Sunday, March 14, 2010

...And we are all still alive.

This weekend was probably the most in depth project that has been undertaken and hopefully any following will be less dangerous. With the aid of Doug, Lynch, and Amber the addition of the house was stripped of windows and then jacked up half an inch allowing for the rotting uprights to be sawed out and replaced with built up 2x6 columns. While this reads like a small feat on paper is truly epic in person. With four clashing personalities and of course the potential for half a house (literally) to fall on us if done incorrectly. The placing of the header beams for the the jacks and the physical raising of the house is not an experience that I would like to repeat in the near future. I am glad that I did not have an idea of how poorly the porch was supported prior to getting into the jacking. Even if the original posts were completely rigid, plum, and new, there were only about half as many as should be required for the spans they were covering. Once the first one came out though when the secondary bracing was in made everyone stop and consider what in fact was holding the house up. Half of the post was rotted to to the point where it had the strength of a sponge and the remaining part was lending itself to be the habitat of thousands of carpenter ants. What it came down to is that maybe, (and I mean maybe, because they were not resting on the foundation but on floorboards) four 2x4's were holding up the sun room. It does explain why the second floor has been sagging so much though. We used two pressure treated 4"x6"x12' beams as headers for the jacking posts and while Lynch and myself braced them in the air Amber and Doug screwed the posts into place and plumbed them. The most nerve racking point of the day though was when the jacks were put under full loading, the 4x6 held next to my face was forced out of a two and a half inch bow. This cause a good deal of argument from all sides, the beams, floor joists, columns, and of course between the four of us. (Well...more of me overstepping my bounds and yelling a lot) The house did get raised though and every new column that went in the chances of the floor above crashing down became less. When the jacks were removed as it turns out there was very little pressure on them, because every post that was put in was hammered into place. So, despite the volume of our (my) foul mouthed swearing at each other (everyone else)...we did not dislodge, hit, or knock out any of the supports, bring down a house, or physically injure anyone significantly. With that said it was a soaring success of a weekend and I greatly appreciate that Doug, Amber and Lynch, put up with working with me on this project because it was not easy.

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