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Old 02-14-2011, 08:36 PM   #1
numbah9
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Default Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

I have a garage, approximately 20x20 and built somewhere between 1920-1940, which is in a bit of disrepair. Considering it's age, it's doing quite well, but there are some issues. The concrete pad is pretty well FUBAR. There are large cracks in some places, and small amounts of the concrete are crumbling. Also, the sills don't appear to be pressure-treated wood, and consequently some of them have rotted slightly. Last but not least, one of the walls is bowing very slightly due to the sills' lack of integrity, though it's only a couple of degrees.

Anyway, I've wanted to tear it down and totally start over for quite some time. However, upon a closer inspection, that seems like a waste. The asphalt shingled roof is fine (doesn't leak a drop) and the lumber except for a few sills is great. The building is balloon construction, not trussed. The concrete has got to go, though, as it's beyond fixable and I don't want to lay a fresh pad on top of it.

One of my wife's friends is in Construction, and was remarking to me that jacking the structure up would actually be quite simple. That way, we could jack it up and both replace the concrete pad and fix the sills at the same time. We'd demolish the old pad, haul the crap away, put down aggregate and then have a truck pour a new pad. Then we could put in new sills and essentially attach them to the old structure.

This helps a lot because of code -- my setback is way too small, and I would have to move it about 10 feet in two directions if I knocked it down!

Anyway, although our friend certainly doesn't seem cavalier or inexperienced, I'm the type of person that researches something to death before jumping in. Besides, there's still tons of snow on the ground, so I'd have to wait until spring anyway.

So: how hard is it to jack up a building? We would need 2x4s or 2x6s for some additional bracing of the structure in places, but is it really as easy as it seems to sound? The impression I got was that, while care has to be taken, it's nowhere near as bad as it sounds. I'll take photos tomorrow so y'all can see what I mean about the existing structure.

Who here has tried it? I tried searching but only came up with a couple of results and they didn't really fit my needs. Thanks!
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

IT is a pretty straight foward job. just plan carefully and brace it good BEFORE jacking it up.
make sure to not take it any higher then you need to and once up --make sure it is set firmly before breaking the concrete out.
once the concrete work is done THEN replace the sills with treated sills/ install a termite barrier on top of the concrete walls and set it back down--then fasten it firmly in place. by the way--now would be the time to make the garage TALLER inside if your wanting to--by adding more ht to the side walls-- either in the wood part or taller concrete walls
?????? just ask ---LIVELY [ YES -I HAVE DONE THIS ALOT!!]
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

There is a real, real good thread about this very thing on here from within the last several months. Guy pulled off a miracle. I'll see if I can find it.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

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Originally Posted by LIVELY View Post
IT is a pretty straight foward job. just plan carefully and brace it good BEFORE jacking it up.
make sure to not take it any higher then you need to and once up --make sure it is set firmly before breaking the concrete out.
once the concrete work is done THEN replace the sills with treated sills/ install a termite barrier on top of the concrete walls and set it back down--then fasten it firmly in place. by the way--now would be the time to make the garage TALLER inside if your wanting to--by adding more ht to the side walls-- either in the wood part or taller concrete walls
?????? just ask ---LIVELY [ YES -I HAVE DONE THIS ALOT!!]
Thanks Lively! When my buddy was here he was quick to point out what would need to be braced (some of the roof supports as I mentioned) so it seems he has a pretty good handle on it.

I'll take some photos tomorrow and post them up, because to someone like you I think it'll be obvious where we need additional support. I don't think I want to add more height, but I would like to be able to put some kind of flooring down to make an "upstairs" part -- just enough to be able to store stuff; boxes etc. Is that usually a difficult modification?
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

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There is a real, real good thread about this very thing on here from within the last several months. Guy pulled off a miracle. I'll see if I can find it.
I just searched again: was it this one? It was a terribly impressive read, but he was more about pulling it "across" to straighten things up than pulling it "up" like I feel I need to.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

Aye, matey, that thar be the one.

It's just another option to consider. I have no idea whether it would be better for you to pull across or jack up. You mention the sills are only slightly rotted in places. How slight do you mean? What is your budget, and is your builder buddy's method going to get you where you need to be while living by that budget?

On my leaning old garage, I had my builder pull it out of its lean and then brace it. I pounded the old floor up by myself in about an hour or two with a sledge, then hauled away the chunks to a debris pile on my back forty. I just put in an aggregate floor for reasons of simplicity and cost. It's just a storage garage, not a working space.

There are a lot of ways to tackle these problems. Whatever you do, you are obligated to start a thread with pictures and notify me of it! I love seeing old structures rehabilitated.

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Originally Posted by numbah9 View Post
I just searched again: was it this one? It was a terribly impressive read, but he was more about pulling it "across" to straighten things up than pulling it "up" like I feel I need to.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

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Aye, matey, that thar be the one.

It's just another option to consider. I have no idea whether it would be better for you to pull across or jack up. You mention the sills are only slightly rotted in places. How slight do you mean? What is your budget, and is your builder buddy's method going to get you where you need to be while living by that budget?

On my leaning old garage, I had my builder pull it out of its lean and then brace it. I pounded the old floor up by myself in about an hour or two with a sledge, then hauled away the chunks to a debris pile on my back forty. I just put in an aggregate floor for reasons of simplicity and cost. It's just a storage garage, not a working space.

There are a lot of ways to tackle these problems. Whatever you do, you are obligated to start a thread with pictures and notify me of it! I love seeing old structures rehabilitated.
I'll get the pictures tomorrow morning.. ya Masshole

The sills really aren't that bad. If the building is 20x20 (that's rough) and there are 80 linear feet of sills, there's probably about 6 or 8 bad linear feet in the whole thing. (The garage has stuff in it, though, so I can't really see the back wall's sills real well. So there might be more, I guess.)

I haven't really got a budget yet, but for everything it's probably a few thousand bucks. I'll be doing all of the work myself, though, with my buddy helping out! We'd have new concrete poured by a truck but that's about it. He's got forms (and I've got lumber), so we'd finish it ourselves. And we can brace it, too, I think.

One thing that I'm not sure about is how to jack a building if you want to remove the floor at the same time. If I wanted to keep the existing pad, I could just jack it up with bottle jacks and keep it supported with lally columns. But, if I want to get rid of the floor, how am I supposed to do it?

I know what you feel about the rehabilitation part. I was actually really quite keen on starting new & knocking the old one over, but once I looked at the codes I realized that wasn't gonna fly. Then, I checked out the existing building, and discovered that the structure really was in pretty great shape considering its age. Sure, it needs new windows and doors, and a new pad, but other than that it's in great condition given how long it's been standing!
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

Why not look into having a crane company lift it off the pad and set it aside,if of course you have the space.If not,hammer out the pad,raise and support the building,then form new frost walls to make sure the rot does not reoccur,I would recommend they be at least 36" tall above grade to ensure no water will ever touch those wood sills.Set the building back down on its new foundation,and then pour your new slab.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

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Why not look into having a crane company lift it off the pad and set it aside,if of course you have the space.If not,hammer out the pad,raise and support the building,then form new frost walls to make sure the rot does not reoccur,I would recommend they be at least 36" tall above grade to ensure no water will ever touch those wood sills.Set the building back down on its new foundation,and then pour your new slab.
Don't have the space, unfortunately -- not even close. Will be putting a vapor barrier under the new pad, which I hope will mitigate future moisture issues.
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:01 AM   #10
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Default Re: Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

I've seen a few moves with skidsteers that size. My 12x16 shed was moves with two skidsteers with forks. You can get telepost (cellar post as some call them) and start jacking to remove the weight and work under what is there. If it is low enough it can be rolled on pipes. If it is braced enough, it can be scooted on plywood. Do a search on YouTune of "Moving Garages" http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...ng+garage&aq=2 One thing is, you ask 50 people, you are going to get at least 30 different answers. Braced correctly, a handful (huge handful) of helpers can pick it up and move it. One post I posted earlier last week showed 344 people moving a fullside wood barn by hand
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Old 02-15-2011, 08:33 AM   #11
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Default Re: Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

Have you thought about when he jacks up the garage have a small 2-3 block high stemwall laid then pour your concrete. That would 16"-24" height to your side walls and also it would keep your sill plates well up and away from the ground from future rotting etc. YMMV.
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Old 02-15-2011, 08:52 AM   #12
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Default Re: Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

I did this to a 22 X 30 foot garage 35 years ago. Was not too difficult. My dad and I used 8 16" bottle jacks. I still have them and would be happy to lend them to you if you were closer. You may need to construct a few beams to go through the building and jack from the outside, but that should be easy.
It is not a difficult thing to do. Good luck.
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Old 02-15-2011, 08:53 AM   #13
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Default Re: Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

I have done 3 older garages this way, went it and made sure the structure was stable enough to jack up
Jacked it up, did 3 block high sidewalls and dropped the building back down after replacing any rotted or termite infested wood
Pretty easy and straightforward job
If your friend knows what hes doing you got it made!
You can take a better bad looking building and make it look good in a weekend almost.
Even did a two story grainery on a farm I bought the same way
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:37 AM   #14
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Default Re: Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

I'd check to see if the original concrete was poured monolithic or the slab poured after the footings. If you can get the floor out without taking out the footings, you are way ahead of the game. Probably no rebar or mesh in pre war construction. AFA sills, they can be repaired in place with epoxy or replaced a side at a time.

BTW, there can't be 80' if there is a door.
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:56 AM   #15
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Default Re: Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

Since you're replacing the sills, I'd consider raising the height as well (make the walls taller) could be done with block or adding siding.
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Old 02-15-2011, 10:22 AM   #16
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Default Re: Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

Here is the exterior of the garage. You can see that it is, overall, in reasonably good shape:



Here is the left wall, which seems almost perfect:



Here is the right wall, which is bowing slightly at its base. I tried to hold the camera perpendicular where I could. Note that the smaller garage on the right of this shot is more bowed, so don't use it as a frame of reference for straightness!



This is probably the worst of the sills. Interestingly, it is on the left wall, which is the straight wall:



The other sills seem good, such as this one:


Last edited by numbah9; 06-23-2012 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 02-15-2011, 10:24 AM   #17
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Default Re: Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

Here are the two worst spots in the concrete, but there are numerous others like it:




The second photo looks like someone tried to repair it with asphalt

Last edited by numbah9; 06-23-2012 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 02-15-2011, 10:28 AM   #18
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Default Re: Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

I don't know how to describe it, but this is one area my buddy suggested will need to be supported before jacking. Notice that, in the middle of the shot, there is a horizontal 2x4 that runs from one side of the garage to the other and it's tied to a 2x4 that runs up as a roof support. But, on the right-hand side of the shot, there is a roof support that is not tied in to anything. He said we'd need to brace things like that:



Then there are some things that just don't make any sense to me at all, such as the placement of this newer 2x4 :


Last edited by numbah9; 06-23-2012 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 02-15-2011, 11:26 AM   #19
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Default Re: Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

Geez man I expected worse! Overall I'd say that it's in fine shape for how old you think it is.

The concrete almost looks like it could be resurfaced. There are some amazing products out there now that could fill and smooth out what you have there.

Either way, I think the building could easily be braced and lifted.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:03 PM   #20
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Default Re: Jacking up a garage to renovate it?

I went in on my 18x20 and place hurricane straps on all the rafters. Then I placed 2x10's across and bolted to the wall studs and also placed some diagonal 2x4's from the 2x10's to the studs and jacked it up and set it on mobile home axles to roll it off the slab. It really wasn't too bad to accomplish.
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