Floor leveling


C

Carolyn Marenger

My wife and I have just inherited a house, and we are embarking on the
home repair/renovation challenge. One of the projects one our list of "to
do's" is leveling the floors.

There is about a 2" drop from the outside walls to the center of the main
floor. The basement (25' long x 22' wide) has two adjustable steel columns
supporting the beam that supports the main floor joists.

Is the solution as simple as renting some form of jack, jacking the floor
up a 1/4", extend the post, raise the floor, extend the post, ... unitl
the floor is again level? If so, what kind of jack can I use. I am
assuming that my car jack wouldn't be able to support the weight of the
house.

Thanks, Carolyn
 
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D

disway

you might want to consider replacing the sagged beams with steel beam. It's
a lot of work depend on how big your house is. It usually involve creating
thick concrete foundation in the basement (for the supporting steel post),
lifting heavy steel beam, bolting and all the other fun stuff. Obviously,
you will be doing a lot of re-plaster work. I helped a friend jacked up his
badly sagged house floor (3,500 sq ft) with 18 small jacks ($20 a piece) and
2 hydraulic jacks. He reinforced 4 support beams under the wall upstairs,
and put in a long steel beam for the main support. Yet, the floor is still
not perfect, so is the 2nd floor. But again, you can never bring the house
back to it's original level unless you want to start your "This Old House"
project.

In short, it is simple, jack it up, put in new post (beam). I would get a
structure engineer to look it first.
 
R

Rich

Carolyn Marenger wrote, wondering if this is really what he meant?
Is the solution as simple as renting some form of jack, jacking the floor
up a 1/4", extend the post, raise the floor, extend the post, ... unitl
the floor is again level? If so, what kind of jack can I use. I am
assuming that my car jack wouldn't be able to support the weight of the
house.

Thanks, Carolyn
I would call either a house inspector or an engineer. I heard somewhere
don't even think about jacking a house unless it's a 10 ton hydraulic jack!

Rich
--
You can lead them to LINUX
but you can't make them THINK.
Atten: Micro$oft Outlook users, please take me
off of your address books!
Email, remove the DOT
 
G

George E. Cawthon

Carolyn said:
My wife and I have just inherited a house, and we are embarking on the
home repair/renovation challenge. One of the projects one our list of "to
do's" is leveling the floors.

There is about a 2" drop from the outside walls to the center of the main
floor. The basement (25' long x 22' wide) has two adjustable steel columns
supporting the beam that supports the main floor joists.

Is the solution as simple as renting some form of jack, jacking the floor
up a 1/4", extend the post, raise the floor, extend the post, ... unitl
the floor is again level? If so, what kind of jack can I use. I am
assuming that my car jack wouldn't be able to support the weight of the
house.

Thanks, Carolyn
Jacks are made specifically for this purpose and can even be
left in place depending on the application. These consist
of a steel tube inside a steel tube with hole cut in each to
adjust the length of the tube. At the bottom is a wide
steel plate and at the top there is heavy steel collars
with a screw and a plate at the top. In other words it is a
screw jack. A five foot (shortest length) jack would
probably be adjustable. Do not use hydraulic jacks. Screw
jacks for this purpose have a slow enough raise that with a
2-3 inch bar you can lift several tons.

You would probably want to buy 6 jacks put one on either
side of the existing steel columns (or if the beam doesn't
extend far enough past the steel column the put one jack
within a foot of the steel column and another not more than
3-4 feet further toward the center. put the other two spaced
in the center of the support beam. You may want to consider
leaving the center two (or all of the jacks) in
permanently. You will never get everything perfectly
level, but the key is to raise slowly so that walls floors,
and ceilings don't crack. And, leave a rest period so the
house can readjust before the next raise. You can tell how
fast to raise just by listening to the protest of the house;
if it starts screaming, stop raising. Two inches is a lot,
and I would probably take at least a month, maybe two
months, and raise not more than 3/8" at a time. When you do
raise, raise in small increments, screwing each jack a small
and equal amount (like an eight or a quarter turn). Keep
adjusting your original supports as you raise, but they
won't hold any weight because you don't want to lower any
until the end. If you want to keep the steel columns tight
then just keep shimming and use cedar shingles for
tightening (pound two shingles thin edges over lapping)
toward each other at the support point.

After raising the center beam, you may still have some
discrepancies and need to raise specific areas of joists.
Again, depending on how you will use the basement, you may
want to just leave the screw jacks in place as permanent
fixtures.
 
G

George E. Cawthon

Rich said:
Carolyn Marenger wrote, wondering if this is really what he meant?


I would call either a house inspector or an engineer. I heard somewhere
don't even think about jacking a house unless it's a 10 ton hydraulic jack!

Rich
--
You can lead them to LINUX
but you can't make them THINK.
Atten: Micro$oft Outlook users, please take me
off of your address books!
Email, remove the DOT
Don't even consider a hydraulic jack. Failure of the jack
could be disastrous. 10 tons is nothing for a screw jack.
But, nothing wrong with calling an engineer but what kind?
How about an architect instead?
 
C

Carolyn Marenger

Do you mean it bows down to the middle, then you jack up the jacks that
you have and add one more. dont use hvdraulic, they are not controlable.
Screw jacks should be turned a 1/4 turn a day no more so your walls dont
crack and the house can adjust. do it over a month, slowly. But measure
your door and window levels and Square first. You may not be able to
open them easily afterwards if you dont know their proper position. If
windows are original it should be no problem as they will be reset to
original level. be sure jacks are straight and level so they dont blow
out.
Thanks. They are all original, and those not on the exterior walls all
have nice gaps around their door frames. :)

Carolyn
 
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M

mark Ransley

You have an old house, Beams have settled and are hard and not
flexible as is new wood. First check all basement suports for cracks,
when you start to jack you can put uneven loads that May crack beams.
They will have to be repaired. Some areas may have settled more. I have
had beams split real bad from jacking 1/4 " to fast, right in front of
me, its a little scary. Get a 5ft level and check level of beams and
joists before you start , so you know what is out most. Then get a tape
measure and a helper , mark locations on floor and beams above for
placement of tape. record maybe 20 areas in basement and remeasure every
few days to record progress in lifting. and keep an eye and doors and
windows. do it over a month or more and slowly. What is your basement
floor, you need a good deep footing under the jacks, maybe that is why
is sank . Start by looking at footings and figure out what has caused
the original problem then look into the cure and amount of support
needed
 
R

Rich

George E. Cawthon wrote, wondering if this is really what he meant?
Don't even consider a hydraulic jack. Failure of the jack
could be disastrous. 10 tons is nothing for a screw jack.
But, nothing wrong with calling an engineer but what kind?
How about an architect instead?
I can see your point. If a hydraulic jack failed it could be a disaster.
Structural maybe?

Rich
--
You can lead them to LINUX
but you can't make them THINK.
Atten: Micro$oft Outlook users, please take me
off of your address books!
Email, remove the DOT
 
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G

George E. Cawthon

Rich said:
George E. Cawthon wrote, wondering if this is really what he meant?


I can see your point. If a hydraulic jack failed it could be a disaster.
Structural maybe?

Rich
--
You can lead them to LINUX
but you can't make them THINK.
Atten: Micro$oft Outlook users, please take me
off of your address books!
Email, remove the DOT
Both structural and maybe on your head (could also be called
structural).
 

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