Friday, February 18, 2011

How to jack a house

So one of the ways I wanted to optimize this renovation, was to do as little interior excavation as possible. And so when working with the architect, I asked if I could replace the floor beams with large steel beams that would span  the 20 ft width. He said yes, so the plans were updated.

The giant steel beams have two benefits. First they will allow me to easily lift the house, since I will have large and sturdy platforms to jack up. Secondly, they will make excavation easier since I will only have to excavate and place pin piles on the outer perimeter of the house. So yay on both accounts!

Unfortunately Everett Steel didn't have the means to deliver the beams into my driveway easily. It would've required me renting an excavator or something to unload it from a flatbed. So I decided it would be easier to rent a flatbed from Handy Andy and use that to pick up and drop off the beams. It worked really well actually. I managed to back up into the driveway and then "toss" the beams off the back and in front of the house.

The floor joists can't sit directly on the beams, so pressure treated 2x6s need to be bolted to the top of the beams. This involved drilling way too many holes in thick steel. Suffice to say, I spent a lot of time with my 1/2 heavy duty drill, my Drill Doctor and a bottle of cutting fluid.

Here is a picture of the underneath of the house. You can see the original floor beams underneath the joists. And you can see they are just sitting on wooden posts on top of concrete pier blocks. They were in remarkably decent shape actually.
So I wasn't about to physically drag the beams around and put them under the house. They were 300+ lbs per, and really ungainly. So, mini-excavator to the rescue! (Can you tell I love this machine?)

Here, you can see the beams after they are initially installed. Pay attention to how low the house is sitting here, It'll eventually get jacked up quite a bit.
Once the beams were in place, I started jacking the house up and adding cribbing, to bring the house to level, and also allow me to remove the old beams, posts and piers.

And here, you can see the new beams installed and all of the old beams removed. It's amazing how much room it opened up underneath the house.

Here you can see the back of the house, the angle of this shot is crooked, but the house has been jacked up about 6 inches and looks soo much better.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog! Loving every post including the doggies.