After weeks (and weeks) of tearing things apart, the time has finally arrived to start putting the house back together. Since this is a significant expansion, including a new second story, prepping the new foundation is vital.
Before we talk about the new foundation, a few words about the old one. Our house was originally built on a pier system. If you’re wondering what that is, here is a quick explanation. That was a common practice for Craftsman-style bungalows in our area. Sometime along the way, a stem wall was poured to connect the piers around the perimeter of the house. We are going to stick with this system, but it will obviously require some improvements and repairs.
Step 1: Remove piers and stem wall sections
Several piers and sections of stem wall had to go to make way for new ones. Basically, this required actually removing part of the system that was holding up the house. To say the least, careful planning was necessary.
We started by identifying and marking what needed to be taken out. Then we needed to lift the house off the supports that were going away. That involved a 20 ton bottle jack (Thank you very much, Harbor Freight) and some concrete blocks. Since the house had settled a bit over the last almost hundred years, we also took the opportunity to start the process of bringing everything back to level.
Once we knew what had to go and the house was stable, it was time to break out the big saw!
After (a lot) of digging, cutting and hauling, here’s what we ended up with.
Step 2: Mark out and dig new footers
Once we had cleared the necessary space, it was time to start making the plans for the new footers. To do this, we had to mark out the location of each one and dig to the appropriate depth. Considering that some footers are 6 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 2 feet deep, this took a while! To make this process even more fun, several footers are located under the house, which required dirt to be hauled out bucket by bucket. If we are ever crazy enough to take on another project like this, we will be sure to hire this job out!
In order to mark the locations, we started by using the structural plans to locate the center of each post that will rest on the new footers. Once we had those points, we measured out from the center to whatever dimensions each footer required and marked it on the ground. You can guess what came next. Dig!
Unfortunately, thanks to Florida sand, we ended up with a cave-in here and there, but eventually the site was filled with holes like this. (Trust us when we say, watch where you step. Otherwise, this happens.)
Our next post will detail the other steps necessary for prepping the new foundation.