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I'm currently jacking the center "main girder" of an old house (circa 1910), and the girder just popped on me after a slight raise. (Actually it sounded like a gunshot, and there was a horizontal stress crack in one of the 3 sistered 2 X 12's that comprise the girder.) I've been using 20 ton hydraulic jacks to raise the girder slightly at 4 different points along the length, then using a screw type steel support column to crank up and raise the column tight.

I'm thinking I might have reached that proverbial stopping point, but I'm still 1/2 inch away from level. I realize the boards have a memory after 95 years and have dried out significantly, but I'm sooooooo close. I have taken up about a 2 inch drop over a 3 month period (a crank or two a day), and the drop was thanks to 4 locust post being set directly on a dirt basement floor when the house was originally built.

This is my first job of this type, and despite the creeking of wood and plaster cracks - I've been unafraid until now. I have spoken with several contractors who have said that I'll never get it perfectly level, and that I would know when to stop instinctively. Should I stop, or quit being such a chicken? What to do?
 

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Sounds to me like you are doing everything right. I have only done a few homes and mostly do decks and porches. I have learned to go slightly past level to allow for the settling when the pressure is backed off. I've had a few 2X's split and because they go in linear shear they can really make a racket especially one that is really dryed out.
You're going slow which is good, gives me time to check with my neighbor. He owns Brownie Moving and Heavy Hauling and the Moving part is not what you're thinking. He cut an old Misner house into three pieces and moved it from Palm Beach to Ft. Pierce, about 40 miles. His sons are 4th generation in the business.
 

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If it's your home and you want to get level, set adjustable steel poles and lift it a little each month over the summmer, it will go.

I've found that old balloon frames are very forgiving, if you don't mind a little plaster work.

Bob
 

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jacking up your beam

I'm currently jacking the center "main girder" of an old house (circa 1910), and the girder just popped on me after a slight raise. (Actually it sounded like a gunshot, and there was a horizontal stress crack in one of the 3 sistered 2 X 12's that comprise the girder.) I've been using 20 ton hydraulic jacks to raise the girder slightly at 4 different points along the length, then using a screw type steel support column to crank up and raise the column tight.

I'm thinking I might have reached that proverbial stopping point, but I'm still 1/2 inch away from level. I realize the boards have a memory after 95 years and have dried out significantly, but I'm sooooooo close. I have taken up about a 2 inch drop over a 3 month period (a crank or two a day), and the drop was thanks to 4 locust post being set directly on a dirt basement floor when the house was originally built.

This is my first job of this type, and despite the creeking of wood and plaster cracks - I've been unafraid until now. I have spoken with several contractors who have said that I'll never get it perfectly level, and that I would know when to stop instinctively. Should I stop, or quit being such a chicken? What to do?
What i normally do is set up a lazer and then take readings under the center beam to see how far things are out of whack .You can do it withs several blocks and a string also , but i like the self leveling lazer better for my self .I have found in my past experience that homes will go up if you use care and move slowly over time,and i have also noticed that at some point you start to get resistance when cranking the jack(screw jacks in my case)and my theory on the resistance is that you are doing one of 2 things at that point.Either getting resistance from plumbing pipes or maybe even gas pipes for that matter, or, you have reached the point where now the floor will be begining to buckle upwards slightly so poping may ocurr .Best to let the beam set a couple days so the house can catch up and after that if you still get bad resistance my advice would be to stop there unless you know for sure that no pipes are being stressed.
big jax
 

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If ya cant go up anymore, maybe jack up the supports that "have not" settled and cut what you need off of them to bring that part of the house lower and thus maybe level. This works when the foundation has sunk.
Might work for ya, or someone eles.

Dave
 

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