Une Petite Maison - Foundation Work / by J.C. Schmeil

Foundation work started last Tuesday.  A crew from Douglas Foundation Repair showed up early and started by removing the skirting around the base of the house, so that they would have access to the crawl space.

When the house was built around 1935, the typical foundation consisted of cedar tree trunk piers.  Cedar is weather and rot-resistant, and a plentiful building material in Central Texas, and these cedar piers have done the job for almost eighty years.  These days, however, cedar piers are not recommended and it's a good idea to replace them with concrete piers, especially if the house will be under additional loading from a second story.

The workers used heavy-duty jacks to lift the house incrementally and level it to its original state.  One corner of the dining room was 3" lower than the corner diagonally opposite, but after leveling it doesn't feel like a "fun house" anymore.  Wood block cribbing was placed under the beams to support the weight of the house as the piers were excavated and removed.  The crawl space under the house is pretty tight, and there is probably less than 12" between the bottom of framing and grade at the back of the house.  The guys had to tunnel toward the back in order to have access to the piers.  New holes were dug for the 24"x24"x12" concrete footings to support the concrete piers.

Despite cedar's durability, most of the piers had experienced some rotting (especially the portions below grade).  The northwest corner of the house also had some damage to the wood beams due to a leaky hose bibb.

Next the workers set cardboard "sonotube" forms on top of the concrete footings.  The footings had rebar extending vertically to tie into the piers.  The cardboard tubes were filled with concrete and the new foundation is in place!  Note the shiny new hose bibb that has replaced the leaky culprit...

Sometime this week the guys will come back to remove the cardboard forms and the cribbing.  Demolition has begun!

More to come soon...