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Repairing The Foundation On An Addition‏

Question: My wife and I have been working almost non-stop to fix up our little hovel to make it a comfortable retirement cottage. At this point we're focusing on the exterior. It's got old clapboard siding that we've been scraping old, priming and painting (and fixing up when the need arises).

There's a small addition that was built onto the house some time ago and the folks that did it didn't do a very good job of providing sufficient foundation or footing for it. It has since fallen away from the main house at the top by almost four or five inches and the floor inside is very un-level. We're thinking of jacking it up and working on the support to level it out, but haven't done this kind of job before. Any ideas on how we should go about doing this (including things not to do) would be greatly welcomed.

Answer: You have to be very careful when jacking up an addition as the addition is joined to the main house and you can do major damage to the areas where the two buildings are attached to one another. Without seeing the addition the best method, if logistics allow, is to run a temporary beam under the outside edge (inset the thickness of the foundation) of the addition, longer than the addition and jack the building from under the ends of that beam. That gives you full clearance under the building to rebuild the foundation and basement floor.