guys. Keep the suggestions coming, I'll post their findings as soon as I get them.
 
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Old 08-07-14, 12:34 PM
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Probably been that way for a while. Maybe it was hit from the side years ago or the soil was not good. - The angular rotation by the post does not agree with eccentricity of the post.

One nail into a post into near the edge of the 2x on the post looks like bad construction.

Dick
 
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Old 08-12-14, 10:57 AM
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Update: The foundation guy stopped by did his inspection, and his proposal is to use Push Piers to stabilize the house. Apparently one corner of the foundation has settled a bit, per this guy the posts/piers are fine no problems at all. He said he has no worries about he inner foundation only the exterior. Nice, pushing for his product at a cost of $21k minimum. I'm not a house foundation expert but those piers do not look good to me. He said the living room floor is not off by much at all, but we have to fix the foundation?
 
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Old 08-12-14, 11:34 AM
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With that kind of price tag, you definitely want to get a report/inspection from a qualified engineer! One that has no interest in who does the job, that way you know what needs to be done and don't have to rely on a business that wants/needs your business and may not have your best interests.
 
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Old 08-20-14, 11:05 PM
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OP I just signed up to offer a little insight from a very similar home owner. In fact that looks almost identical to pictures of my house. Although your posts are more out of whack then mine. Quality of the original build is the issue. When they poured the footings they were out of line and so when they set the posts under the girders, they were off center and just set the posts off center. The house has not slipped or the nails would be pulled out. Plus that much slippage would cause all sorts of issues. Appears like they cut the posts short and just shimmed them up instead of cutting new ones. *shakes head*

I am not sure where you live, but your bigger concern should be earthquake retro fitting. I happen to live less than 2 miles from the Rogers Creek fault in Sonoma County. Since the fault is way overdue to pop, earthquakes are at the forefront of my mind. There is a book called "Peace of Mind In Earthquake Country". Of course there is a ton of info available on the internet.

The first issue is having those girders tied to the posts. Learn the name "Simpson Strong Tie"



Then every 3rd joist or so should be tied to the girder.



Make sure the house is well bolted to the foundation too.

Another term to learn is "Shear Wall". Often it is put on what is called the "Cripple Wall". One on the outside may be good enough, but it if it is grooved ply I am hesitant. Just happens that is how my house is and I am on a 20* slope so it is the equivalent of a 2 story house. It is in my plans to add plywood to the inside walls and insulate at the same time.

OP what kind of foundation do you have? Is it a sloped foundation, stepped, or are you on level ground. Do you have water intrusion under your house? Often digging a trench and installing a french drain can take of water issues. Water moves mountains, so if you are having settling issues, water is typically the culprit.

Onto the tile cracking.
So I understand your house correctly, are those 2x6 joists? What year was it built? What is the thickness of the subfloor? Did they put down some kind of cement board before laying the tile? The johnbridge.com forum for tile is awesome with an incredible amount of knowledge. Including the calculator below. It could simply be a poor install job. For instance in my house it was poorly built with 2x6 joists and 5/8" ply subflooring. So I sistered every joist in the house, and have doubled the flooring with another layer of 5/8" ply, plus 1/4" Hardi-backer to allow stone to be used.

Run your floor thru this deflection calculator and it will tell you if you have a stiff enough floor for tile (Stone requires less deflection)

Hope that helps a little.

Edit: Realized I hadn't addressed your door issue and thought this link below is informative enough to be worth reading. The door issue is not really a big one. Everything moves and usually it is a summer vs winter, or rather wet vs dry. This goes back to do you have water issues? You can sand the door a little or plane it and make adjustments as needed. I don't really consider it a big concern unless they become almost unusable.
 

Last edited by Shadeladie; 08-21-14 at 07:20 AM. Reason: Advertising/promoting not allowed. Links removed
 

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