Re Leveling a house

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Jc05, Apr 26, 2006.

  1. Jc05

    Jc05 Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone ever had this done? My old house was built on stacked rocks. It is unlevel in places and at some point, a den was added and I think the den was added on after the house was already unlevel. At some places the roof line sags. I've had an estimate from a man who specializes in this. He said that he could re-level in 2 days. They would use concrete blocks every 6 feet. Just wondering if anyone has any experience with this so I will know if I would be satisfied with what i expect. My main concerns are:
    The roofline will still sag.....he says it will go right back into place.
    And, he says there is no problem with the den having been added on after the house was already unlevel........the house and den will all be the same height........I'm just kinda unsure on this. Its hard to do anything else with a house that needs doing when its unlevel...Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Wildtim

    Wildtim Well-Known Member

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    It sounds expensive, While I have no direct experience with doing this to an older house. It isn't too much of a problem to re-level a newer house after it has settled for a couple of years. If it is going to cost a lot see what sort of gaurante you can get and maybe have alawyer asses the contract. I don't see how you would level out the den if it isn't square to the rest of the structure unless you seperated them enough to allow them to be moved seperatly.
    If the roof sags in direct proportion to the floor it will probably come up as the floor is re-set but I wouldn't count on it I suspect your roof is a different set of troubles altogether
     

  3. Jc05

    Jc05 Well-Known Member

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    It will run right at 2k for a 1150sf house. I probably should have said the ceiling sags instead of the roof. The ceiling pretty much sags inside the house in the same places where the floor sags.
     
  4. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    What type of house (single floor, two storey with basement, etc.) and where is it sagging? Does it sag in only one corner/room or through the entire length of the house?

    cheers,
     
  5. Jc05

    Jc05 Well-Known Member

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    Single floor, no basement. It's a noticeable sag going from the living room to the back of the house/bedrooms and then from the dining room "going down into the kitchen"lol. But from the kitchen is a door that was a porch and from this door is now the den. Trying to decide to keep it and remodel which is hard to do when its unlevel, or sell it to my brother in law who doesn't mind it being unlevel.
     
  6. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    Typical rectangular bungalos may sag :

    - somewhere in the centre or along its length - as the central beam which runs perpendicular to the floor joists has either settled or failed - some bungalos have no central beam

    - along a non gable-end wall, i.e. the foundation has settled or failed - this one you have to check to be sure its not the sills which have rotted away causing the exterior wall and floor joists to drop - since you notice a drop going from the center of the house to the back of the house - most likely one of these.

    "Concrete blocks" - sounds like they are planning to install concrete block piers, which would have to be on a foundation, every 6 feet. Depending on how many piers they have to install, temporarily supporting the structure, leveling the structure, and whatever else is involved - $2k sounds almost too reasonable.

    If you're going from a "perimeter foundation" to a concrete block pier foundation, even for only one wall of the house, some changes may be required for the sill plate of that wall.

    cheers,
     
  7. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

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    I have built a foundation for my house and leveled it. I also releveled a house for a neighbor of mine. It wasn't that big of a deal, really. I did it in less than a day and by myself. I didn't build new piers, however, i just added shims on top of the existing piers. New piers or "drop girders" will add a lot to the time and effort and materials.
    About your questions...
    I guess it depends...
    First of all...houses are REALLY FLEXIBLE THINGS. It's amazing. However, plaster and window glass are not flexible, so cracks may happen. I'd suggest opening windows during the levelling process. The window frames may "rack" and they'll need to be reworked a bit, but the glass is less likely to break.
    As far as plaster goes, basically you just may have some cracks to repair when it's all done. Also, it is likely that some doors will no longer close until they are reworked, too. that happened to my neignbor's house. Leave the doors open while working to avoid getting them stuck closed or worse...shattered.

    A sagging house may be a combination of: a sinking foundation (which leads to a whole wall or part of a wall dropping (and the floor with it)).

    and: sagging floors where the floor is supported at the walls but sags in the middle, because it wasn't supported in the middle.

    Gosh, it's hard to diagnose your house without seeing it. Sorry. It's really easy to see and describe in person.

    It is possible that listing the floors will lift the roof. It is also possible that additions and the original house will all level up nicely without problems. If the fellow says that's your case, be happy. In my case, i had to push and pull from several directions simultaneously over the course of months and add drop girders, shims and attic supports to get my house straightened up. Due to my unwillingnesss to remove some internal walls, I had to stop before it was really straight and be happy with the progress I had made. It took me months and some very clever rigging (if I do say so myself). It would have cost me many thousands of dollars...and that's for a 900 sq ft square house that i had just placed on a perfectly level brand new foundation.

    One cool thing that did happen was thet there was one door that was so stuck I hadn't yet gotten it to move and upon setting the house down on it's new foundation, i heard a creak and looked up to see the door swing closed and LATCH! :dance:
     
  8. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I have leveled several houses. One was a very large house. It is essential to have a footing for each pier. I see nothing wrong with using the concrete blocks but they must rest on more than earth. A water level is used by me to get the house level. The water level is the only way I am aware to get dead on. Lasers leave a lot to be desired in inaccessible areas To level a house it is best to do it a bit at a time. This gives the house a chance to recover without abruptly jerking the support structures around. Moving at a 1/4 inch over a week to 10 days allows the timbers a chance to return to their original position without pulling out the fasteners. The end results are worth the effort and the minimal expense. If you have a ceiling joist or a rafter that has a bow it is unlikely that the leveling will correct that. I have gone into the attic and used additional bracing to correct such issues. I question the quality of the end results on a 2 day effort!
     
  9. tiogacounty

    tiogacounty Well-Known Member

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    Having done this work myself, I was about to launch into a few paragraphs of stored knowledge. I just read the posts by raymilosh and agmantoo, and there is little left to add. I agree with agmantoo, this is a job that could be done in two days, but shouldn't. A house that is slowly returned to it's original position will have a lot less damage than one that is rammed back in place. Also, there is no reason to assume that all houses started out level. Sometimes a string line and a good eye will get you further than a transit, or a laser will. good luck
     
  10. Gideon

    Gideon Well-Known Member

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    I move houses for a living and do some leveling/raising/lowering. I would level the bottom unless the house was not built level. Go by the floors if the sills/joists are not the same height. Digging footing holes down to hard ground is essential if they are to stay level over the years to come. 24X24 inchs minimum @8inchs deep every six feet will hold you very well. Check the ceiling height throughout before raising to make the roof look right. I would like to have the bottom(floor)level than anything else. If you run into a problem just E me and will try to advise. Gideon