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innerlooper

I'm available to answer your Old House questions

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Always good to have another resource on HAIF. Welcome to the Forum. How is it that you have this knowledge ?

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I have a question!!

My home is very old wood frame, post and beam. (1911). Had it leveled and some piers repaired/rebuilt about 18 months ago, and had some expected settling and drywall cracks that I never bothered fixing.

In the next couple of weeks I will get a new roof (and deck) put on. Will the roof construction make my house move around again? Can I expect fresh sheetrock cracks?

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I have a question!!

My home is very old wood frame, post and beam. (1911). Had it leveled and some piers repaired/rebuilt about 18 months ago, and had some expected settling and drywall cracks that I never bothered fixing.

In the next couple of weeks I will get a new roof (and deck) put on. Will the roof construction make my house move around again? Can I expect fresh sheetrock cracks?

Hey crunch, while I cannot answer your question like an expert, we didn't have any sort of issues when we had our old asbestos tile roof and decking replaced a couple of months ago. All we got was a beautiful new roof :).

OK, I have a question of my own: 1930's two-story pier and beam, with a noticeable sag in the middle of the house. We had a guy crawl under there and said that a number of piers in the middle aren't touching the house. Who knows how long it has been like this as we have only had the house a year. We haven't been aggressive about getting it corrected, mainly because of the sheetrock damage that we will then need to fix.

Questions:

-Are we actually causing major harm to the house right now?

-How much sheetrock damage is to be expected from leveling?

-I don't have any experience with pier and beam repair...how can we tell if the contractor giving the bid is any good?

Edited by travelguy_73

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I have a question!!

My home is very old wood frame, post and beam. (1911). Had it leveled and some piers repaired/rebuilt about 18 months ago, and had some expected settling and drywall cracks that I never bothered fixing.

In the next couple of weeks I will get a new roof (and deck) put on. Will the roof construction make my house move around again? Can I expect fresh sheetrock cracks?

Roof: if you are tearing off a couple of old roofs, and wood shingles, and going back with OSB or plywood, then the overall weight change will be negligible and your roof system will be somewhat sturdier, as you will be creating diaphragms that resist racking. I would take a look at your attic though before doing the roof. You probably have 2x4 (undersized) rafters and may not have very good purlin bracing under the longer spans. Get with a framer and add bracing before the roof job if possible. Braces should bear down on load-bearing wall plates only. No braces down on ceiling spans (which probably are 2x4 also and undersized by today's standards). Changing out the roof should have no bearing on the foundation. Also if you are tearing off wood shingles, half of them will end up in the attic and create a mess and be a fire hazard. Maybe lay down some tarps before the crew gets going.

I assume when you say "deck" you mean new roof sheathing/ decking and not a new deck out back?

Depending on how dramatic the foundation adjustments were, it can take months for the house structure to readjust itself to the new conditions down below.

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Hey crunch, while I cannot answer your question like an expert, we didn't have any sort of issues when we had our old asbestos tile roof and decking replaced a couple of months ago. All we got was a beautiful new roof :).

OK, I have a question of my own: 1930's two-story pier and beam, with a noticeable sag in the middle of the house. We had a guy crawl under there and said that a number of piers in the middle aren't touching the house. Who knows how long it has been like this as we have only had the house a year. We haven't been aggressive about getting it corrected, mainly because of the sheetrock damage that we will then need to fix.

Questions:

-Are we actually causing major harm to the house right now?

-How much sheetrock damage is to be expected from leveling?

-I don't have any experience with pier and beam repair...how can we tell if the contractor giving the bid is any good?

Of course your inspector should have seen any deficient conditions when you acquire the house. What was on the report?

On a two story the loads are quite large and you need to be proactive. Its not an ASAP situation but the longer you wait, the more distorted wood structure and flooring will get, and bent wood may not ever come back to its original shape.

There are decent honest P&B foundation folks out there. I would get several proposals and compare. There are also artists out there who will sell a widow on $12,000 worth of "repairs" that don't need to be done. Unless extra beams are added or replaced, and the crawl space is reasonably accessible, adding or adjusting a couple of interior piers should not cost more than $2000. It depends on your specific situation though.

John Pfister (281-480-6684) has been around a long time and does good work. He doesn't do huge house lifts but this sounds like his kind of job.

Murley is a larger outfit that does work in the Heights +. 281-447-3507.

Some sheetrock may need to be patched but that is cosmetic. If you have a structural issue under the house, that is more important.

Right now it hasn't rained in a while and most crawl spaces in town are nice and dry. Perfect time to do foundation work. After a couple of weeks of rain there will be a lot of ponding down below and jobs will have to be put off, as jacks will just bury themselves in the muck.

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Always good to have another resource on HAIF. Welcome to the Forum. How is it that you have this knowledge ?

I am a real-estate related business that has been mentioned in the forums here (positive comments). I don't want to use the site for advertising and prefer to stay anonymous if that's OK. This allows me to offer more frank opinions about the current scene.

Have been around old house for many years and I hope I can of service here.

Innerlooper

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I would be glad to answer questions about old house stuff, in particular Pier and Beam construction.

At no charge :o

Hi Innerlooper,

Thanks for your offer. I have a 1938 two story and it seems that the garden is "caving" in, or that the housing is getting higher. What is noticeable is that more of the foundation is exposed on the garden site. We also have cracks all the time. We had a foundation guy coming by and he said that the house is pretty much level and that watering the garden should cause it to rise again. Curious for a second opinion. BTW the foundation guy is Bonilla. Pfister is perpetually unreachable.

Tx,

Hoef

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Hi Innerlooper,

Thanks for your offer. I have a 1938 two story and it seems that the garden is "caving" in, or that the housing is getting higher. What is noticeable is that more of the foundation is exposed on the garden site. We also have cracks all the time. We had a foundation guy coming by and he said that the house is pretty much level and that watering the garden should cause it to rise again. Curious for a second opinion. BTW the foundation guy is Bonilla. Pfister is perpetually unreachable.

Tx,

Hoef

This is unusual and you need to first investigate the possibility that there is an underground drain line that has failed and is letting soil and surface water to slowly wash into the drain, hence lowering the yard. This could be a sanitary (sewer) drain or a stormwater drain from the yard or gutter discharge. Try to figure out where your main house sewer is running, or get an investigative plumber to do a hydrostatic test and/ or run a camera down the drain. Or you could dig in the lowered area and see what turns up. Washouts are not uncommon. There was a time that the city would do a smoke test on the sewers to make sure folks weren't using the sanitary lines to drain yards (illegal) but I think they stopped because of complaints.... smoke coming out in homes that had dried out traps etc.

Let me know what you find. Thanks.

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Hi Innerlooper,

Thanks for your offer. I have a 1938 two story and it seems that the garden is "caving" in, or that the housing is getting higher. What is noticeable is that more of the foundation is exposed on the garden site. We also have cracks all the time. We had a foundation guy coming by and he said that the house is pretty much level and that watering the garden should cause it to rise again. Curious for a second opinion. BTW the foundation guy is Bonilla. Pfister is perpetually unreachable.

Tx,

Hoef

I bid out Pfister, Bonilla, Bill Marks of All-Texas Foundation Repair, and some Mexican immigrants from Pasadena. Pfister was too busy, the immigrants bid way low and didn't seem to have as good a grasp on things, and Bonilla bid way way too high and tried to convince me that there was too much sand underneath the house (put there by the previous owner to cover up ponding) and that his crews would have to excavate it to even fit underneath the house.

Marks got the job. He knew what he was doing, wasn't overselling himself and provided realistic expectations, he did not have to excavate sand(!), and charged a sane price for it all. I almost hate to recommend him because I'd prefer that he be my little secret, but he's gotten so busy over the last year that I've had difficulty getting in touch with him for a different job I wanted him to work on.

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My issue:  Wood sub-floor suddenly staying wet with between 17%-24% moisture and the old peel and stick floor tile has come unglued. Cant lay new tile until sudden moisture problem is solved. This is the first time we have had any sub-floor moisture problems in this home we have lived in since '73.

 

House description:  1945 block and beam, 835 sq.ft., walls and floor not insulated, minimal bat insulation in ceiling, attic has large gable vents and two whirly bird vents with closed non-vented soffits.

 

Recent changes:   6 mil. poly sheet on crawlspace ground well ventilated and moisture free.  Added 1-1/5 ton ductless heat pump/ air conditioning to the room that is having the issue and using the ductless unit as the main cooling for the house with one window unit used occasionaly to help circulate the air. Two weeks ago we set up a 70 pt. per 24 hr. dehumidifier in the room with the ductless and wet sub-floor. The dehumidifier has ran at full capacity the entire time. And I recently added two L walls in the attic to add support to this old 7/12 pitch roof.

 

I have done a lot of research and I have my personal evaluation but this old woman will not believe me. She seems to wish to believe product review websites and whatever she can find on the internet to my hard work researching building science. Please advise.

Edited by craiger4233
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