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Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Posted by nancy_in_mich (My Page) on
Mon, May 2, 11 at 0:21

Some of you may remember that my next project in our small house was to be a built-in wall of library shelving made with second hand book shelves, some sitting on base cabinets made with second-hand office storage pieces. I am going to paint the base cabs and all the new molding between and around the bookcases a creamy color, then glaze it all with a stain to match the existing wood color on the book cases. Friday, Jim came over start the project, to get the base cabs set in place in our home's living room and to figure out the spacing for the book cases. Then the granite guy could come in and template.

Background information: When we bought this house, we knew that the previous owner had paid to have six Ram Jack (TM) foundation jacks installed to repair a foundation problem with the living room. The warranty does extend to us, as the new owners. Most of our house is on a basement foundation, but the living room, foyer, and laundry room are on a concrete pad foundation.

With the floor of our living room clear of almost all furniture, it is much more obvious that there is a dip in the floor. From both directions. From right to left it dips to the middle, and from front to back, it dips to the middle. Then Jim pulled out the heat register cover and said "Uh oh!" He found that the duct work does not come up to the register. It ends about four inches deeper, on the slab. Someone built a wooden floating floor on our slab in the living room. Jim pulled up the carpet and pried up a sheet of plywood and found the cracked and crumbling slab that the PO had hidden. There is about a 1" to 2" drop from the foyer to the living room (it slants, too). It is an odd drop. Our house has 4" or 6" changes between some rooms. The drop to the living room should have alerted us to the false floor there, being such an odd height.

The funny thing is, the PO did a lousy job of making a false floor. It is not level. But it fooled us enough, I guess.

So, at the very least, we need a new slab floor in the living room. Jim says that he would tie it into the footings with steel bars and use rebar to reinforce the concrete slab. He advised doing the floor extra thick (since we have to room to bring it up level with the foyer), then no matter what settling goes on under the floor, it will not move again. He says that it seems like it may not be tied in to the foundation footings currently.

What we fear is that the foundation has not stopped moving. Jim put in our new front door in 2007. There is a small (1/4" ?) crack that was not there in 2007. There is also a crack in the back corner of the foyer, above the opening into the living room, and between the laundry room and the garage. The threshold molding that Jim installed is no longer level with the floor and the foyer floor is not level. It could mean the jacks did not do the job. If the jacks are not holding, they have a warranty and will be replaced for free, but if they were not sufficient, then we are responsible for paying for additional measures to fix the problem.

Jim has a concrete contractor coming over on Tuesday to look at the floor. I will call the company that is working with Ram Jack to supply our warranty tomorrow, to see if they will come out.

No matter who has to pay for it, I think the worst part of this is that someone will likely be digging up my flower beds in the next several days. Spring is finally here. Things are coming up out there. I have one dark purple (almost black) leafy perennial that I have moved every year since I bought it. This spring, when it started coming up, I said to it,"don't fear poor guy. This year I am NOT going to dig you up, relax and spread out your roots, you are safe here now." He sits at the corner of the living room. I think I lied to him!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Oh Darn Nancy. That has to be a shocker for sure.

We did have a house on a slab and the floors were not attached to the foundation. There was a strip between. We were told this is to help stop the cold following the foundation into the slab floors. There was stuff in the strip. I do not know what it was. Was dry and no cracks in the floor. We did carpet over it. There had been the old floor tiles not ceramic.

Funny when we were moving in here and I am planning my placement of glass and mosaic pieces I work with I asked where would be the best place to put the biggest amount of the weight. Since this is a manufactures home on full foundation he told me between wall and rails either side of room. Which I did do.

I hope it does not turn out to be too much to deal with for you. Hugs to your plant. I know those promises. BTDT.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

"This spring, when it started coming up, I said to it,"don't fear poor guy. This year I am NOT going to dig you up, relax and spread out your roots, you are safe here now." He sits at the corner of the living room. I think I lied to him!"

Did you forget to 'knock on wood' when you said that?!

Nancy, I'm so sorry you're going through this, but as the owner of an older house, I know the challenges, especially with floors. We've lived with 1"(or more) differences in levels, between the original tiny house, and sections added later. I hope everything can be resolved with a minimum of angst and energy. Your built-ins sound wonderful--cream painted cabinets are my favorite. Sending good thoughts your way!


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Nancy, does this also impact the work done on your lovely kitchen? Hope not.

We've been through the issues with tree roots lifting the foundation of the cement block garage, plus cracking the slab for it. And then we had the perimeter dug out, and additional support added beneath the entire rim of the structure. We had six more inches of cement poured for a thicker slab, and all the hollow blocks were filled with rebar and cement slurry, to which they attached the roof supports. It made a MESS of every bit of the garden around the outside. I just finished digging out that heavy clay which comprised the dirt around the foundation, and it will take a while to have the lawn convert it to great soil. So I know what you mean about them traipsing through your flower beds. Before they began their work, I had to dig up all the surrounding plants, and heel them under for the whole winter. Just this last week, I finished planting the displaced plants, hauling in new manure and top soil, and planting new low maintenance flowers. It is quite hot here now, so I finished just in time, given my inability to take the heat at my age.

What I'd recommend with your poor plant, get it a big plastic or styrofoam flower pot and feed it nothing but the best soil until this winter. How about posting a picture of it as a tribute to loyalty.....not every plant would have endured such a gypsy existance, believe me.

Meanwhile, I will be uploading some photos of my newly replanted Teahouse flower beds. I'll work on the inside tender plants after it gets too hot for outside gardening. I've dedicated myself to outdoor gardening to remove all signs of that heavy duty construction work. So I know what you will be facing during the hottest but most active growing season of the year. And also, the rubble from the cement job will range far beyond the work site, something that will require "seek and destroy" after the work is done.

Bless your heart, it will be a long hot summer.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Hot summer sounds good about now, ML! Our spring has been late, cold, and wet. But before I speak too soon, I must remember that last summer was so hot here that we may as well have been in the deep south (well, not really, it was not nearly as humid). Flower pots, I have got. I will take your advice and give my guy a pot of good soil for the summer if I must dig him up.

Luckily, this does not effect the kitchen. Its floor is not level, but that is something we live with. I don't require level, I just require "soundness." If the Living Room were only slanted, Jim could adjust that with shims. It is the possibility of actual structural problems that has me scared! I talked to Jim today and he wants me to call the company that is representing the Ram Jack company's warranty and get them out pronto. I did not have time at work today to make the call.

You sound like you have been busy, ML. Whew, I remember April 15th was the date we would turn on our air conditioning and close all the windows. April 15 to October 15 was our air conditioning season when I lived in Baton Rouge.

Chris, thanks for the support. I had never thought about it before, but your hobby supplies must be very weighty. Your mention of flooring choices reminds me that we now have the opportunity to chose a flooring material that will go throughout the rest of the house. Our hallways and bedrooms are still carpeted - and some are stained by the boy dog who has a brain tumor and who takes prednisone, and the girl dog who was, indeed, born in a barn!


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Update: Jim and the concrete guy were here today. They spent an hour and a half checking out the house inside and out and discussing baked and half-baked ideas of how to fix the problem.

They punched a hole in the living room floor and found that there is a foot of air between the ground and our slab.

Looking at the cracks in the brick veneer, it seems that the laundry room and the foyer are moving toward the family room. The Ram Jack (TM) piers were placed under the front of, and the other side of the living room from the foyer and laundry room. Maybe the foyer and laundry room simply need to have their foundation supported, too. There are no more cracks in the veneer of the family room, which indicates to me that the Ram Jack (TM) piers are working.

So the next step is that we clear out the garage, making room for Jim an his helper to put all the contents of the family room and foyer there. Then he pulls up the carpet and the false floor. He and the concrete guy may then demolish the floor in the LR, leaving the rubble to fill the space, then add sand or gravel for fill, and pour a new floor. They may also destroy the foyer floor. If they do, that may mean there is an easy way for someone to access that foundation to reinforce it. Then they won't have to tear out our four year-old porch.

The Ram Jack guy will be here a week from Thursday to look at the situation to see what he thinks about the 6 jacks that were installed in the past. I will call them tomorrow to discuss whether they prefer we have the concrete floor out or not. Then we wait.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Nancy, I'm writing this in pieces so I can view your latest input. My little brain won't hold it all in focus at one time!

So your living room floor is actually floating a foot above the foundation. Wow. And what is the "rubble" that will be left in place as fill for that big hole when they begin to demo?

I know what you mean about first you clear out the garage to have the space to move your household contents to some place secure and safe. That's why we went ahead and rebuilt the Teahouse, in preparation for next winter's kitchen tear-out.

Good to know that the RamJacks currently in place are doing the job. Adding more will be costly, but it is a solution. And having the option now for new floors is a plus. Like finally putting the cherry on the top of the cake.

We had a discussion with our contractor the other day when we gave him the final check for our Teahouse. About the kitchen job for next winter. He reminded me that this was an old house and it would not be cost effective to try to make it perfect, but just serviceable and secure and safe. I think he appreciates the fact that I am not a "nitpicker" as the folks in a beachfront house are, and it is highly likely to be destroyed by the next hurricane targeting our beach areas. I mean, that beach house will have sand scratching the wooden floors from the first day of use!
I think hardwoods on a beach floor is just asking for trouble. But the contractor fixed it, and will hopefully get his final check from that job next week. This weekend he is busy moving his daughter out of her apartment in Tuscaloosa, since no more classes at the University of Alabama this year.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Yes, ML, when you think about the H-E-double-toothpicks those families who lost loved ones and homes in those tornadoes went through, a little problem with a floor and a few walls is just nothing. We are fortunate to have some savings, and even more retirement savings, so we may be able to get some money out to do our repairs.

I am like you, not too interested in perfection. Jim is more focused on perfection than I am, and by now he pretty much knows I will okay his best efforts. I can imagine how DeMouy (sp?) must have felt, having someone on a beach complaining of sand marring the wood floors!

I have no new information on our dilemma today. A friend at work pointed me towards the geological survey maps, and as far as we can understand we are supposed to have Lenawee Clay Loam under us. We think that is good (better than sand, which could be washed away and might explain the big hole of air holding up our family room floor). But we don't have sand. Maybe it was a bad builder not compacting our soil before pouring the LR.

The rubble would be the current concrete floor, all broken into little bits and left in the hole underneath where it now sits. Jackhammer the current floor and let it lay where it falls, add sand and/or gravel for more fill, then pour concrete after laying reinforcements.

Once DH gets time to fax our info to the Ram Jack company that is coming out next week, I will call and see if I can talk to whomever is coming. Does he want the floor demolished already, or not? We also found two other companies with good BBB records to get estimates from.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

I'd contact Holmes on Holmes and see if he'd come fix everything for you! Good luck. I am so sorry that you have tyo go through all this hassle!


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Today I found a local structural engineer online. I will talk with him tomorrow.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Well, The structural engineer gave us four ideas on how to redo the livingroom floor. Then today, the guy from the Ram Jack company came out. The news is worse than we expected. Not only is the foyer and laundry room moving toward the livingroom, but the livingroom is an inch and a half lower than it should be from the right side to the left side. Either the ram jacks failed (highly unlikely), or they only supported the living room when they did the work, they did not lift it back to where it was supposed to be. The company that did the work in 1998 went out of business, so there is no one to sue. The jacks themselves are warrantied, but they almost never fail. They probably were installed wrong.

Ram Jack is sending out their engineer to look at the house. We have movement from the right to the left, and movement in the garage wall from front to back. The left garage wall that forms the wall to the laundry room is tied into the basement wall. The basement wall under the stairs has a quarter-inch crack. We never saw it because of where the crack is, behind the stairs.

So, we need 12 to 13 jacks. We need to remove my beautiful new front porch (composite lumber - very expensive!). The concrete porch under the new porch needs to come out. I have to remove all of my plants within 10 feet of the house. We may lose the Japanese Maple and the Cherry tree.

We have to move everything in the basement within 15 feet of the stairs. That is because they are going to go through the basement floor to jack the wall that the garage is pulling on. They need room for large quantities of dirt.

The concrete floors in the livingroom, foyer, and laundry room will all be removed. Then replaced, with extra support in the middle in case the soil settles more. At least the floors will be tied into the new jacks and won't move again.

AND, all of this is just speculation at this point because the Ram Jack engineer can't get here until Wednesday. He will do the actual figuring of what we need.

Oh, and since the foundation plantings were very mature and obviously original to the 1978 house, and I removed them in 2007, we cannot figure how they even DID any jacking of the house in the six places the jacks are supposed to be located.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Good grief, Nancy, this just keeps snowballing, doesn't it?
Mike Holmes does sound like a good choice to contact, if it appears that it was some malfeasance or ineptitude on the part of the contractors. You are close enough to Canada that it would not be out of his range.

I am dumbfounded about the way your house is self destructing, each room going on its own merry way. It sounds like plate tectonics and what happened to Japan!

If you need to remove your new front porch, does your homeowners insurance kick in at any point? I'll have to get out my policy and see what is generally covered.

Don't strain your back moving everything. Good luck. I'll be saying a prayer for you.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

OH Nancy. I am so sorry for your troubles. I can only imagine because of what the flood did to us years ago . But we were able to do the jacking ourselves and did not have cement floors to deal with. AND mother nature took care of our foundation and mostly took it away.:^(((

I can not imagine all the work you will be dealing with. Having just now finished clearing the one room, living room, of furniture and carpet and pad staples and and and. I am exhausted and this is only one room. I would be there is a heart beat to help you if I could.

Know we will all be here for mental support. Hugs to you. Prayers too. I think it is ok to pray for floors to not be as bad as it sounds.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Well, The structural engineer gave us four ideas on how to redo the livingroom floor. Then today, the guy from the Ram Jack company came out. The news is worse than we expected. Not only is the foyer and laundry room moving toward the livingroom, but the livingroom is an inch and a half lower than it should be from the right side to the left side. Either the ram jacks failed (highly unlikely), or they only supported the living room when they did the work, they did not lift it back to where it was supposed to be. The company that did the work in 1998 went out of business, so there is no one to sue. The jacks themselves are warrantied, but they almost never fail. They probably were installed wrong.

Ram Jack is sending out their engineer to look at the house. We have movement from the right to the left, and movement in the garage wall from front to back. The left garage wall that forms the wall to the laundry room is tied into the basement wall. The basement wall under the stairs has a quarter-inch crack. We never saw it because of where the crack is, behind the stairs.

So, we need 12 to 13 jacks. We need to remove my beautiful new front porch (composite lumber - very expensive!). The concrete porch under the new porch needs to come out. I have to remove all of my plants within 10 feet of the house. We may lose the Japanese Maple and the Cherry tree.

We have to move everything in the basement within 15 feet of the stairs. That is because they are going to go through the basement floor to jack the wall that the garage is pulling on. They need room for large quantities of dirt.

The concrete floors in the livingroom, foyer, and laundry room will all be removed. Then replaced, with extra support in the middle in case the soil settles more. At least the floors will be tied into the new jacks and won't move again.

AND, all of this is just speculation at this point because the Ram Jack engineer can't get here until Wednesday. He will do the actual figuring of what we need.

Oh, and since the foundation plantings were very mature and obviously original to the 1978 house, and I removed them in 2007, we cannot figure how they even DID any jacking of the house in the six places the jacks are supposed to be located.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Oh how awful! Can you sue the previous owner for covering up the problem?


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Something I don't understand

You said the company went out of business. So Ram Jack wasn't the original company?


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Hi Marti,
Ram Jack is the company that makes the jacks. Construction guys can become installers and franchise owners, I guess. The company that came out to look at the house is the only Ram Jack franchise in Michigan, now that the one that did my house went out of business. Their rep said they have installed 8000 Ram Jacks and have never had one fail.

My contractor, Jim, took a picture of the Japanese Maple this morning. He is going to ask a friend if it is something I can sell. He thinks it might be worth $1000 or more. ML, what are your thoughts on this? I think it could be killed just digging to do the jacking, and likely will be killed if we extend the front porch out to where the living room wall ends. So getting some money for it could at least dull the pain caused by the huge flow of dollars going from our fingers into a hole in the ground.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Nancy, just how big IS your Japanese maple?

We dug out ours from the river lot, and transplanted it to our cottage garden late in the winter. The best time to move a mature tree would be the WINTER when it is dormant, but, it seems that we did good with this one. It is about 15 feet tall, and about 10 feet across, but it is not "full" because it was growing beneath some really huge tall pines and white oaks and magnolia trees.

We had severed the main horizontal roots last fall and summer, so that part of the job was done already. It was the longer roots going down deep into the soil (not really a single taproot like pines, but some deep roots nonetheless), and we used a comealong to winch the tree out of the ground with its big rootball. We were some amateurs, of course. A REAL PROFESSIONAL COULD MOVE IT FINE.

And yes, I think it would bring a pretty price for it. Instead of YOU digging it up, a professional landscape architect could come dig it up and do the entire job. I would advertise it with pictures, call several architects and forward the pictures to them. If interested they might call you back for the exact location. Money up front, of course.

Be sure to show the color of the tree in its fall leaves, and fully leafed out during the summertime. And, I would have a six foot tall post (or person) standing beside it for scale.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Well, we got an estimate today on the foundation jacking. About $10K. I was not home when their engineer was here, and DH did not know the project well enough to ask the right questions, so I have a lot of questions for the company. This is for 6 piers, not the 12 to 13 the salesman thought we needed. I am waiting for clarification, but it seems that they are going to stabilize only, not lift the house back into place. I emailed with my questions. The darned engineer told DH the details (after I told him not to because DH does not know enough about it to remember important things and to ask the right questions.) Why do men always have to talk to each other and ignore the woman? In our case, I was the physics major with some understanding of mechanical things and DH is a musician and philosopher!


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

LOL Nancy you have my sincere sympathy. They are men. Not men like our Jay and Scott. Did you sign your husbands name to that email. Hehehehehe I do feel for you.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Nancy, know exactly how you feel. I'm not the technical one in our house, but DH is dyslexic as can be, which creates problems when I explain how I want something to be.

Nancy, how big is your Japanese maple exactly? (well, approximately?)

If your tree is only now leafing out for spring, get in touch with a professional landscape architect and ask what s/he would pay for one that size, especially good if you can provide a photo of it in full leaf and in full fall color. Japanese maples are prized when mature specimens can be found.

Come to think of it, if you have an architect presently building a large office building or whatever, they will more than likely have plans to get such a tree for the grounds. I would let THEM dig it up, not you. If you will lose it anyway, get it gone now before the heat begins in earnest up there. They make huge pots for such trees, so it can be done with the right equipment.

Good luck.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

More good news!
We did get the bid for the job by email, and it is for just a hair over $10K. I had to talk to the engineer that the company sent out, since nothing was explained in the bid. He said that he sees no evidence that the original 6 Ram Jacks have failed. I agree - there are no cracked corners or cracks coming from the edges of the big window in the Living Room. The cracks are in the foyer corners and above the front door. Also in the laundry room.

So three jacks will go under the garage wall. They will dig up the (new in 2005!) concrete garage floor to do this. They will take out the concrete floors in the foyer and living room and put one more jack next to the front door and two along the north wall of the living room (the only wall that was not jacked the last time). They do not plan to have to remove the laundry room slab. ALL of the jacks can be installed from the inside. That means that no excavating will be done outside. I do not have to move the plants or the stacked stone flower bed edging. The new porch can stay where it is and the Japanese Maple and the cherry tree on the other side should not be damaged. Thank goodness. I just don't have the energy or time to re-do all my landscaping! The salesman will be back out on Saturday to measure so he can give us a bid for pouring the new floors. He can do our job the second week in June. It will take 2 days for the foundation jacking and a third day to pour the floors. I will also have Jim and his concrete guy bid the floor job, just to see if his friend can do it significantly cheaper.

After a month of curing, Jim can install our flooring (still to be chosen), repair the walls and THEN we can build the bookshelves.

My biggest worry is what to do with the bookshelves and cabinets and my scrap wood pile that are filling that side of the garage. It all has to move so they can do the work. I have no place left to put anything inside! I may have to rent a POD or something for the duration.

I wish you all a beautiful Memorial Day weekend. Mine starts tomorrow with house cleaning to prepare for a brunch with my in-laws on Saturday.

Oh, Sandy, if you read this, I thought you might like to hear what DH said to me the other day: "Once this living room/library thing is done, I am going to have to ask that we put a moratorium on any projects for at least two years." I thought he would then say something about us having to save the money to replenish our saving account. Nope! He says he needs to live stress-free to recover from over a year of constant turmoil in our house.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Oh, Nancy, I do so want to know someone who can tell me their experience with PODS......would you PLEEEEEEZE rent a PODS?
I can see that we will need one up north when the house sells, and that is exactly what I will do because it is easy to keep on site, add to it as you go along, until it is full or ready to be moved. Perfectly wonderful option for all sorts of issues, including emptying a house of furniture to install new floors.

I hope you have a lovely brunch on Saturday, and make a toast to your in-laws, "we who are about to die, salute you." or appreciate what you see now, because it will soon be torn out......

Gadzooks, you have such strong constitution not flat freaking out. It seems the stress is getting to your DH instead. Sounds like MY DH when I say something about having another good idea.....hehehehe.... I really enjoy keeping him off balance like that. (chuckle...guffaw...guffaw)


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Some of the larger moving companies are now offering pod-type storage/moving.

Here is a link that might be useful: Another


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

LOL Nancy. I am so happy you do have good news on saving the landscaping. Wondering how it will be to have cement floors jack hammered out of your house but hey it is only dust. ASK me how I know. I hope they plastic and tape off what parts of your house will not be affected.

Funny how we all can think a little wonky when we are more concerned with landscaping then inside of our house. Yet I would be just as you. Some things just need to be preserved.

Enjoy your Brunch.

OH we have friends that moved cross country with pods and it was a good experience for them. They packed them then pod people picked them up and delivered to their new home.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

You are right, it is weird to be more concerned with the plants than the inside of the house, but then the outside is getting all pretty, while the inside is a vast wasteland....

As for the cement floors being jack hammered out, Jim said he was just going to cover the opening into the house with plywood and plastic so the dust all stays out there. The foyer and living room already do not feel like "part of the house" due to the exposed concrete - especially the cracked concrete!

I talked to the homeowner's insurance office yesterday, and it seems pretty cut and dried that settling, subsidence (with or without the presence of water), earthquakes, volcanoes, nuclear war, insurrections, and floods are all not covered!


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Nancy, for my money, the best insurance policy is the FLOOD INSURANCE. It is federal. Our house on the river did not require flood, because it was in zone X back before Katrina. But I said, if we live on the water, I want to get it,, so for $250/year we had it. The homeowners insurance cost a rediculous amount then and even more now, but when the time came, homeowners paid less than $1000 on a house that was totalled. They said, no wind damage, it was all rising water. Hmmm, then how did that ruin the equipment in the attic don't cha know, except it was blown in. But the dear little bargain of a flood policy paid for not only the house, it paid for the contents. And I had some benefits to stay in a tiny travel trailer until I went nuts. ..

I'm glad your large Japanese maple will survive this trial, and you can look at something pretty while your house goes up in dust. I really feel for you, because I remember all the work you two put into this house.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

"the outside is getting all pretty, while the inside is a vast wasteland...."

I really had to laugh at this...

"I had some benefits to stay in a tiny travel trailer until I went nuts..."

and this.

We really are THE group, aren't we?

I'm considering tossing in my first born son in order to get some more work done around here... of course, at his age he'll more than likely deny knowing me if anyone attempts to 'collect' him!

wouldn't it be great if we could work as a group? a number of us show up at a project and work like crazy to get it done... take a few wks off and then on to the next one...

that'd be IF any of us could 'work like crazy'. 30 minutes to an hour of it and I'm down for the count... I couldn't even fly anywhere on a plane so would have to dig out my Super Woman cape.

nancy - I'm sooooo sorry to hear all of this is going on at your house! what a bummer! glad the plants will live to tell about it tho.

btw, would there be any projects left to do at your house?


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group benefits

Steph, this sort of "brainstorming" idea of yours, forming a rescue group, is exactly like the inspiration behind my college friends forming our TEAHOUSE IRREGULARS. Even in our advanced stage of life, a friendship formed 55 years ago is still alive and well, and served as inspiration for my personal Teahouse. When I go in there and close the door behind me, I return to a place dear to my heart, the inspiration for my projects, my thoughts, my energy renewal spot. And it is still not in the shape I envision it. Construction dust still covers the new cement slab floor, but I have dreams which persist.

Stranger connections than what you suggest HAVE come into being in real life, Steph. Why, some might ask? And I reply, WHY NOT?

I'm sure that Jay might find helping hands welcome as he pursues his out-buildings on his new homestead with the great view. Habitat For Humanity impacted the world of housing with its volunteer program. So indeed: WHY NOT.

And, it does not require muscle to make lemonade for the crew.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Actually Steph this has happened with Joe and I. We went to help an internet friend in CA. To help her with some projects at her house. She helped me when I had cancer with alternative treatment and held my hand through a couple years of pretty scary treatments. We felt it was the least we could do to go help her when she needed it.

Sadly gas is so expensive now we would not be able to afford it. I remember then gasping at having to pay 1.72 a gallon.

I do believe lots of the brain storming that goes on here does help. If nothing else emotionally.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

I agree with your statements, Shades. There is no one perfect way to set up a house. And if your thinking just keeps going in its same old patterns, you find yourself digging your ruts deeper.

I like the way Lavender Lass has opened her mind to different options for her old farmhouse redo, and in the process she has enriched the way they can live in that house. Looking at things from different perspectives is always a good idea. It also gives everyone observing the process some practice thinking outside the box too. I find it a delightful experience to take an existing place and refresh it for today's uses, more so than beginning with a blank slate. Building on the past is my choice, a great way to keep depth of meaning in your daily life. I WANT the age to show through.

Shades, your story of helping an internet buddy is inspiring. But you're right, the price of gas is a sobering matter, and stops a lot of long trips I bet. However, I love to drive and leave in the middle of the night, which is part of my DNA I do believe. When I was a child, we planned to leave at dawn....but around midnight my dad said, "Let's go I cannot sleep, might as well drive." I looked forward to that time when he drove and I sat behind him looking over his seat back, wide awake, carsick if I got away from the open window. And to me, leaving in the wee hours is my first choice to begin any journey. Such excitement to be going through the night when everyone else is asleep.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Yep ML we usually left in the wee hours. Traveling at night is helpful for quick stops along the road. LOL My husband was a cannonball type driver. Get from point A to point B afap. Now with all our animals it would be very hard to travel.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

"I do believe lots of the brain storming that goes on here does help. If nothing else emotionally."

that is so true! all the info gathered by all the different people here from different areas of the country is just an amazing help. Everyone's life experiences come into play also. It's wonderful to have this place.

ML - I like things merged from the past also. I'd be lost in a house full of new furniture. That doesn't keep me from popping in a few new - southwestern usually - things also.

shades - that's very nice that your friend was there for you - and then you in turn were there for her. do ya'll remember when gas was like 20 cents a gal? gee, give me those days again - lol! the price of it now is limiting my even otherwise limited driving. I don't drive much - or far anyway and I try to not go into lots of traffic (like the bigger cities). Unless going to the doctor (2-3 x a yr) I try to stay around the smaller towns outside of the bigger cities here - and stay off of the freeway!


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Hi All my Smaller friends!
ML, I would buy flood insurance today if they offered it. My agent said that you can only buy it if you are in a flood zone, and I am likely not. Did I tell you folks about the blue line under my house? I was looking at the real estate listing of the house across the street. I wanted to know the current asking price because it is identical to our house. Well, their asking price is now $30K less than what we OWE on our house, and we paid 20% down when we bought! Anyway, there I was on the page and I impulsively clicked on the "map" link. It showed a street map, but there is a blue line that starts about two blocks behind our house, goes under our house, and then under the whole row of houses on the side street. We are on a corner, facing east. The house across the street is in a line of houses facing south. The blue line follows the street (but is up under the houses, not under the street) for a bit, then turns a bit south. When it reaches the next major street a half mile away, it follows that road south for two miles where it hooks up with a creek! Okay. So what we have here is either a spring, an underground creek, an underground river, or a runnoff culvert. Yes, under my house. Could it be part of the reason that I have so little dirt and so much air holding my slab floor up?

Steph, the inside IS a vast wasteland! It echoes! For our smaller homes, a 12 x 16 ft room is pretty big, and with the echo, it qualifies as vast. There is a 7 x 7 foyer, too - all empty and stripped down to its crumbling concrete floor. Oh- and the hole in the floor. It shows the hole in the soil under the house, too.

You should hear the boy dogs howling together at dawn with the echo effect, quite impressive for two suburban hound-mixes who are wolf wannabees!

I agree that we all learn from each other. Everyone else's projects give me ideas for m own home. I got the idea of using regular, used, plank bookcases from an HGTV show. They spruced up someone's dark family room by painting their built-in bookcases a lighter color, adding molding to the edges of the planks to make the shelving look more substantial, and lightening other parts of the room. Mama Goose's kitchen is just what I always wanted to do with mine - pieced together from sources far and wide with many different aged parts, and lots of improvisation. Only, MY DH was not ready for that, and I got carried away with my matchy-matchy set from Green Demos. But I really love Mama's more.

I used to think that I wanted new furniture that I picked out myself. Now I know that I have always felt the soul in the used pieces, and they have always meant more to me. I have a handmade oak telephone table and stool that I bought at a garage sale up in the very northern part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The area gets lots of snow - it is in the Keweenaw Peninsula, sticking out into Lake Superior. I think off the old Finnish or Italian or Cornish miner family who likely made it, and how they used it for many years before it ended in the garage sale for me to buy. A table from down in Baton Rouge also makes me wonder about its heritage. Who owned it? What kind of family issues has the piece seen?

Here is a link that might be useful: Where I started college, MTU


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

that's it, nancy - after you get all of that done, what's left to do? sounds like you'll be redoing most of the house in this 'floor' make over!

maybe your bedroom and bath will need done - lol!


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Nancy - You might be able to find out what the blue line is by contacting your local Dept. of Conservation for a soil map. There's a fancier name for it, but basically that's what it is. Describes all of the types of soil and waterways. Google "soil maps" for more info.

We are going through our own nightmare, but it is dangerous electrical and can be fixed, but how and how much $$ is yet to be determined. Certainly nothing compared to what you are experiencing, but nerve-wracking nonetheless. Lesson learned: ONLY DEAL WITH PROFESSIONAL/LICENSED anything.......


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Nancy, when we bought our house on the river (destroyed by Katrina), the woman we bought it from had a title document that went back to the original parcelling of land in the area, when it was like 1700s. It had everything drawn on the document, which looked like a book, no kidding. And then it traced the way that whole parcel was divided up, who owned it, who sold what, who inherited what, who lost it, and of course it showed the surveyed marks on it.

Do you think you can get a geological history or trail by looking at the recorded deeds or records of your state geological survey? I do not know how that is done, but I realize it must be somewhere.

First off, I'd use Google Earth to get the lat-lon coordinates for your property, and then contact the state or the university, whoever is most helpful to you.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

"Now I know that I have always felt the soul in the used pieces, and they have always meant more to me."

Me too. I spend lots of dreamy time wondering about the stories my furniture could tell. And NOTHING matches in our house not even styles. I think I put the ECK in eclectic. LOL

Wanttoretire....."Dept. of Conservation for a soil map. " Might be called the Core of Engineers.

And
"We are going through our own nightmare, " EEEEEEKKKK Be safe. Wiring can be pretty scary.

ML " the woman we bought it from had a title document that went back to the original parcelling of land in the area, when it was like 1700s."
I believe it is called an Abstract. We had one for a house we owned. I was sure to make a good copy of it and give it to the local museum. Gave the original to the new owner.

Nancy there might be a legend on the google map explaining what the blue line means. Maybe have to find it on another page. Or scroll way out to see it.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Nancy, I hope things are working out better. I'm really sorry to hear what you have been going through. I can't even decifer half of what you said about the house, thats great that you understand what is going on. Talk about opening up a can of worms! I bought my first home last year because of the price drop and had to totally gut the bathroom due to water damage, but that is minor. I hope it is working out for the best for you.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

I just KNEW that Shades would have information to add to what I was feeding into the hopper here! ABSTRACT it is. You do know that you are a valuable resource here, don't you Chris?

I might give this abstract original to the local history collection, even though it is water damaged. It shows the original (or whatever) shoreline of the river lined with palmettos and pines and marsh grass. And it was named DOG RIVER (actually RIVIERE DU CHIEN in French) because the alligators along the banks sounded like dogs barking.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

LOL ML!
And my first husband divorced me partly because I was not adventurous enough to go canoeing on the Bayou! Yea, in an aluminum boat just inches above the water, with alligators barking on the banks. No thanks!

I believe I made the right choice.

What I love about living in an area that gets cold enough to kill off the vermin every winter is that we have fewer critters living here that want to kill you or suck out your blood.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

Nancy"LOL ML!
And my first husband divorced me partly because I was not adventurous enough to go canoeing on the Bayou! Yea, in an aluminum boat just inches above the water, with alligators barking on the banks. No thanks!"

I think I just fainted from even the thought of this. I never knew Alligators barked.


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RE: Did you want a floor under that library built-in?

hehehehe.
Stick with me and you'll learn a lot about alligators.

The big males can really bark and when they roar they are only a little bit under the water. I've seen the droplets of water bounce off their backs like a fountain spray when they bark and roar. It is irresistable to the lady gators.

Shades, I named MoccasinLanding for the snake which is an ill tempered resident of the bayous. I hung a big specimen of the snake on a board suspended from a tree by my tiny dock. I wrote on it, "MOCCASINLANDING. Please do not feed the snakes." Since I was gone to work for months at a time, this sign kept intruders out of my yard. I remember coming home one time, the grass was high, and when I dumped the lawnmower bag of clippings, two sections of a 3-inch diameter snake fell out.....not the head section, just two long pieces of its middle, it had to have been quite big.
After that, I hired someone to cut the grass along the bayou bank. There are snakes around here now that I leave alone, because king snakes will eat poisonous snakes head first, and rat snakes will keep down the rodent population. So I pretty much leave the slithering critters alone. They can be my friend since I do not like to put out poisons. Mother Nature can handle that issue with great effectiveness.


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