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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My business partners and I acquired a small 2 story platform framed home via a tax sale. It's a basic rectangle, about 34x20. Once inside (after the sale of course) we found the entire first floor only has a six and half foot high wall to the ceiling. Before I go talk to the architect we use (and the local inspector) I'd like to get a little smarter about options and would like to know what ya'll think about this:

If we got really crazy, (and felt rich), we might like to raise the entire house, build a new floor on the existing foundation, add a short stick built wall with top plate under the raised-up existing structure, and then set the whole thing back down on the new short wall. We'd re-use the hardwood floor and save the old salvagable joists for re-use in an addition, which we're thinking of adding onto the back.

We know this would cost a bunch, but we'll be tearing into the walls under several windows to deal with some moisture problems anyway. What do ya'll think of the concept?

Thanks for the thoughts...
 

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Curmudgeon
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Are you sure it isn't a framed
drop ceiling?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies,

Neolitic, yes, we're sure. I think I mentioned this is a two story place. The ceiling, joists and second story floor are all conventional except that the damn walls were so short on level #1, don't ask me why.

Bob, would it be stronger? I think a structural engineer would have to tell us how to put it together and even then you may very well be correct. Would it be less expensive? Depends whether one measures just the money for hiring a pro house mover with modern equipment versus the time, sweat, and risk of using 19th century tools to jack it ourselves. The place itself is very nice except for the poorly wrapped windows that leaked into the ((stupidly short)) walls on the ground floor. Otherwise, the place is very nice and we hope to preserve its visual impact on the old neighborhood. But those are indeed the concerns.

Anyone else?
 

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umm

am i crazy to think no engineer or inspector is ever going to let you set one set of walls on a shorter set of walls?

Is the house on a crawl space? if so could you pour a bigger footing along the inside of the foundation wall, build some knee walls and lower your floor? but then again if its sitting on the floor system you would still some how have to lower the wall onto the foundation.....

Hmm

Youre screwed....either keep the short walls or go with Bob's idea
 

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The challenge is going to be getting the upper and lower walls tied together in a way that doesn't require a hinge. That's likely going to require some of the framing to run through continuously from the top plate to the bottom plate- combined with replacing the stuff that's moisture damaged, you may not have much of the existing wall framing left.

In order to do what you're talking about doing, you'd actually have to hold the house up at the ceiling level, not the floor level like most house-jacking, since you're looking to replace the floor and lengthen the walls. That'll make for some tall cribbing towers, and also place loads on the ceiling joists that they aren't meant to take- you'll run the risk of folding the ceiling joists right up into the attic and having the rafters spread flat and drop.

I'm just thinking that if the house is as old as it sounds like it is, you've got nothing left to save other than some ceiling joists and roof rafters- the roof sheathing is probably 1/2 rotten as well. If you're concerned about salvaging material, strip the roof and sheathing, de-construct the roof, and then lose the walls and floor. Once you've framed the new floor and walls, you can re-use the existing ceiling and roof members, provided that they'll meet modern code and that they're grade stamped- the building inspector won't likely accept them otherwise. It's likely that they won't let you re-use the joists in the addition either if they're not grade stamped.
 

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Curmudgeon
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The challenge is going to be getting the upper and lower walls tied together in a way that doesn't require a hinge. That's likely going to require some of the framing to run through continuously from the top plate to the bottom plate- combined with replacing the stuff that's moisture damaged, you may not have much of the existing wall framing left.

In order to do what you're talking about doing, you'd actually have to hold the house up at the ceiling level, not the floor level like most house-jacking, since you're looking to replace the floor and lengthen the walls. That'll make for some tall cribbing towers, and also place loads on the ceiling joists that they aren't meant to take- you'll run the risk of folding the ceiling joists right up into the attic and having the rafters spread flat and drop.

I'm just thinking that if the house is as old as it sounds like it is, you've got nothing left to save other than some ceiling joists and roof rafters- the roof sheathing is probably 1/2 rotten as well. If you're concerned about salvaging material, strip the roof and sheathing, de-construct the roof, and then lose the walls and floor. Once you've framed the new floor and walls, you can re-use the existing ceiling and roof members, provided that they'll meet modern code and that they're grade stamped- the building inspector won't likely accept them otherwise. It's likely that they won't let you re-use the joists in the addition either if they're not grade stamped.

Bob, I think you missed something....:laughing:
LetItBeLEED said:
Neolitic, yes, we're sure. I think I mentioned this is a two story place. The ceiling, joists and second story floor are all conventional except that the damn walls were so short on level #1, don't ask me why.
He'd be jacking floor joist from floor joist. :thumbsup:
Agreed though, the hinge thing is it.
Depending on openings new king studs,
or more like posts, and continuous studs
at leads and corners might be enough
to over come that.
Still would want an engineer to sign off on
any plan like that.
But then there is the matching of siding,
and interior, and....
Is this some historic gem?
 

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You could possibly pick the second floor with a boom. I picked a 20x28 framed story and a half with a gambrel and set it on a full basement. It cost about 7 grand...and that was here in alaska and fairly remote so there were mobe costs.

You'd likely need a 30 ton crane minimum...because of the reach requirements.
 

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Bob, I think you missed something....:laughing:
Oops- yeah, must have missed that. Makes the project more feasible, but still costly. I'd say it depends on how well the layout on the 2nd floor works- if you're going to end up going in and re-configuring the whole place, moving windows, etc., there's not going to much left to salvage. If you're leaving it pretty much intact upstairs, that's a different story.

BTW- you mentioned that you bought the house with your "business partners", so this becomes less of a labor-of-love kind of deal, and probably reverts back to "how can we make the greatest return", so that's going to factor in as well. A quick pushover may be much faster, cheaper, and result in a better end product in the long run.
 

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Curmudgeon
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There would need to be some
very compelling reason to save it,
and some very under valued labor, IMO. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Mic, the crane for saving the 2nd story is an interesting idea but a no-go since the parcel is accessed across a private bridge on a small stream and I'm pretty certain it couldn't support anything so big.

Bob and Neo... the place was built circa 1910 and thoroughly remodeled maybe 15 years ago. That work was well done except for the short walls and the window sill water damage on a few windows. We'll get with our achitect buddy over beers to get his off the cuff thought on joinging the old bottom plate to the top of a stub wall and go from there.
 

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KemoSabe
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According to door and window elevations, I would be inclined to cut a few holes through the walls and seperate the second floor by sliding through some steel I-beams and cribbing up to them, then jack the second floor and roof high enough to run 3 1/2 x 12 LVLs around the perimeter and on top of bearing partitions, leaving out enough room to lose the I-beams. You may want to stack a couple plates on first floor walls first to allow for standard door heights before setting the LVLs.This still wont give you an 8' ceiling, but going taller with LVLs would be hairy. Once the I-beams are gone, stack LVLs on top of interior walls and lag bolt through the perimeter to prevent rolling of the primary LVLs. It will go much faster than using pony walls and will resist rolling much better.
All first floor studs and second floor joists should be strapped to the LVLs to prevent uplift.
Make sure you get an engineered design before moving forward with any approach you decide to go with.
Don't forget to make provisions for a compliant staircase to second floor.
 

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When do we get to learn your location?

My last lift was $6000 for a 24x46 home. Yours should be much less expensive, but if you don't put your location in your profile it is difficult to say.

Lift it up and dig out a basement underneath it. Include any space for additions, porches, garage, etc. Try to make it a walk-out if possible.

Make the basement walls higher than you want your basement ceiling by the amount you want to raise your first floor ceiling. Put in a brick ledge on the inside to put your new floor joists on. Put a brick ledge on the outside for your brick veneer.

Drop house, put in new floor, tear out old floor, brick up outside as high as you want or not at all.
 

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Just brainstorming, save the expense of the lift. Cut out the floor from the inside of the walls and reframe your floor into the crawl space with joist hangers hanging on the concrete stem wall.
 

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...............Bob and Neo... the place was built circa 1910 and thoroughly remodeled maybe 15 years ago. ......
Just brainstorming, save the expense of the lift. Cut out the floor from the inside of the walls and reframe your floor into the crawl space with joist hangers hanging on the concrete stem wall.
Ya think?
 

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Curmudgeon
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It would be interesting if LetItBeLEED
could let us know whether the site
lends itself to cutting the grade by
30" or so, or if an entryway 30"
below grade would work out for him?
Seems as though that's what the "drop
the floor" options would call for.
 

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It would be interesting if LetItBeLEED
could let us know whether the site
lends itself to cutting the grade by
30" or so, or if an entryway 30"
below grade would work out for him?
Seems as though that's what the "drop
the floor" options would call for.
Are you saying to drop the grade in the basement 30" ? If so, you would have to underpin the entire foundation because your exposing the existing footings and going lower then them.
 
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