What to use to seal up old cabin?


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Old 08-21-09, 12:07 PM
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What to use to seal up old cabin?

Hey guys, first post here so hello to everyone.

I will start off by saying that im about to embark on a huge project. Im going to be taking over an old cabin that sits a mear 3 feet from a small river. Its in terrible shape, the floors are sinking and the roof is leakin. It floods as much as 3 feet of water into the cabin at least once a year. But non the less this thing keeps standing for what must be at least 80 years now. I know i have alot of work to do, including most likely pouring some colums and reinforcing the sub frame... non of which i have ever done, and will most likely take a few years to do.

But im going to start slow. The first thing i feel i need to do right now is seal up the cabin against insects and rodents, because there seem to be a few of each! There are alot of cracks in the walls and gaps all over the place in corners and whatnot. Some are small, and some are large.

Can anyone tell me what would be the best product to use to seal up these cracks and gaps? It will need to be waterproof as like i mentioned the cabin floods. I just want to get started on the right foot with a clean uninfested cabin that i can work in and on comfortably.

So what do you suggest??

Thanks for your time,

---Joe
 
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Old 08-21-09, 03:29 PM
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Is this a log cabin?

If not what kind of construction is it?

What are the interior and exterior walls made of now?
Is the floor tight?

How about windows?

Termites?

If you seal it up and water can't get in and out when it floods will it float away?

What part of the country are you in? What are summer and winter like?

When do you occupy the place?
 
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Old 08-21-09, 03:48 PM
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Some pics might help - most use a free site like Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket

btw - welcome to the forums!
 
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Old 08-21-09, 04:39 PM
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Thanks for the replys guys.

No its not a log cabin, but more like a death trap shack. I dont know much about construction and i havent been inside it long enough to really evaluate it. I will be going tomorrow to take pictures.

The floors as i remember are up and down and all over the place. This place is really a nightmare but its been hanging in there forever. Its got a flatop roof. Luckily inside the cabin theres not gonna be alot of weight to suport besides the small fridge and 4 adults.

Termites?? Probally. Id have to get underneath it to check that out i guess.

Will it float away if sealed up?? I dont know really.. maybe LOL ow would i avoid something like this?

I live in new jersey, so we pretty much get all the weather you can think of.

We mostly ocupy in the summer. There is no running water, no sheetrock, no insulation.

I guess thats its really hard to imagine how big of a POS this thing is without some pictures. I will get some tomorrow.
 
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Old 08-21-09, 07:21 PM
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Sounds like you would be as comfortable in a good tent. And you can pitch the tent on higher ground.

Have you thought about making it available for a horror movie set and taking the money and staying in a motel?
 
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Old 08-21-09, 08:02 PM
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^^^ Haha. This place and these cabins have alot of sentimental value. Our family has been going there for nearly 60 years. We have black and white photos of 50 year old men playing there in the river as 5 year olds.

It really is a beautiful place and however bad a condition this cabin has fallen into while being unoccupied the past few years id hate to loose it.

Just for fun heres a pic of my 5 year old playing in the river. 4th generation cabin river rat.

 
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Old 08-24-09, 02:05 PM
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well it looks as if i can pretty much kiss sealing this thing up anytime soon. It needs ALOT of work before then. Most of the concrete pillars holding the cabin up are in decent shape, but due to the leaky roof and the ocassional flood the sills are shot. Looks like ill be learning how to brace this thing up so i can replace the sills before i get into any other kind of work.
 
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Old 08-24-09, 04:16 PM
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I now understand the attachment and the sentimental value.

This is interesting. Let us know from time to time what you do and how it goes.
 
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Old 08-24-09, 04:38 PM
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just for fun again .. heres some pics of how aweful it really is .. LOL .. please dont poke too much fun.







 
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Old 08-24-09, 05:17 PM
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Just a couple of thoughts. The flatter the roof the trickier getting it water tight. (Real roofers will probably disagree.) I would considerer putting a real gabled roof. You could use pre made gable trusses to speed up the process.

The second thing I would do is jack it up about four feet. Not as hard as it sounds. You have already said it is rotting underneath so slide a couple of beams underneath to take the weight of the joists and jack it up. You can then easily replace the rotted sills then lower it on to a new higher foundation.
 
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Old 08-24-09, 05:34 PM
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^^^ I have zero construction/renovation experience at this point. This is going to be my first attemt at anything like this and i surely do not feel confident enough to raise this thing 4 feet into the air and poor brand new foundations.

That being the first problem, and the second problem being that im pretty sure this thing it not one big built piece. I think it started as one small room, and had or or two additions. I think this is evident as one have of the cabin has floors 6" lower than the other side. I think trying to lift it all at once as one large piece would end in disaster for me.

But thanks for the suggestion, it surely could be an option a little later in the future when im sure that its secure. I think the idea of a true gabeled rafting structure would probaly add some strength to the structure as well ..
 
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Old 08-25-09, 04:06 AM
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Since you have to jack it up some, I'd try to gain every inch you can. I too would be leary of jacking it up several feet but inches are doable and you really need the whole thing level before you attempt much in the way of repairs. Is it feasable to build up the ground between the cabin and the creek to help keep the water away?

I didn't see a power meter so I assume it's away from the structure. It would be wise to have the power off for some of the work and if you can throw a breaker below the meter, maybe install a weather proof receptacle near the meter, it would make it safer.

One thing's for sure, once you are done with this job, you will have gained a lot of constuction skills and bragging rights to show off whenever anyone comes around
 
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Old 08-25-09, 02:38 PM
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I could think about raising it i guess, but i really dont know how i would go about raising the pillars its sitting on. Im a little afriad of raising this thing even a few inches, as from what i have read i have to hold the cabin from the rafters to replace the sills, and i doubt they are built too well anyway. I tihnk if i was doing a pemanent raise i would feel more comfortable jacking up the new sills instead of the wobbly rafters no?

As far as the electric goes i have no clue .. theres one main wire comming off the house up the hill about 100 feet... it then runs to 3 other cabins befor it ends at mine. Old school make shift stuff. One thing at a time i guess.

As far as holding back the water i dont see any real way of doing that... Its so close to the creek as you can see i cant see building a wall really. Maybe its possible but someone far more knowing then me would have to engineer it . LOL .
 
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Old 08-26-09, 03:38 AM
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I've never attempted anything to the extent that you need to with this cabin but I would think that you would raise the structure by either jacking up off of the next floor joist rather than from the rafters. I would think that would pull the cabin apart

How are the 'pillars' constructed? Are they poured concrete? or block? How is the floor framing attached? By adding onto the pillar with mortar and brick or using wood, you should be able to raise the structure 2"-8" Not much but sometimes every little bit helps.

IMO you need to start out with a level structure. If the floor is unenven it would be difficult to get the rest of the framing evenly repaired - it would be hard to make everything plumb and square....... but I am just a painter
 
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Old 08-26-09, 08:07 AM
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i have read i have to hold the cabin from the rafters to replace the sills, and i doubt they are built too well anyway. I tihnk if i was doing a pemanent raise i would feel more comfortable jacking up the new sills instead of the wobbly rafters no?
That is just crazy. No way, no how should it be done that way. Yes, you will pull it apart.

You need to run two or more temporary beams perpendicular to the floor joists. Permissible span of the floor joists determines how many but I would say not more then three in this case.. Any add on section with joists at 90 must have separate beams. Beams are placed two feet in from the sills so they are easy to work on. The siding must be removed to expose the sills.

Jacks are placed under the ends of the beams. Here houses are not fastened to the support piers but if yours are they must be released. The house is jacked very slowly each jack being raised just a bit each time. You can probably get no more the 6" before the lift beams need to be temporarily blocked and jacks sett on top of blocks to raise it more.

From the looks of it you are going to have to either tunnel under or remove parts of the floor to gain access underneath. Here they usually tunnel but much safer to go through the floor for access. You don't want to be under an unstable load.

Better yet and much safer call a house mover and have them jack it up.. Remember any pipes will have to be disconnected first. Same goes for wiring. Here they have companies that level housed but if the ones in your area are like the ones here they don't have the equipment to raise a house, house movers do.

Getting that house up off the ground so it isn't always setting in "wet" in my opinion will do a lot to stop rott and insect damage.
 
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Old 08-28-09, 12:45 PM
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Im just a little lost here. The first sill that i need to replace is along a wall that the floor joists run perpendicular to the sill, thus attaching themselfs to the sill. This in my mind means i cant lift from the floor joists because they are attached to the sill, and things will go crashing down when i remove the sill.

So , are you saying i should run a beam the entire length of the cabin parallel to my sill, and jack there?

And you are right about lifting from the rafters, i re-read and aparently im not suposed to lift from the rafters, but put together a rig to suport the rafters weight (maybe rafters is the wrong term, but the top beams of the wall) while the sill is being replaced... does that make more sence?
 
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Old 08-28-09, 01:40 PM
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So , are you saying i should run a beam the entire length of the cabin parallel to my sill, and jack there?
Yes. I have replaced sills without a beam by jacking each joist up slight and building a temporary block under the joist then moving the jack on to the next. You support every joist before removing the sill. I prefer the beam because it is easier and lifts more evenly. If you individually block up each joist you must jack carefully so you can slip the blocking under and that when you release the jack the blocking will take the load. Jack maybe a quarter of an inch higher then the height when you began.

You may have to go back and forth to get weight distributed.. I use #3 wood shakes for the final adjustment.. They are wedge shaped and you want to drive two in at 180 to each other. For other blocking I will use short lengths of 1-by boards and two 2by boards and 3/8" plywood scrap. It is temporary so what you use isn't critical.

I find wood shakes are better for most wedging then those little pre made wedges they sell at Big Box. They are thiner, wider, and the changes in thickness from thin end to thick end is much more gradual. In case you are not familiar these are the cedar shakes used as house siding. #3 is what is used as the under course and a whole bundle should cost under $20.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 08-28-09 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 08-28-09, 02:04 PM
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^^^ I dont mean to be a pain in the ass, i know im a newbie and i thank you for your help but i think im still missing the big picture.

Ok, i understand jacking the joists up to suport them and move them up with the cabin. But i still need to jack in other spots to actualy lift up the cabin correct? If im taking the sill out, i cant only jack from the joists, i have to jack from other sills positions that im not removing?

In example, i could jack at the corner on the perpendicular sill, and on the other half of the sill im replacing if i do 1/2 the length at a time.

Heres a picture... the green being the sill section to be removed. Would jacking up the sills on the orange spots be a good way to lift that side and remove the section, while suporting the floor joists, or am i just really misunderstanding the concept?

 
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Old 08-28-09, 03:30 PM
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Just what are the dimensions in this "house"?

If all your floor joists run the same direction then with two beams, we are talking 6 X 12 or so beams here, place in from the sills a foot or so (leave yourself room to work) perpendicular to the joists you should be able to lift the whole house a foot or more with care. If you lift it that much be sure to have plenty of support under the beams as you go up. This is not a nice neat rectangular structure. You might ned more beams to lift all the parts. it will be complicated if the joists do not all run the same direction. Don't ever rely on the jacks to hold the weight. You really don't need to raise it that much to do what you describe but it would sure be nice to have room to get under the house and see what you have to work with.

I once raised a house 20' X 26' high enough to get a trailer under it and move it about ten miles. To set it on the foundation we rolled it on 2 1/2" oil field pipes. We jacked it up with Handy Man jacks. This was an idiots way of doing it but we got away with it and no one got hurt. We also never got under the structure.


Your cabin looks like maybe some one brought in little sheds at different times and added them on in sections.

Have you counted the cost of restoring what you have vs. starting from scratch or setting a mobile on a permanent foundation?
 
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Old 08-28-09, 03:43 PM
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Yeah, this is not going to be a big lift. In reality i probaly only need to lift up about an inch to complete the work i need to do.

As far as total replacement, its just not an option. I in no way have the funds to do a build like that all at once. These repairs I can do slowly over time, and the sill replacement is really far more labor intensive than it is costly. My father is curently lifting his sagging home and instilling lolly colums, so hes got plenty of jacks i will be able to use thank goodness.
 
 

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