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Questions about jacking up house to fix rotten rim/sill

Questions about jacking up house to fix rotten rim/sill

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  #1  
Old 03-17-10, 06:53 PM
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Questions about jacking up house to fix rotten rim/sill

I have been searching and reading everything I can find about the subject but I haven't been able to find any solid info. I find many different ways of doing it and some who say it's easy and some who say leave it to a professional. I am not a contractor, but know my way around tools and medium construction. I couldn't build an entire house, but a deck is no problem. I'll try and get some pics put up soon but for now I'll just try and explain what is going on and my thoughts.

The whole front of my house (25 feet) had a full deck on it which was installed by boneheads and done wrong. It was not properly flashed and sealed from the house so the entire front rim joist and sill are completely rotted to mush. I can poke my finger through the wood almost anywhere along the front. I'm surprised that the house it still standing, but it's only a matter of time so I need to get this repaired. I'm on a budget to hiring a company is out of the question. I do not have a few grand lying around to throw at it but enough to at least buy the materials to do it myself or with someone.

I have completely torn off the deck, which is how I found the rot in the first place. I was planning on replacing the deck with a smaller covered porch about 5x10. Once I had the deck removed I went to pull the ledger board off and found it to be all rotten behind. The thing is when I bought this house the inspector did notice a section of sill place from inside the house was bad and it was replaced already. From the inside of the house you cannot tell anything else is wrong. From that it seems like I at least have a double rim joist because the inside is good yet, or at least the back half. the water hasn't seemed to creep in any farther into the floor joists to where it's noticeable. I believe the sill is about a 2x8 and the rim is a 2x10. This is a house built in 1949 so it wasn't put together very well at all. I'm 99% positive that the sill is not bolted to the foundation. It's smaller 2 story house, about 1100sq ft, and the front side which I'll be working on is a load bearing wall. It also has a large single window which replaced an old bay window which I am affraid may crack or shatter if it's jacked from underneath. the floor joists run perpendicular to the outer rim as it's the front of the house and the weighted side.

I know it needs to be jacked up and I have full access through the basement, but not sure exactly how I should do it. I have read about jacking it up from the bottom as well as from the outside of the house. Some say you need to jack up the wall and some say the whole thing. I am confused on that. Going in from the inside through the floor is not an option as I have hardwood flooring that I will not tear up so it would have to be from the outside. What's wrong with just jacking it up from the basement? Can I do it in sections or the whole 25' at once? I have 2 12T bottle jacks already to use so that should be enough, but I'll have to get some other bracing and such. My plan originally was to use 6x6 posts, 1 across the top, and 1 under each jack and do sections at a time. I realize now that 1 jack would be enough and that bracing or screw jacks on either side would also work. But from what I am reading it looks like the whole thing will need to be raised slowly over a period of a few days. Am I supposed to just start at one end and work my way down or should i utilize both jacks at either end and work in? Also the basement ceiling is finished, so do I assume I will have to remove the drywall to the area near the wall or it will be crushed.

What should I be doing here?
 
  #2  
Old 03-18-10, 07:21 PM
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I'm no expert at this, but I did raise 30' of my house to replace the plate and some sheathing due to termites. I actually used four jacks, a couple of jack posts and a 16 pound sledge. My problem was that I was raising a ceramic tile floor and didn't want it to crack, so I went from the basement, raised the center of the room with 2 jacks as well as the wall with 2 jacks. I went from one side of the house to the other. I had the same window concern that you had so I made sure I picked up that section all at once with (2) 2x10's nailed together using 3 jacks. I then kept that section up till I was a couple of feet past it and then lowered it all down a little at a time. You might want to check on the local code as well. I needed a copper barrier below the plate to keep out the critters. The results were good, not great. I did crack one of the sheet rock walls and I have one window that is now a little sticky, but all in all very happy considering how much money it would have cost. You can do it in a day, but it is a 3-4 man job with a lot of prep work by you.
 
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Old 03-19-10, 11:41 AM
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I wouldn't use bottle jacks you can't control them. Use screw type house jacks and raise each one the same number of turns, at the same time. The reason for doing a little at a time is so that the house has time to get used to itself and things don't crack. You're only going to raise it the slightest amount just enough to take the pressure off the sill plate. Like bish80 said it takes more than one person. It's not a hard job but you have to be careful and not hurry it. What you described will work.Be sure to have a reciprocating saw handy in case it is bolted down
 
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Old 03-19-10, 06:14 PM
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Well I did start to tackle this today since we are having a beautiful week end and no rain. I've gotten advice from some other already and am just checking many sources to make sure I do things right. I have also heard from others that I may not have to jack up the house. So I decided to just go ahead and add my bracing wall underneath it all and go from there. Today all I got done was the wall and it should be sufficient. I then went outside and started to pry off the old rim to take a look. It comes off very easy since it's completely rotted through. It wasn't as quite as bad as I though it would be either. The sill plate is only totally rotten and soft on the outer 2-2.5", but not great the rest of the way. It's still enough to support the joists however and it doesn't appear that anything has sunk down. I should be able to pop out the old sill plate in small sections and replace it w/o jacking up the house. I'm also debating on even replacing it or just replacing the rim which is the worst. I will probably try an small section first and just see how it goes and that will let me know how the rest will go.
 
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Old 03-22-10, 10:54 AM
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Well I got it all finished last night and it turned out just fine with no jacking up needed. I was just lucky that the house hasn't sank any or it would have needed to be lifted up. Only one portion had dropped a little because the sill was completely crumbled, but bewteen the support wall and wedges it was able to be fixed. No cracks inside the house so that's good. The only thing I notice so far is the front door deadbolt is hard to turn now so it's not lined up anymore but that's an easy fix. It may also be fine after I remove the support wall. It was still a very intensive project for one person but doable in a week end and I proved it. Next step are the finishing touches like flashing, wrap, siding but the hard work is done.
 
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Old 03-22-10, 11:44 AM
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Hi, I've been following the thread and just wanted to comment. By repairing without lifting it, I would be a bit concerned that the new wood is not loaded. In other words, it isn't supporting anything and will allow the joists to sag when the inside wall is removed or over time as the joists are carrying everything. It isn't going to fall down, but wood that is jacked up to be under load will stay where you attach it better than wood bolted in place and then the load is added. I'm not doing a good job of explaining here, and it isn't a terrible problem, just that IMO you can expect some shifting after everything is done.

Bud
 
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Old 04-02-10, 03:39 PM
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I was going to post up a new thread but this is almost EXACTLY what I discovered the other day when under my deck. The only difference is that mine is in the corner of my house and extends out from the corner 9' in one direction, and about 5 in the other. I feel I can handle this but am unsure about any curveballs the corner might present. I will be lifting from the crawlspace on the other side of the cinder block wall that the plate is sitting on.

Question: My deck is NOT detached and I can't afford to replace it (nor do I need to), so do I jack it up in unison with the crawlspace?

Thank you for any help you are able to provide and I can post pics if they will help.
 
 

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