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Old 11/11/06, 07:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,058
Putting a large shed up on blocks? (long)

I have a 10' x 12' shed that needs to get higher up off the ground. It's heavy, being both insulated and having a tall peaked roof. Water puddles around this flat property and the shed is valuable to me for storage, and don't want everything soaked. I've had a helper with a tractor and a helper with an excavator back out on me, and now the ground is wet and soft so that's it till next summer when it dries for equipment.
This is going to be difficult to explain, bear with me.....

I lucked into two 16' long 10x12" beams to put it up on. I 'think' I could slide them basically into place with a chain and my truck. Well assuming I can...

When I originally built the shed I couldn't find any 4x4's to put it up on (as skids) long enough for lengthwise, but found some for widthwise(?) so basically there are eight 4x4's under it widthwise, and they are screwed on.
These 16 footers would crisscross those, going legthwise.

I'm afraid if I put a jack under one of these 4x4's and start lifting then the shed will pop apart.

Can anyone give me an idea on how to safely do something like this? I don't want to lose the shed! I have a heavy duty jack (which I've never used yet) so I could lift it but not sure how.

Would you dig under the building for jack access, then put in a cinderblock so that the jack doesn't sink, then just pump it up? Deng it I htink I'd need two jacks. I'll stop writing, if you need more info just let me know.

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Old 11/11/06, 08:23 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Zone 7
Posts: 10,837
Yes, get a tractor inner tube. Place it on clean ground and centered under the building and place a sheet of thick plywood on top of the inner tube. Put a lockon type valve nozzle onto the valve stem. Now start your air compressor. The building should rise! Don't ever get under the building during this exercise.
If they can do it,
you know you can!
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Old 11/11/06, 08:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,058
I will certainly use that one in the near future! Lots of sheds on skids around here. But the darn skids this one has are about 2' apart on centers so it won't even begin to fits. Thanks.
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Old 11/11/06, 10:51 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Georgia
Posts: 873
slide 2 4x4's about 2 1/2' from center on each side of center.
lay 1 4x4 underneath the 2 4x4's and you can dig out from under that to set the jack in the center and put a block under jack.
lift building up enough to slide cinder block under each corner.
go to other end and do the same.
slide a 4x4 dead center and place jack under 4x4 and lift up again til you can add cinderblock to the 2 corner blocks.
Note i use the solid 3 1/2 inch high blocks.

once you get 3 of them under the corners, you can add full size cinder blocks under the building and space them every 2 1/2 feet across and every 3' lengthwise.
make sure you level the ground before setting the blocks. IF the block doesn't meet the bottom of the floor when you set it, don't worry, you can use shims of wood.
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Old 11/11/06, 11:17 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: east texas
Posts: 745
i am currently moving my shed. i am using 2 21/2 ton floor jacks. i use two short pieces of 1/4 alum angle iron. i use a flat piece of steel to support the floor jacks. i jack up each end of the shed 1 cinderblock high at a time i use the angle iron to help support the weight and not put so much pressure in one spot. i use 4x4 and 2x4 and some 1x4 for spacing and emergencies
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Old 11/11/06, 11:49 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Virginia
Posts: 334
You have a 10' X 12' shed. What size are the floor joist and band/ girder beam???
What is it sitting on now???????
Are there points that it rest on, or is the whole thing sitting on the ground?????

If it is, as I think it may be, I would dig under the corners and the center of the two 12 walls and pour a concrete footing atleast 16" square and do my best to get all of them either level with each other, or on a 1" - 2" - 4" or 8" difference so as to lay block after I had it up to where I wanted it at. One bag of quickcreate per hole will do what you need to do, but if it were me, I would buy a bag of portland cement and devide it between the holes and mix it in.
You can mix the concrete right there in the holes, but it hard work.

After the concrete sets a day or two, Stack whatever blocks will fit under each point and then start jacking it up. 1 1/2" at a time on each of the pads. Use a 4x4 at an angle on the corners so that it catches bout walls. Add a 2" x 4" block each time until you get it where you want it to be.

If you are good with math, you can figure out exactly how many 8" , 4" or whatever blocks you will need.
If some one has done something before,
You can also do it, if you find out how they did it

We have power tools, ancestors didn't

keep kicking the ball
it won't stop rolling

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Old 11/12/06, 12:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: WV
Posts: 529
How much does the water "puddle" around the shed?
Ever think of a french drain to keep the area dry? A lot less work.
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Old 11/12/06, 12:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,058
Thanks everyone. It's too late to comprehend the answers but it looks like some really good ideas!
Water puddles a couple (3-4) inches. It is possibe to actually flood. French drains work if you have somewhere to drain the water. This watertable is quite high in winter, and the closest ditch is about 300' away.
Dennis- the shed is sitting on (but screwed onto) a bunch of 4x4's, and right on the dirt.
Thanks again!!!
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Old 11/12/06, 05:31 AM
In Remembrance
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 6,844
As I understand your situation your initially put down 4" x 4" side to side, put a still plate on top of them and then built building on the still plates. If so, that is going to make it difficult to jack up the building as each cross runner is basically independent (just tacked onto bottom of still plate).

If so, do you have the option of drilling holes through the still plate and runners to securely bolt them together vs just nailing? Use carriage bolts with the head on the bottom.

Problem then becomes how to raise the building such that it allows you to put a new foundation beam under the bottom of the cross bars. Only way I see is to remove any flooring and then jack up building a bit at a time under each crossbar at both sides in a rotation. Lifting needs to be down away from the outsides.

When building is up and level then you can put a new foundation, such as long 4" x 4" resting on top of a concrete block pier. Once foundation aligns with raised floor (with an even gap all around), then it can be lowered into new side and ends foundation. Secure building to new beams using long pole barn nails. While at it, also add piers a couple of places in the center.

If you are in a termite area also includes a metal barrier on each pier.

I had a wood deck added outside my main entry door. They only put the 4" x 4" posts on the outside. Within a couple of months sagging in the middle became apparent. I had to go under deck and jack it up in several places to add additional 4" x 4" sitting on small concrete pads.
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Old 11/12/06, 10:24 AM
The Paw's Avatar  
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Posts: 1,110
Not sure I fully understand the set-up, but it sounds like (as Ken mentioned)your sill plate may be sitting on top of the 4x4 "skids". The question is how your floor joists are oriented. If they run parallel to the 4x4's, then they will not serve structurally to lift the shed (and in the long run may lead to sagging in the floor anyway).

Since the 4x4's run across the narrow width, I would bet your floor joists do too. If you can get at the ends of the 4x4's, I would try tying them together by lag bolting a 2x6 into the end of the 4x4's (one on each side). Then I would try jacking up 2x6's an inch or two at a time, and put blocking under every time. Once it is up on blocks, slide the beams underneath and lower.

Even once it is up on beams, if you are leaving the 4x4's on, I would consider adding blocking (chunks of 4x4) underneath the sill plate, perpendicular to the existing 4x4's. This would eliminate the chance of sag I think.
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Old 11/12/06, 03:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: MN
Posts: 8,107
Thought you said a big building, this isn't much.

But, the original building plan does lead to a bit of concern. You'll need to stablize those short cross-beams. Buildings shoulds always have the runners the long way - as you see now. Makes more $$$$ later on, no matter what you save while building it....

Can't you put some 2x on each side down by the ground, _solidly_ attaching them, to make the 4x4's a solid floor? Once you got it lifted & on the good runners you have, then you will have a solid stable floor & can remove the 2x stuff, or leave it as you wish. Pretty small building, shouldn't take much at all.

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Old 11/13/06, 03:03 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 4,278
Lifting a building


You did not tell us how your building was constructed.

Is it covered with metal siding or something else? If it is metal, which way does the metal run--vertically or horizontally?

You say it is insulated; how is the interior sealed, and with what?

Are you trying to lift the building while it is loaded, or is it empty?

All these things have a bearing on what you can safely do without ruining your storage building.

If it is covered with metal running horizontally you can empty the building and jack it on any two corners and it will come up as a unit. If it is metal running vertically you cannot do this.

With no more information than you have given us it is difficult to tell you the easy way to fix your problem. The building won't be difficult to lift--the difficulty will come in lifting it without twisting or breaking it.

I had a similar problem here--a l0 x 24 metal building that had been allowed to sit on the ground until the floor rotted. I lifted it, dropped everything below the plate, slid in a new floor on new skids and sat the building back on the new floor. It now sits on three railroad ties evenly spaced under the skids. No more rot.

When you are done with this building you will want it high enough off the ground so that your dogs/cats can keep varmints from denning up there.
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Old 11/13/06, 10:03 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 460
Mountaineer, I move houses/bldgs for a living and when I lift small buildings I use a long piece of preferably 6X6 angle iron to effectively distrubute the weight. Not knowing exactly how the floor system is connected but relying on the 4X4 cross members you can support the ends with the angle iron. Place your jack under the iron far enough that it does not "roll out" when raising. I use mechanical toe jacks for this but a hydraulic will do. Just be watchful for that "roll out" potential as it will pull your wall out and give you a bad taste in your mouth if it hits you. I never recomend placing a building on the ground or the supporting timbers but on masonary with footings set BELOW the frost line. For a building that small just use some solid 4X8X16 inch blocks about 6 feet apart under your 10X12 sills. Those are very large for your building. a 4X6 turned up should very easily support the building, especially with 4X4s cross ways. When you get it up on one side slide the timber in place(couple of feet under), position your blocks, and lower. Repeat process on other side and you are finished. Your building on the ground is not uncommon but please raise the next one prior to building. Keeps pesky critters away from your home. Skunks, 'possums, and crawly critters love buildings close to the ground. That and water splashes up and will rot your building sooner than you think. Even if treated wood the other parts will mold or mildew-not good, wc
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Old 01/21/07, 09:48 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Cowley County, Kansas
Posts: 82
Found this discussion and wanted to ask a few questions. I have moved part of an old cabin over to our lot at the lake. The part of the cabin I moved over is 16x16 and am going to eventually extend this out to 16x36. Now for the problem. The sill plates all the way around are rotted. Presently I have it setting about 2 ft off the ground on railroad tie blocks. These are placed every 8 ft apart for the time being. There is no support under the center part of the cabin for the time being. I know its a mess, but hey, its my Several of us were talking about how to do the sill plates and I have decided on the following. Put some supports under the center area of the cabin, probably 3 total running the entire length but not touching the sill plates. Then slowly jack up one side of the cabin, only inches, remove the old sill plate, replacing it and lowering it back down. Doing both the long sides, basically the same way. The short sides, I will remove and splice into my existing floor joint and extending out to the 36 ft mark. Once this is done, I will block the cabin. Any ides will be very much appreciated.

Last edited by JackDeePeyton; 01/21/07 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 01/22/07, 09:29 AM
Abe R Crombie's Avatar  
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 130
If you can put those beams under enough to go from end to end under the sills,it can be jacked and blocked to the highth you want.I moved a 14x20' barn from neighbors that was going to be torn down,sills were rotten and near on the ground.Had to dig and jack to get 6x8 24ft long beam under it,one side at a time.From there I jacked and blocked until was high enough to get flatbed under and move it.Dig out some holes to get the jacks under.
Good luck,
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Old 01/22/07, 06:27 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Cowley County, Kansas
Posts: 82
Thanks Abe

I was kinda thinkin along the same lines and sure do appreciate your thoughts on it. Actually this was also going to be torn down, but after I got lookin at it, the structure itself was in good condition. The floors were covered with linoleum and carpet, but underneath are some of the most drop dead gorgeous floors, that I have seen. Its going to take some work, but I think it will be a sound project. Actually, some of the guys around there, are saying this is one for the record seems as if I can't just do a simple project, its always got to be a little bit dramatic.

Thanks again
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