Latest Discussions : Basement & Foundation


08:24AM | 05/13/04
Member Since: 05/12/04
3 lifetime posts

I am new on the forum and have a big job ahead of me. I have a 2 car garage and the support in the center is sinking. If you can lend me any advice on what to do I would greatly appreciate it. Since it is hard to post a huge message and pictures on a forum I made a web site. Please view it and send you reply.



02:55AM | 05/14/04
Member Since: 01/14/03
264 lifetime posts
If the problem resides at the bottom of the center support, it may be that there is insufficient subsurface support for the maybe not concrete pier or foundation underneath it...or insufficient at the least. Remedying that situation will require temporary support inside the garage, and maybe temporary removal of the doors to accomplish that. The slabs around the support post will have to be sawcut so that some concrete can be removed to gain access to the support post for inspection and repair. And then, if there is little or insufficient pier or foundation below the post, that will have to be added. Whether or not the center support post will require removal and/or replacement will depend on its condition. All of this is a little more than should be tackled by the homeowner unless he has extensive construction experience.

This is a place where you don't want to skimp on the repair. Money would be well spent to fix it professionally.

If money isn't available for the repair at this time, then the next best thing to do would be to forget about using the garage for parking, have the house jacked and leveled from within the garage and temporary supports constructed to present further sinking. Again, this would be best accomplished by someone who knows what they're doing... First because they have the tools and the knowledge on how to lift and support the structure...and second because they can best establish the temporary support where it won't be in the way when the final fix can be bought and paid for.


11:32AM | 05/17/04
Member Since: 05/12/04
3 lifetime posts
Any other advice on this?


07:35AM | 05/18/04
Member Since: 07/01/03
549 lifetime posts
The center column is clearly lacking an adequate footer. The quick solution is to temporarily shore the beam on both sides using posts and jacks, remove the center post and dig a large foundation footer. I recommend an engineer review the plan, but a rough estimate is you need a foother at least 24 x 24 x 12 inches deep with steel reinforcement and J-hook anchors to hold down a 2x8 sill plate. A replacement center column would be placed on this footer and sill plate, centered on the beam. The replacement column should be at least a solid 4x6, not individual boards.

For a nominal cost you could have an engineer evaluate this issue and draft plans that would quickly go through the permitting process. There is no way that we can look at the information provided and give definitive design and structural advice. Local soil, seismic, frost and other code and load issues remain unknown. The wall is also inherently weak from a bracing point of view for lateral movements.

I believe you can DIY this project, but you definitely need an expert to evaluate the loading and make recommendations on footer and column sizes, and to render a foundation and possibly header detail to follow when building. Ask your building department for referrals to engineers that have previously approved plans in your area. Don't just guess, or take my guess or anyone elses on the internet. This column supports a significant part of your house and deserves the $300 to $500 it will take to get expert help.

Glenn Good

05:54AM | 05/20/04
Member Since: 09/10/03
314 lifetime posts
First I would like to thank tomh for pointing out that this problem can not be solved over the internet and an expert should be consulted on site.

While tomh's description of a possible problem and repair is accurate he said another important thing: The sub grade below the concrete footer must also be checked. It must not contain excess moisture or be of a soft or plastic nature. A 1/2" steel probe pushed into the ground should not penetrate deeper than about 1" or the sub grade may need to be dug deeper to reach solid bearing. Even if the concrete footer is in good shape a poor sub grade condition can also be responsible for settlement.

Seek professional assistance from an engineer or general contractor licensed in your state for the design loads and requirements before you begin. Also be sure to check your local building codes or ask a building inspector for your local code requirements.


(Moderator for Construction Systems, Foundations, and Masonry and Stone forums)


07:56AM | 05/21/04
Member Since: 03/06/04
10 lifetime posts
You need to remember that the foundation does not support the house (I know that sounds like a strange statement). The foundation transmitts concentrated building loads to the soils. It is the soils that support the house. There is a wide variability in the ability of soils to support loads without the soils moving. That is why foundations come in all shapes and styles. The foundation has to spread the building loads out (reduce the pressure - pounds per square foot) so the soils can with support the loads without shifting.


10:48AM | 05/21/04
Member Since: 05/12/04
3 lifetime posts
What do you guys think the chances are of me being able to use one beam all the way across with it only being able to be about 10" wide so that it doesn't take up more clearance? The distance it would have to span is about 18'-19'.

A structural engineer I assume needs to figure out the load per sq foot with my type of house so what would it be approximately for a house like mine which is a raised ranch with the bedrooms above the garage (see my web site pics - link above)? How do they come up with the estimates? Is it regulated by the village or their approximation?

Since there is a steal beam going across the middle of the garage already they just make the front one I will replace required to take 1/2 the weight of that 1/2 of the house (since beam in middle now) which would be about 1/4 of the load right? As long as the beam is rated for more than this then it is ok?

I am sure there is more to it than this and they need to make sure that the footers presently there can handle the weight as well so how do they go about figuring this out when they can't see it in the ground?

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