WWTF? Why, that’s What’s With This Foundation?
So we have surmised that we have some problems to overcome. I suspect the front brick foundation is not adequate to support the load it is bearing. It’s worked fairly well for 82 years, but like people, old age and settling have made the front a little droopy. First thing we need to do is raise the building structure to get at the sills. In this particular instance, there is a cross beam (right behind Shawn’s head in the picture below) that runs across six feet behind the front foundation. Between these two points is where we will place the jacks.
Two 12 ton and one 6 ton bottle jacks are used to raise the floor and wall system. This might look precarious, but it’s very stable – the jacks can’t move right or left, so we have a good, solid support. You can see daylight to the right. A good sign!
We used another 12 ton jack to raise the right hand side of the cross beam. We placed a temporary 1″ shim assembly to level the beam. By moving this one element we not only flattened the floor above, but it is now dead level – something I haven’t seen in too many new homes.
Of course, if you are moving the structure that much, there will be consequences – (like cracked walls). I anticipated this and took all of the plaster off the interior sheathing in the foyer. This is the exposed wall you see when viewing the house outside. I’ll replace this with drywall when we get the house back down on the foundation.
We will be replacing the front door, so that old plaster would need to go anyway. You can see the crack in the living room drywall and casement separation when we shifted the floor 1″. Now the door frame is plumb. I’ll take out that door casing and fix the crack – a small price to pay for flat and level floors.
Time to explore just what’s down there below the brick foundation. Now is the only time you can do this right. Remember a large landing and steps will be placed in front of this foundation – tons of materials. If it’s not right – fix it now. Costs? Yes it will cost a little more now, but it would be impossibly expensive later.
So what did we find?
This is the front foundation (it’s upside down). This is all that was used to support the front of the house – about enough support for a small yard barn. It’s amazing the floor was only sagging 1″. We’ll fix this, no question about it. The rest of the house has a full basement, so this is the only weak area of the foundation.
These posts might be a little too detailed for some, but it’s really an important – well the most important element of your home. Without a solid foundation, nothing else matters.
More to come – I promise to get to the mudroom addition soon.