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Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Posted by nancy_in_mich (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 1, 11 at 16:00

My carpenter and I went to start our latest project - a small, $1500 library built-in project using used bookshelves and pre-owned office storage cabinets.

When he lifted up the floor register grill, however, my carpenter said, "oh-oh!" Our living room floor is not sitting on the slab, but was on top of a badly-built false floor. Jim saw trouble with that.

When he pulled up the carpet and took off a sheet of plywood, he found that the concrete slab floor underneath the false floor had not only cracked, but had broken in two and had sunk at least 6 inches in the middle. When he hit it with a hammer, it sounded hollow. Next day, Jim brought in his concrete guy and they broke through the slab and learned that the earth under at least part of the slab had disappeared.

We knew that the house had a foundation problem when we bought it. The owner showed us the Ram Jack certificate and how the warranty carried through to us, too. He said the problem had been fixed. The house was $30,000 less than similar houses we had seen, and our home inspector did not see anything to worry about. The back yard was perfect for dogs - they had the extra room of a corner lot, but could not get to the sidewalk to bother passers-by because a hedge was between their yard and the sidewalk, with fencing on both sides, making a green barrier between them and the kids who might tease them, dogs that might incite them, and anyone who wanted to test our liability insurance by reaching over the fence to them. The side of the backyard fence that was beside the house and overlooked the front yard was completely blocked by columnar evergreens. We had privacy and the dogs had no access to trouble. So even if we have these problems now, it still seems that it was an okay decision to buy this house.

After a couple of engineers gave advice and the Ram Jack salesman was out to make a proposal, we ended up needing 6 more jacks. The original 6 that the previous owner put in were fine. He just did not get enough of them. One of the workmen here yesterday remembers the guy. He would call the company that put in the jacks and complain about more cracks in the drywall or about settling, and would not listen to the company that he needed more jacks. That company went out of business. He now works for the company doing our job, the only Ram Jack franchise in the state.

So, yesterday they arrived and started digging in our garage.

We get to spent the Fourth of July weekend with the six holes in our garage and living room. The city can't send out their inspectors today.

For lots more pictures, see my link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to more photos of jacking.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Oh Nancy, I feel for you. And it also scares me to death because we have had our foundation lifted on one end and we know it caused more cracking than we had before and a low spot in the center of the house.

Your link to photos is password protected. Where are you living now & where did you put all the stuff from the living room and garage?


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Hi Mari!
Sorry about the lock, it happened by accident when I was just zooming my cursor around the page, loading photos. It took me a while to figure out how to delete the passkey protection! Thank you for tell me.

Can you try again and tell me if it is working now?


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

WOW Nancy. You will deserve a celebration after this is all back together. Do they do the clean up?

Hugs to you and DH.

Chris


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RE: where are we living and where is our stuff?

We are still living at home. Jim, our contractor, removed our newish front door and put it in the garage for us, then buttoned up the back part of the house by covering the hallway to the foyer with plywood, plastic, and sealant. We still have all three bedrooms, the kitchen, the family room, and the bath, half-bath and laundry room.

Today, while the majority of the work was done, the three dogs and I stayed in our bedroom. I gated off the rest of the house because there is work being done in the basement, too, and the guy helping the main guy down there is going up and down the stairs, out to the patio, and to the saw set up under the maple tree. The main guy working in the basement is - get this - BLIND! He needs to put his hand on the shoulder of the guy in front of him to walk across the lawn. He is great at carryng lumber, too, since he just has to follow the guy in front of him and the lumber he is holding. He is the one who is making measurements and installing the big wooden beams down there. They are adding a sill plate to the top of the north and south basement walls, because the tops of the walls are moving inward. They are stabilizing it. He works by feel. Maybe he has a braille measuring tape? I am not asking, it seems rude. But, then, again, he is doing the work in my basement I suppose I could ask, - LOL!

Where is the stuff? The contents of the bookshelves and two desks from the front room are packed in boxes and are in Dad's room. It is full to the gills, since it already had a few extra kitchen cabs there from last summer's kitchen remodel. It is also set up in there for seed-starting on our old kitchen table. That project never happened because of the foundation problem. My decorative tile listello for the backsplash is also back there somewhere.

DH's two trombones, synthesizer, mutes, music stand, music books, and a footstool are in the smallest bedroom along with my sauna, the upright freezer, my craft table, and two storage closets. I have to move things to get to my sauna.

The old bookshelves were given away, and I sold one desk. The red-colored wooden table desk whose picture you can see in the gallery you can now enter, the three office consoles I am going to use in the library/music room, the five bookshelves, the spare lumber, the loveseat, the one barrister bookshelf with glass doors, the recycling bins, the garbage can, my trim wood, my unopened miter saw, all my tile and grout supplies including my wet saw, a TV, a metal storage cabinet, and assorted lawn and garden supplies are all in a SAM (storage and moving) 8 x 8.5 x 16ft container in the driveway. The two guys I hired to move all the stuff into the SAM on Wednesday called to cancel on me. I told them that was not an option, and they planned to be here after 8 pm. But, meanwhile, I called around, and found a friend of my sister's roommate who was able to come. He and my 48yo girlfriend loaded the SAM, with my assistance at times and my organizational skills. My ankles and knees still have not recovered from two hours on my feet on concrete.

I will be loading a few more pictures later, of a living room and foyer full of big piles of dirt. The lift guys are leaving now. The basement guys still have a little work to do. It is 6:30 pm here.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Yes, your pictures are showing up for me now.

A blind man putting up beams? Oh man, that would make me nervous.

Is the basement under the part of the house with the damage?

I just showed your pictures to dh. Now we both want to peel back the carpet in our room and see what the foundation looks like in there. I've said for years I think that is where our musty smell is coming from.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

I've been wondering how things were going for you with that major, major project to get done! so glad you posted to let us all know. Did they give you a time line for the work? will it be done soon?

hopefully this will be it for any major problems and Jim can get on with putting your bookshelves together for you.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Marti, our house is mostly over a basement. The garage, laundry room, foyer, and living room are all across the front and they are on a slab.

I sure hope that your foundation is in good shape. This is not a fun project!

The team of guys doing the Ram Jacks finished at 6:30. They lifted about a half inch in the living room and 3/8 of an inch in the garage and foyer. The lifting is not as important as simply stabilizing the foundation. They put the jacks in place, then use a laser level to make marks on the wall, then do the lifting. it is funny, I didn't hear anything different when they did the actual lifting and had to ask if it had lifted. After they get each jack to lift so that it is holding up the foundation wall, they lift a little more for correcting the sunken areas. This method of doing the jacks on the inside of the house and garage means that they only get a little lift, but lifting is not as important as simply stabilizing the foundation, which the jacks do.

Our only hold-up is that the city inspector has to come out and inspect each jack. After he okays the work, the crew comes back and puts the dirt back in the holes and cleans up. That is expected for Tuesday, but if the city is here late on Tuesday, the crew will finish on Wednesday. On Monday, July 11, Jim and his concrete guy come. They will remove the rest of the slab and pour us a new one. Our engineer was here today with Jim and they decided on a method for suspending the slab from the foundation wall.

Hi Steph! After the new slab cures for a month, then it is time for flooring. We chose Wicanders cork click flooring. I haven't found an image of it that shows what it looks like, yet.

THEN Jim will build the bookcases.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Wow- That's scary! We once nearly bought a house with a similar problem, and decided against it. I'm glad you've got the problem diagnosed and under control. Here's hoping it all goes smoothly- keep us posted!


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Curious mind wonders. What holds the jacks up. When we had to jack up our house after the flood we borrowed HUGE bridge timbers from the County Road and Bridge. Then jacked it to level then steel posts and then poured a new footing and stem wall around them.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Oh ok. That probably explains why you have such big cavities under your foundation. Our foundation is sitting on dirt so I don't think there is any way to have a void under it. However, it can still move.

Shades, I wondered that too with hers. With ours, they dug holes (like in Nancy's garage) down about 10 feet. We have limestone or sandstone about a foot under the surface so they had to drill through that until they hit the really solid stuff.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Nancy, I am in awe of the whole process. I'll never be sure again, that a soft spot in the yard does not denote underground cavities. Oh good GRIEF, you've had such a round. And I keep thinking about your new kitchen, all those bunches of book shelves. And that lovely Japanese maple not far from the pit for the corner of the garage.

I'm sort of glad that there will be a few days between the completion of the digging and the inspection. I mean, that will give a few more days for gravity to affect what is done, just in case, because once it is inspected, then it will be covered up. I'd be so suspicious of the whole thing that I'd leave the holes open, and sit there and watch them!!!

You've done a fantastic job of documenting the process of this, from discovery of the problem, to the steps taken to solve it, and I know that you'll wind up showing the improvements which let you use your house again. The telling of your story is bound to be helpful to someone else facing a similar crisis. And it is a major crisis in the annals of home ownership.

I'm reminded of an old quote popular down in Louisiana,
YOU FORGET YOUR PROJECT WAS TO DRAIN THE SWAMP WHEN YOU ARE KNEE DEEP IN ALLIGATORS. But pretty soon you'll be "draining your swamp" and improving that room where your DH can play his music and store his music stuff.

Additionally, I never heard of a SAM (storage and moving), is it a real company? What I've investigated is the PODS, and that is what we will use to move DH's house contents south. If I cannot put everything in the Teahouse, then I'll have to keep the PODS in the driveway until our kitchen remodel is done.

How about showing a picture of your SAM? Even us small homers (or especially us small homers) will need a place to put our STUFF when we do big projects.

Have a great FOURTH, Nancy. Might as well have a picnic outdoors.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Marti, the rooms on a slab WERE on a slab sitting on the dirt when the house was built in 1978, we just don't know where the dirt went! Luckily, the slab flloors of the living room and foyer and garage were not connected (at least not well) to the foundation walls for the living room, foyer, and garage. The new floor in the living room and foyer will be suspended from the foundation walls, though. Then if the dirt washes away again, we won't care - or even know about it.

Chris, the picture of the trailer full of black pipes with screw fins on them shows the ram jack system. They drill the pipes down into the ground until it takes about 3500 lbs of torque to turn the pipe. That tells them they are in solid ground. They then fit a big steel arm onto the pipe and position it so that it is under the bottom of the foundation wall. I do not know the method for tightening that arm onto the pipe, but I am sure it is on there tight because that arm forms a support under the foundation that the foundation now sits on. These pipes are drilled down to solid earth every 6 to 7 feet apart. The lift mechanism is fitted onto the three pipe-and-arm assemblies, and three guys activate the lifting at the same time. The arm moves upward, firmly engaging the foundation wall, and lifting it a bit, too. That is it. The guys removed the lift mechanisms, and now we wait for the city to inspect it. The pipes don't go anywhere. I suppose an earthquake can move them. The company that installed them says they have never had one fail, though. They have had to go down as far as 200 ft in some places to find solid ground. Here, they just needed to go down about 15 feet.

ML thanks for the compliment. I try to explain things so that people can understand. I know I would have appreciated more stuff out there on the net about this process!

Here is our SAM. It is a POD with a different logo painted on it. It was supposed to be 8.5 feet tall, and the PODs are only 8 ft. So I thought that we could sit the bookcases upright. Nope, not a chance. The bookcases had to lie down on their sides, taking up a lot of floor space in the SAM. Good thing I got the SAM at 16 ft instead of the 12 ft POD I was pricing. I got a $50-off coupon for the SAM, which is the second reason I went with that company. It was United and Mayflower moving companies that sent the SAM. I have seen their containers with their logo on them before, don�t know why the one they sent here says SAM.

One thing I did not know about these rentals is that you pay to have them delivered, pay monthly rent to have them, and pay to have them picked up. So it is not a simple call to compare prices, since the companies differ greatly on their deliver and pick-up prices.

Here is a link that might be useful: Where the new pics start.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Oh Nancy, my heart just breaks for you. You sure are handling it well though. I think you are much more knowledgeable about foundation repair than the company who did ours.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Marti, I think I have been expecting this trouble since we bought the house. It was always in the back of my mind that the foundation had been lifted in the past. Kind of like doing second-guessing for the past five years!

I am "handling it well" mostly out of relief. At first, it sounded like we needed 12 or 13 ram jacks. When the price falls to about half the first estimate and you learn you don't have to dig up all the landscaping you have done in the past three or four years, it starts to sound easy!

I am finding it hard to believe that we will have a cozy library/music room where that pile of dirt now sits in only two months!


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Thanks so much for the description Nancy. Very good. Gave me shivers to even look at the pictures of the holes.This is some thing nightmares are made of. Did the workmen actually hand dig those holes? LOL I just need to know every thing.

My heart breaks for you on the mess in your house.

I do understand running the three jacks at the same time. We had to do that on our flood house too. We might have had four jacks going. Fuzzy in my brain on that now. Had to look at the picture.

We did the pipes holding the foundation up differently because we were above ground at the time.I remember now they had big wide metal feet on them. Later to be filled in with boulders against the foundation. Core of engineers called it armor.

I hope you are feeling ok???? As ok as a person can feel in this situation.

Hugs Chris

Here is a link that might be useful: Four Jacks.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

OMG Chris! I guess you know what it is really like to have your living room floor fall from underneath you! Our situation is NOTHING like the one you survived! So we lost a little dirt under our house and it has shifted an inch or so...

Did you have any warning? What was it doing flooding on New Years? Unseasonably warm, so you got a lot of snowmelt? Dam burst?

To answer your question, yes, the workmen did actually hand dig the holes, but they had a jack hammer for the bad clay and the concrete.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

OMG I can not imagine getting down in those holes to dig. And in the years we worked at the cemeteries I was into a lot of holes. But they were bigger.

Yes Flood was Jan 1 1997. We had seen the river get high before so were not all that worried until we got trapped in the house. The water went over the dike then out again at our house and undercut it and dug a 12 foot deep hole. Was a pretty scary day and night while the house was ripping apart around us. Water 9 foot above flood stage. But we are fine.

Was deep snow year then Chinook winds and then heavy rains for about a week and all the snow on the mountains for 80 or so miles let loose at once.

House is all back together and even better than it was before flood. We made lots of improvements while it was all opened up. Not to mention all new septic and leach lines and plumbing and the house was rebuilt stronger then before flood. The people that bought it are still there and loving it. I do miss the hot springs pool and hot tub all natural.

I am so glad you are taking this in stride.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Chris, I was wondering up to the last sentence, confused about what your Canary Cottage was doing with jacks under it.... I remember some of your photos of that big gorgeous home, but did not realize you had to endure the disaster of a flood like that. Water is such a powerful force. I have a tremendous respect for water. Not just the oceans, but any form of water can wind up bringing the best laid plans of mankind to an end. It is always saying, "Let me in, let me in."


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Hi Smaller Homers,
The city inspector was out, and okayed the back filling of the holes where the jacks are. The company will come back tomorrow to do that.

Jim and his concrete guy will start work on Monday, July 11. They are removing the concrete floor and pouring a floor that will be suspended from the foundation walls.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

That is Great news Nancy!!!


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

"we just don't know where the dirt went!"

yikes! a dirt thief!

I think Thurs til Monday w/o someone digging, jack hammering etc at your house will be a great time to just collapse!
regroup yourself for Monday and the cement pouring.
prayers that all continues to go well in this process and it never rears its ugly head at you again.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers. We did everything with the thought of never having to address the issue again!


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Jim is such a godsend, Nancy. It is awesome to have such a dependable and capable contractor at your disposal. I'm sure, like you, he never wants to address those issues again either!

Hope you enjoy a couple of days peace and quiet. Even if it is hot.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Hi everybody! I have concrete!

And it is all one level. No more 6" step down into the living room of this home. The foyer and LR are at the same height. Luckily, the LR ceiling was high enough that the space won't be missed. It will still be 8 ft, 4 inches. The window now starts at mid-thigh, however!

We were held up for a long time by the guys who did the lifting of the walls. They submitted a permit application that included doing the slab pour - even though we had never agreed to it. We had no idea until our builder (our valiant Jim!) went to the city to submit his permit application. We then had to wait about three weeks for the lifting company and the city to agree that eveything was squared away. So Jim poured on Thursday, August 11. One month to the day later than planned.

We left for a week's vacation on Saturday. We still did not have a front door when we left - it was still in the garage. We should come home to a front door, and perhaps even to a whole house, if Jim decides to take down his plywood wall between the foyer and the rest of the house.

Our bad news is that the walls and ceiling will need to be repainted. The concrete guys used a vibrating tool to settle the concrete. Imagine taking your mixer out of the batter in a 12 x 16 room. Yup, cake batter everywhere. Jim will sand that down and then my friend and I will prime and paint on my four-day Labor Day weekend.

What color? I have no idea!


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Can I borrow Jim? ;)

I'm glad it is getting done, I had been wondering. That splattered concrete is a real mess to get off stuff. I'm not sure sanding will get it, but I bet Jim has a way. Our windows are about thigh high off the floor too so I bet it looks great.

Our foundation has shifted again with this drought. I'm not sure what we're going to do about it. Nothing until the rains come and we see how much shifts back. But I have cracks in several rooms, one from floor to ceiling. Ugh.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Hi everybody! I have concrete!

And it is all one level. No more 6" step down into the living room of this home. The foyer and LR are at the same height. Luckily, the LR ceiling was high enough that the space won't be missed. It will still be 8 ft, 4 inches. The window now starts at mid-thigh, however!

We were held up for a long time by the guys who did the lifting of the walls. They submitted a permit application that included doing the slab pour - even though we had never agreed to it. We had no idea until our builder (our valiant Jim!) went to the city to submit his permit application. We then had to wait about three weeks for the lifting company and the city to agree that eveything was squared away. So Jim poured on Thursday, August 11. One month to the day later than planned.

We left for a week's vacation on Saturday. We still did not have a front door when we left - it was still in the garage. We should come home to a front door, and perhaps even to a whole house, if Jim decides to take down his plywood wall between the foyer and the rest of the house.

Our bad news is that the walls and ceiling will need to be repainted. The concrete guys used a vibrating tool to settle the concrete. Imagine taking your mixer out of the batter in a 12 x 16 room. Yup, cake batter everywhere. Jim will sand that down and then my friend and I will prime and paint on my four-day Labor Day weekend.

What color? I have no idea!


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I'm so happy for you! I was shocked to read you went on vacation w/o it done...til I read Jim was there. you sure are blessed to have him!

I'll take him too. he can be a traveling fixer guy! I sure need one who knows what they're doing. No one in AZ seems to.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

I tell you, Steph, it is so nice to have someone you trust. I don't even get competing bids, and Jim knows this. When the foundation lifting guy gave us a bid of $2200 or so to do the floor pour, we asked how he planned to do it. Barely any rebar, just 5ft pieces stuck out from the foundation, not meeting in the middle of the floor, not tied to each other. So I told Jim I wanted him to do it. He said, "But I can't come anywhere near that price - it may be twice that." I told him I knew that, but I wanted the kind of job that he and our engineer had been talking about. If the dirt washed away again, I did not want the floor to fall and crack and need replacing again. When the inspector from the city came to see the preparations before the pour, he asked Jim - "whatcha building here, a factory floor?" Jim had rebar laid out in about a 1 ft grid, with intersecting rebar wired together. If some soil washes away underneath, the floor will not fall unless it washes out everywhere. Since we never did find why the dirt under the floor disappeared, we wanted a floor that would not move.

It turned out that the city would not let us tie the rebar into the foundation walls. They are all about temperature insulation these days, and steel rebar would transmit the cold from the outer foundation to the floor of the room. Instead, there had to be a thermal break, with the rigid foam insulation between the foundation wall and the floor slab. So the floor cannot touch the foundation wall. Jim had already designed in rigid foam insulation between the dirt and the concrete.

I managed to finally upload the photo of the french doors we will be getting.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Nancy we also has that insulation break between floor slab and foundation at the slab house we had. We did get carpet on the floors in most rooms but the floors with just vinyl really were not all that cold. So it must work.

So happy it is going back together for you now. We also got cement on the outside of our house in the steps pour. Let me know how Jim gets it off it is still as it was when we moved in. Was already dry by the time I saw it when it was done.:^(


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

I think Jim would like to be in Texas this winter, what do y'all think?


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

naw - he'd rather be in the Phx area! lol!


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

He can come here in November when it gets cold up there and then move on to Phx in January when it gets cold here. How's that?


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Nancy I do not remember if I ever commented on your windows being lower now the floor is raised. All of our windows but two are only 19 inches above the floor. The two higher ones are in bathroom and above kitchen sink. Not a problem. For you your eye just needs to get used to it. These are the lowest windows I have ever had in a house where ALL of them were this way.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Hi my smaller home friends!
We are painting. My friend helped me prime the Library this past weekend. She is not the painter she claims to be, she is much too nervous to do a good job right now. After two primer coats it looks better in there, but there is still some streaking and see-through spots on the ceiling and high on the walls. I think I am going to finish the rest of the painting without her.

One of the reasons my friend is doing a poor job is that she is mentally ill and she is just getting over the fact that I had to take her feral-adopted cat to the pound. When we went to move my friend to her new apartment, we had to throw out all of her upholstered furniture. Cat had marked on all of them. We could not bring this cat to the new apartment. The cat had also bit and scratched my friend, necessitating a surgery to remove the infection. My friend agreed that she could not afford to lose all of her furniture a second time and she let me take the cat to animal control.

Now, my youngest dog is dying. She had surgery to remove a growth on her toe two weeks ago and she went into kidney failure after the surgery. She spent almost a week in the hospital on IV fluids and meds, but the kidney values went sky-high in the last few days that she has been home. It is harder for my friend than for me. I do love the dog, but I am more pragmatic about life and death in general. My friend is very anxious and she can't stop thinking about my dog. This is making her a lousy painter!

So despite my intention of devoting my time to the Library completion, I am busy helping my dog and my friend, as well.

Long-time readers of this saga may remember that I originally said that I was going to paint the base cabs and the trim pieces on the library built-ins,and then do an antiquing or glazing that matched the brown of the back of the bookshelves, on top of the vanilla or cream or buttery paint color. Now I am thinking differently. I have been looking at pictures of home libraries online and I find I like it when the built-in is the same color as (or a few shades off of) the rest of the room color. So now I have dropped the glazing idea and just want to paint. DH wants a light color in there, so this works well for him, too.

Since we were starting all of the decorating from scratch, I figured that choosing a rug was the right place to start. We got a 5 x7 Australian wool handmade carpet at our favorite discount place. It is plaid with tanish-gold and gray-green/blue with golden plaid stripes. The gray looks green or blue, depending on the light. There is some silk thread in the gold lines, so it shines in the right light. Once we get the room cleaned up from the priming mess, I will bring the rug back in and try it with different samples of paint I have chosen.

I wanted to show you some of the libraries I like on the Decorating Forum, but am too tired to figure out why the pictures don't show here. So here is a thread for you guys to look at and comment on as to what looks you like for my wall of built-ins. Remember the pics at the top of this thread? The reddish base cabs will have picture-frame molding added to their doors and will be painted, and so will the trim on the bookshelves. I will leave the backs of the bookshelf boxes stained as they are. I may paint the actual individual shelves to match the bases, or maybe just their visible edges. Who knows, I may end up painting the backs of the boxes, too. Give me some opinions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Office Eye Candy thread from Decorating


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Study office comments

Hmmm, I think folks moved their pictures, so they no longer show up.

In the ones that did, I liked No.7 okay, but the DARK STRIPED WALL PAPER really made my eyes hurt. I cannot imagine feeling restful with such a pattern on the walls.

Then further along, I liked the way the moldings were used, and the similar colors added a feeling of spaciousness. Which I noticed because I just saw Candice Olsen's program about small rooms need low contrast to increase feeling of spaciousness.

I'd like some version of white or near white for woodwork, because that is me, but not everyone does.

About your work schedule getting behind. We all have plans but somehow LIFE just gets in the way. You are a good friend, Nancy. Everybody needs someone who can do the hard things when they cannot bring themselves to step up to the plate.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

I'm not sure why this thread was brought back up, but I have been wondering about this Nancy.

If you were looking for a house today, after all you went through with this house, would you knowingly buy a house with foundation problems? Seems like every house we look at has a problem, and after having this house leveled, I don't want to go through it again. It wasn't the leveling, as much as repairing all the damage done by the leveling. We still need to get the brick mortar repointed.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

"I have been wondering about this Nancy. "

so have I


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

Well, we were looking at houses in this neighborhood that were all remodeled and new-looking that were $239,000. But with a finished basement, too. Here, we got a larger lot for the dogs, which we needed at the time. We also got a much larger bedroom and a somewhat larger bedroom for Dad. We got the same bath and a half and two car garage and first floor laundry. Here we spent $202,000 but knew we needed to replace the furnace ASAP (the second or third year, my sis in law turned on the furnace without telling us. We had not yet had it checked out for the year and would never have turned it on. Luckily, the CO alarm went off at 3 am, or we would have all been dead. We had not yet replaced it because we were still holding/paying for the old house. Hummm. Gee, we still are, today, too!) We also knew we had original aluminum slider windows that needed to be replaced, patio door that needed to be replaced, and an old water heater. Suspected the AC needed replacement soon, too. We figured all those things were reflected in the lower price.

We knew it had foundation problems in the past but were were not only told that they were fixed, but we were shown a letter from the company president of the company that put in the piers that they transferred the warranty to us! They did not guarantee that enough piers were put in or that the problem was fixed or that the homeowner had replaced the broken slab. Our inspector (recommended by a friend) should have wondered more about why there was a 1" difference between the foyer and the living room floors. There were step downs to the family room of 6" from the kitchen, 4" from the hall to the laundry room, and 4" from the front hall to the foyer. What was with 1"? It was all under plush carpet, so we could not tell anything. But an investigative mind could have gone over to a heat vent, pulled up the grate, and seen that there was not duct work coming up to the grate.

I had no experience with homes of this era. Despite the RE agent being our agent, she did still represent the "sale" since we were not paying her hourly or paying her commission. So it was in her best interests not to wonder why the floor was a funny height there. But she probably knew something was up.

If I was not so behind at work, I might have tried to sue the guy who sold us the house, but I was recovering from a heart attack when we discovered the issue, (I literally bought the bookcases for the project on the way home from the hospital!) and was recovering from shingles when Jim finished the project six months later. I missed three weeks to a month of work with the HA, and a full month with shingles.

I do not think we would have bought the house with knowledge of the problem. We also bought the house intending to remodel the kitchen. No way did the price we paid also include the foundation work that needed to be done. We had replaced the doors, the water heater, the furnace and AC, and the electric service panel before we discovered the broken foundation. We replaced one window when we did the kitchen and were planning to replace the others when Jim did the Library work in the Living Room. We remodeled the kitchen the year before the foundation problem was discovered, but I used 24 year-old cabinets that I refinished! I bought a scratch and dent cooktop, a sink for $60 from Habitat Restore, met a stranger at a gas station to buy a half-price Danze faucet, and used Wilsonart countertops. I did the staining and painting myself. You all know that I cobbled together the Library from used furniture stores and Craigslist. No, I would not recommend buying another house with foundation problems unless you take an engineer with you to inspect the home thoroughly - getting under and behind whatever he/she needs to see. Then you get a signed contract for doing the work at a set price. THEN and only then do you know what it will cost you - preliminarily, because something else could turn up in doing the work!

The guy who sold us this house had covered up all evidence of damage by taping the cracked corners and repainting. Well, why did not the home inspector wonder why 1. there is corner molding in all the corners of the laundry room, which adjoins the foyer, which adjoins the living room (Library for us) which had a floor that had fallen in and cracked in half and which the homeowner had built a false floor over? 2.Why there was new paneling in the garage (I am still afraid to take it off and find out what is behind it) 3. Why there is a new garage floor when there were no piers put in the garage area? Why didn't our inspector have us ask these questions?

House inspections are a joke. If you have a relative or friend who knows something about buildings, have them accompany your inspector and "do" their own inspection.


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RE: Lifting the Foundation at Nancy's Smaller Home

I figured out why this thread reappeared. A construction company posted a message to the thread, which talked about reasons for soil to wash out away from your foundation and might have been interesting to read if it had also not been a blatant advertisement for the construction company. It showed up in my email, since I was the originator of the thread, but had been removed by the time we saw the thread jump up here. I am just really far behind in email!


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