New Orleans House Leveling Jacks

Uses Of House Leveling Jacks: House-Raising

House-raising is a process that involves separating or temporarily raising a house from its foundation with house leveling jacks or hydraulic jacks. House-raising is similar but different from house-moving, which involves raising and transporting a house by some distance to an entirely different location. After a house is raised, it is temporarily supported with hydraulic jacks.

Hydraulic or house leveling jacks are stronger than other types of jacks and can lift much heavier loads higher that is why they are referred to as house leveling jacks. Hydraulic jacks depend on force that is generated by pressure and one fundamental principle is important when it comes to lifting loads. Firstly, the plunger is drawn back, opening the suction valve ball which draws oil to the pump chamber. When the plunger is propelled forward, the oil moves across an outer discharge check valve to the cylinder chamber, then the suction valve closes, resulting in pressure building in the cylinder. Moving forward, there are certain things a homeowner must consider before his/her house can be raised.

Considerations for the Homeowner

Homeowners can decide to raise their houses due to the following reasons;

• A house can be raised in order to add living space.

• A house can be raised if the foundation needs repair.

• A house can be raised to provide flood protection. Frequently wet basements are prone to mold growth. This problem can be permanently rectified if the basement is raised above the water table. Raising your house for flood protection can also reduce flood insurance rates.

• House-raising can balance excessive settling.

• House-raising can be done to move and rotate a building for aesthetic purposes. For example, building structures are rotated to avoid the unpleasant noise of nearby highways. Houses can also be raised (rotated) to fine-tune where and when the different parts of the house will receive sunlight.

If a homeowner decides to raise his/her building (either by contracting a professional or by himself/herself) he needs to do further considerations so as to ensure the work is/was successfully done. Considerations such as ensuring the condition of the foundation is carefully assessed to see if it is in good shape or if it is cracked. If it is cracked, then you might need to fix it before your house can be raised. A homeowner should hire a professional to check for signs that the raising process didn’t degrade the structural integrity of the house. He\/she should anticipate the kind of impact that raising the house will have in the neighborhood. For example, street parking might be halted temporarily while house-raising is taking place.

You have to check on height restrictions before doing house-raising. You can ponder on questions like, do my building plans exceed the height restrictions set by the authorities? A municipal inspector may be required to confirm this and approve the work. The homeowner should also make sure that items in the property that can be moved, such as furniture, be taken out of the structure until the house-raising is completed. Finally, before beginning the raising process be sure to shut off and disconnect the power, gas and all electrical connections in the structure.

How House-raising is done

House-raising is a very hefty task, as all utilities must be disconnected and later reconnected. Truckloads of dirt need to be excavated, and new concrete walls need to be built. The actual lifting or raising of the house involves using hydraulic jacks and long steel I-beams. It is possible to lift a house speedily, although, in some situations, like trying to avoid damage to drywall, a building might be raised by 1\/8-inch per day.

A homeowner can pay about $10,000 to raise a 1,200-square-foot building by a few feet. Older structures may present a challenge when it comes to lifting, as they weigh more and because they are made with sturdier wood and plaster construction. After the raising is done, the building is temporarily suspended above its foundation for as long as the project takes with the aid of a steel beam and wooden cribs.

How you can raise your house by yourself with house leveling jacks

If your home is sagging or becomes uneven as a result of sinking foundations, you can use a jack to lift or raise it back up to level. All you need to do is to look for the area where the sagging beams are and bring them to the right level with a hydraulic jack, many of which can hold up hundreds of tons and concrete support pillars. After putting your house on the right level, what’s left to do is to put the concrete pillars beneath the beams to keep the raise in place.

Then get below your building and find the support beams that help hold up the structure. If the foundation of your property is sinking then, you should jack up or raise the sinking side. Then look for the bowed beams that are submerged lower than their compatriots, or for places where a sinking floor above might mean a problem beam below.

The next step is to place the hydraulic jack underneath the sinking beam. Then jack up the beam till the house is level. Using other, non-sagging beams is ideal as they can bring all of you house’s beams back to a level arrangement. Make sure you jack the affected beam up slowly and in a way that it gradually readjusts and becomes level again. In a case where it is multiple beams that need attention, you should use multiple jacks simultaneously.

Next, you need to place a concrete pylon underneath the beam so that the newly arrived level remains when the hydraulic jack is eventually removed. These pylons act as spacers that need to fit into the gap created underneath the beam. Finally, place the pylon at a point that is near the hydraulic jack, and centered on the beam so that after the hydraulic jack is taken out the pylon will carry the weight that the it was holding up.

House Leveling Process New Orleans

No matter how professional the foundation of a house is, it still has the tendency to settle after some years. It is rare but not impossible to also see new houses settling or experiencing some movement of foundation.

The pattern of house settling is one in which a house foundation or floor sinks or slopes the center. Surely nobody wants a house such as this as it can be a serious inconvenience and even a pressing danger for homeowners. Selling such a house could also prove to be problematic as people seeking to buy property will hardly, if ever, pick up such a property because of the dangers involved in living in the house as is, or the extra costs involved in leveling the house.

When a decision is finally made to fix the problem by engaging in the house leveling process, it has to be decided whether the homeowner should undertake the house leveling himself or give the job out to a professional contractor.

First off, can house leveling even be performed by a regular homeowner who is an amateur in building and construction? Obviously, house leveling is not garden pruning or lightbulb fixing but yes, it is possible for a homeowner to level his house himself. It’s also obvious that this type of endeavor should not be attempted without requisite experience because unfortunately, there is no room (pun intended) for trial and error.

The actual work of house leveling may be challenging but there are still bigger issues like knowing the details of home construction, understanding how weight is distributed in a house and having the right equipment on the ground and on standby in the eventuality of a mishap. An inadequate supply of any of the above can result in being trapped for a long stretch under a collapsed building or even death.

Based on your level of experience and your knowledge of the dangers involved, you can make an informed decision on who should perform the house leveling of your home and which will be more beneficial for both you and your house. (Note that in most states, a homeowner without certain licenses for special construction jobs can still perform them on his house as long as it is only used as a personal property and not rented out).

So how exactly is the process of house leveling carried out?
The process starts with assessing the structure of the building and as such a Structural Engineer should be consulted whether the leveling is being done by the homeowner or the contractor. Usually, contractors for house leveling (who specialize in foundations, underground areas, basements and crawlspaces) have trainings in Structural Engineering and so this moves the process along quickly. Assessing the structure is important because simply going to straight to work could complicate the problem at hand.

The slope of the house has to be accurately measured so that the exact distance the house is to be jacked up by is known from the onset. The distance of the slope can be determined by laser level, water level or by simply using a taut string.

Using concrete or wooden blocks, a temporary post, located on firm and stable ground is erected under the house flooring at the lowest point. To improve the stability of the blocks, they are alternated horizontally and vertically on each other.

At this point, one of the most essential tools of the whole exercise comes in: the jack. By jack, we are not referring to ordinary hydraulic jacks; they are simply unfit for the job. Even the toughest automotive jack in any auto shop or garage will simply be crushed under the weight of a regular-sized home and will be unable to lift the house. The jack used is a special house leveling jack: most are screw jacks but a few are also hydraulic jacks.

The most commonly used is a 20-ton special house leveling jack although some contractors use a 40-ton jack because of the extra power and the fact that the 40-ton jack costs only a fraction more than the 20-ton jack. These jacks are usually purchased instead of rented because the job takes quite a number of days, with the rent usually sky-high and it makes more economic sense to purchase the jack than to rent it. Also, depending on the arrangement you have with your contractor, multiple jacks are advisable for it makes the process easier.

The jack is inserted between the temporary post and the floor and the lifting begins. The area underneath is checked for weak areas or soft spots to ensure that the jack does not shift during lifting. As the floor goes up, smaller blocks are added to give the center of the house better support at its changing levels of elevation.

When the lowest point reaches the level of the next lowest point, the jack is removed and allowed to rest on the erected temporary post. At this point, problems caused by the heaving of the house are checked (for example crumbling plaster and drywall or sheetrock cracks), to be addressed before moving on to the next lowest point.

At the next lowest point, the process is repeated: a temporary post is erected, the jack inserted and the floor of the house raised to the next highest point again. This is done multiple times especially if the floor did not take on a straight slope or took on multiple slopes.

Some time is usually given to the house to settle after each small lift before moving on.

At the end of the process, when the floor of the house is completely level and is in no danger of toppling from the temporary posts, permanent posts are then put in. The supports previously used in the house can still be reused if they are examined and show no form of decay or any other deterioration. The center of the house can then be reinforced to prevent future sloping by cutting of the top of the center supports and then inserting a beam on them.

Foundation Repair Guide New Orleans

Foundation Repair Resources
If you’re a Baton Rouge-area homeowner you likely are accustomed to caring for your beautiful house. The city is known as a historically important one in the state of Louisiana. Although the aesthetics are important, your home’s security starts with its foundation. The foundation is the strength of the house. If you’re looking for information on keeping it in tip top shape, this is the Foundation Repair Guide you need.

First of all, consider that your house’s foundation supports your life. That is not an overstatement because your house is where you valuable items are. Furniture, electronics, appliances all find their way under your roof and cost thousands. Beyond “things”, your house protects your family. Sure you can replace things, but your family is the major concern.

Any homeowner knows that protecting what is in the house starts with a healthy foundation. There is a lot of stress on it too. Consider how much it holds- the full weight of the beams, furniture, people, vehicles, windows, doors, etc. All these items are piled on the foundation. On top of that, the elements hit the foundation and that can be the start of disaster. Over time, these environmental stresses can cause settling, shifting and\/or cracking.

It is estimated that about $4-billion is spent annually to repair foundations. Locations in Louisiana are no different. Baton Rouge foundation repair and Covington foundation repair costs are equally high as compared to the overall market. Part of the problem is that homeowners rarely see the initial signs of a faulty foundation. Remember that foundation repair normally comes from years and years of damage. It may be ten years before a foundation problem is visually apparent to the untrained eye.

Even though as a homeowner you aren’t an expert, you can still take layman’s precautions to ensure a healthy foundation lasts. Here are some guidelines when it comes to Baton Rouge foundation repair and Covington foundation repair.

New Orleans Foundation Repair
In particular older homes are known to have structural issues. Again- this is just because of consistent abuse from the environment over the course of decades of time. If you live in an older home you likely have become accustomed to that floorboard that makes a popping sound when someone steps on it. You have come to enjoy the one step going down to the basement that squeaks when someone steps on the right corner edge. Not all noises are cause for concern, but some can be. Remember that damage can be subtle and take a long time to truly show itself.

Another, and more definitive, sign to watch is a crack. Cracks are almost never negligible. There is a reason why they show up. Sure at times they can be the result of a faulty drywall installer and nothing more, but that’s highly unlikely. Usually a crack is the most telling sign of a Baton Rouge foundation repair or a Covington foundation repair need. Your best bet if you see a crack is to get a few professional opinions right away.

When it comes to knowing the signs of a foundation repair, there are some clear ones that are going to point you to an expert. Here are some signs to watch out for:

1) Cracking in your chimney. Poor drainage can cause a chimney to crack or lean. Either one is not good.

2) Cracked walls. A cracked walls is a sign that you need a professional to assess the issue. Again- it could be something simple like a misplaced drywall sheet, but what if it isn’t? You want to get it taken care of as soon as possible.

3) Sagging floors. Anytime you see warped or sagged floors, get a professional to at least look at the issue.

4) Jamming doors\/uneven door frames. This may be the single-most telltale sign of problems to come. A door that shifted and is jamming or showing signs of unevenness is likely the victim of a foundation issue.

5) Water issues. If you have a bad drainage system, that could mean disaster for your foundation. You want water to be directed away from your home. If that isn’t happening, it can slowly eat away at your foundation over years and years of abuse.

Who is Affected

Some people mistakenly believe that if they don’t have a slab foundation, then they are immune from problems with their foundations. The reality is that a slab foundation, full- or half-basement or crawl space can all be victims to the environment. Regardless of which type of foundation you have, be sure to do a yearly assessment of interior and exterior tells.

You want to look at leaks, moisture issues, cracks, warping, unevenness, bowing, jamming doors, cabinets that aren’t hanging right, windows that may have shifted and doors that don’t fit right anymore. These are all signs that you may be in need of Baton Rouge foundation repair or Covington foundation repair company.

A good tip is to take pictures of any issues you may see. That way, when you do another assessment 6-months to a year or more down the road, you have something to compare. You can clearly see any more damage and act accordingly.