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Thread: Support of Small House Section During Removal of Foundation Portion

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Posts
    4

    Default Support of Small House Section During Removal of Foundation Portion

    I have an older, small home (built 1924), the main portion of which sits upon a subterranean/basement foundation. This portion of the foundation appears to be in good shape. A very small part of the house, however -- an entryway vestibule -- extends out over a separate piece of foundation that is, apparently, entirely separate from the rest. This small foundation portion is all above ground.

    Suddenly and without warning, the small foundation portion which supports the vestibule experienced some sort of issue and partially collapsed, such that the sides are more or less intact, but the top layer has essentially cracked down the middle and crumbled inward (see image).

    On the one hand, I feel like the solution is within the realm of what I can do, myself. My intention would be to replace the existing concrete foundation with heavy timbers supported by pier & post construction. That part, I think, is pretty simple. The part that's difficult, though -- and around which I'm at a loss -- is how do I support the vestibule portion of the house while I am dismantling and clearing the old foundation?

    I have a couple different ideas, but each of those involves the need to cut-away at least a part of the old foundation, to get either a single beam or a heavy support strap underneath the house. But this is work that I have never attempted before and don't know how to go about doing it. Any way I think to approach it, I'm relying -- at least for a few minutes or hours -- on the remainder of the foundation section NOT collapsing in the interim. And that is, obviously, just not a good thing to have to rely upon.

    Of the contractors I've made contact with thus far, I can't seem to get anyone to bite on this job. The house mover & foundation repair people all say the same thing: it's too small a job for them to consider.

    I'd love to have any manner of advice on this. For the time-being, I've stabilized the situation by bracing the sides of the foundation section with timber latices, and there seems to be no further movement toward additional collapse at this time.

    Support of Small House Section During Removal of Foundation Portion-img_20170514_191740-jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    191

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    Is there anything on top of this entry vestibule, other than a roof? I'm wondering how much weight you need to hold up while replacing the foundation underneath. I think you could strip some siding and put a long 2x10 across the front or sides nailed into every stud and then hold up that 2x10 with posts well away from the foundation you're going to demolish. If there is plywood or diagonal sheathing on that vestibule, that will help keep it in place.

    It shouldn't take a lot to hold this up if it is just an empty vestibule with little roof weight and no rooms above it.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Posts
    4

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    That is actually a damn fine idea!

    To answer your question: no, there's not a darn thing to it other than the structure and roof. It's a tiny little thing: maybe 7 by 8 feet, or so, if that.

    I don't really need much in the way of room to demolish the existing foundation, so the support members you're suggesting probably wouldn't even need to stand out from the foundation portion. I could likely work around them, and they only need to be in place for long enough that I can get a beam up under the vestibule, and get that, then, in turn, supported by jacks.

    Frankly, I can imagine that the vestibule, being tied into the structure of the house, could likely support it's own weight. Probably that's not true in reality, but it seems like it almost could be.

    The only other idea that I have had, so far, is to do something such as the following: From a couple railroad ties -- stood on end and placed standing-up flush with the sides of the vestibule -- sling a heavy-duty furniture strap underneath the vestibule, through a minimal cut into the cement... A bit hodge-podge and kludgy, but I can envision it actually working.

    Your idea is much, much better. I appreciate it. It's one of those things that seems obvious once you hear it, but I'll be honest and say that it's not something I had immediately thought of.

    Thanks so much! I really appreciate your input.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Lala land, OH
    Posts
    219

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    While you are demoing, check things carefully to try and figure out why it did this. It could be crappy construction, but the downspout drain could also be a clue. Where does that drain to? If there's a problem or something like a separated/broken tile then it could be routing all that water to the foundation and washing away under it. It looks like a new drain cover. Was it recently redone? It could be old damage and it just finally gave in. I see wet spots on the slab where it split. If water seeps into a crack and freezes it will split concrete more and more every freeze cycle.

    It looks like a porch that someone decided to enclose. Probably not much foundation under it at all. It was likely done before building codes took hold in the area. If it's attached to the house and part of the house, I would dig down and install a proper footer and set block. if things line up with your house and you use the same size blocks it should be fairly easy to do.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Welland Ontario
    Posts
    389

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    For a structure that small something along this line could all you need.

    Support of Small House Section During Removal of Foundation Portion-110724b-jpg
    Operation Overlord.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Lala land, OH
    Posts
    219

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    The above picture does show a tried and true covered porch replacement method... This is probably the first time I've seen thereifixedit.com used to give good repair advice. There's a first for everything......

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