Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My House is on Stilts

My house is 85ish years old. The floors aren't exactly level. 2 7/8" off in the worst spot. When I put a pen on the kitchen counter, it rolls away. When I had the inspection done before buying the place, I was told that the foundation was doing the job it was intended but due to the clay soil, there had been some settling. I was also told that many of my "piers" were trees that were on the lot--they were cut at the right height and the house built on top--and that the non-tree piers are wood with no concrete underneath. Also, there are only 32 piers (there should be 42-62 depending who you talk to). And there aren't enough support beams and the ones that are there are only half as thick as they are supposed to be.

One of the many on site trees turned into piers (roots and all)

I was planning on doing the leveling at some point down the line, but my dad offered to help with a now or never type offer. Now it is! After talking to several contractors that were recommended or from Angie's List, I finally found one that P and I were both happy with. P is a general contractor, so really helpful in matters like this.

I am having all the old piers removed and replaced with 60 piers made up of steel beams imbedded in concrete with angle iron plates. Additional support beams are also being installed and the old ones reinforced. The work started a couple weeks ago. Boy, does my house look scary. The stucco skirting came off first. Then the digging began.

Are those car jacks?
When digging the first day, the crew discovered that the south side of the house had some shoddy foundation work done in the 80s. Below the piers and a layer of dirt, there were a few concrete chunks. After removing one of these chunks, they discovered that it was embedded with junk, tubes, two faucets from the 80s, etc. It looks like they threw the junk in the hole and poured concrete on top of it. Weird.

Looks normal from this side

Two faucets and a lot of other junk. Why?
The holes keep getting deeper and the pile of dirt in the yard bigger. If I bend over, I can see clear through to the other side.  Yesterday they began setting out rebar. Concrete pouring is scheduled for today, then they'll work on the beams, then the actual leveling.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Gate and shed

The gate is done except for the pin that goes into the ground and holds it closed. Okay, it has been for months. I just haven't blogged about it. Isn't it pretty? P does nice work. :)

I finally got around to digging out the old chain link fence. The two posts closest to the house came out relatively easily.

The two on the other side were a royal pain. I was doing this the morning that I had a storage shed built. The carpenter pushed on the post with his truck a little and that helped loosen them. It turns out they had long pieces of rebar securing them to the ground

They don't look that big in the photo, but for comparison's sake, here's my foot.


Here is the shed under construction.


And finished. Sort of. It still needs to be painted to match the house.

Here is a shot of the yard. I'm open to suggestions as to how to landscape around this thing. I didn't realize it would take up so much space. P is going to build shelves in it. Once he does, I'll be able to move all my tools out of the laundry room and actually use those shelves for (*gasp*) linens!

I was going to ask Roni for her thoughts, but the look on her face didn't inspire confidence.

Next up: Leveling the floors!