Jackup a House – On the House

Jackup a House

By on May 22, 2014
Jackup a house


My 34-year-old house has been relatively problem-free. But, major cracks are now beginning to show in the ceilings and walls, and my shower door won’t stay open any more. It’s time to re-level the house, and my sons have agreed to help. Is this something we can do ourselves, and is there a book available that we can refer to?



Yes and no. Sorry, we could not find any books on it. The fellows who do “floor jack-ups” are keeping their craft a secret.But you can do the repairs yourselves. A friend of ours paid $17,000 to have his floor and house repaired. Floor shift is a result of ground movement. Ground movement results from either natural settlement or moisture content changes. Since your home has been so stable for so long, there is a very good possibility that moisture has attacked the earth in your subarea. If this is the case, do nothing until summer dryness has had a chance to reverse the process. If moisture can be ruled out completely, then a natural shift has probably occurred and a “floor jack-up” is in order now.Solution: First, draw a floor plan of your house on grid tracing tissue. Use eight squares per inch, with each square equaling one foot. Then make a similar drawing of the subarea, locating the foundation, wood floor beams, and piers. Highlight the damaged areas on the floor plan (use a 3 foot long level on the floor to discover high and low spots). Overlay the floor plan onto the one of the subarea. Doing so should indicate which piers and beams have shifted.

To make the repairs, you’ll need to rent a house jack. And, you will need a short length of 4×4 as a temporary support, plus two three foot-long pieces of 2×12 lumber, one for shoring up the jack base and one for shoring up the 4×4 to prevent it from sinking into the ground. You may also need several shims.

For high spots, use the jack to raise the floor at the suspected post. With floor pressure relieved (and with a temporary wood brace in place) remove the post (underpinning), trim it (not more than 1/4 at a time), and reinstall it. Use the same procedure for low spots, but instead of removing the post and cutting it, drive shims between the post and the beam. As each post is adjusted, the result will be visible from above, so make sure that someone remains in the house above to monitor what’s happening.

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