Build your house upon a rock!

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I'll start off with the most recent photo of the completed house which pretty much shows what it looks like now, and then move into the process of replacing the old brick foundation that was crumbling underneath the house.

To be fair, as can be seen from the cover picture, there was a lot of work done to the house before we decided to start taking pictures and reflecting on how far we had come. The siding was changed from the old 8" white vinyl, and most of the windows had been replaced. We also added the room addition you see at the back of the house just before I resided it. Other work outside that we did not document was the new roof, overhangs and gutters. We had a roofing company come in and take care of the roof (becasue I'm too old to be walking a 10/12 pitch hip/gable roof, and I hate roofing) which had 3 or four layers on it so it needed to be stripped down to the bare 1x6" sheeting. A crew of seven guys tore off and re-roofed the main hip and gables in one day!. They came back the next day and did the porch roof. I took over after that and re-did the soffit and fascia myself. The only thing left outside now it to move around the house replacing the trim around the windows and doors to match the garage. The garage was trimmed in 1x4 and 1x6 solid PVC to keep from ever having to paint it. We are also thinking of adding shutters to the windows but haven't decided on a color yet.

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The crew started by moving around the house knocking holes in the old foundation to place beams supported by cribbing that were then used to jack the house up about 1/2". Just enough to relieve the pressure on the old foundation so it could be removed.
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Needless to say, Debbie's Rose bushes, Hydrangea's and Ferns all took a beating from the crew but all was to be re-done afterwards.
 
Next... A Floating House!
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With the old foundation gone, the house seemed to float in mid air.
 
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There was a span of about a week before they actually began to start putting the foundation back under the house since a footer had to be dug and poured before they could begin laying the block.
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During this period it rained several times and I was concerned that the house might fall into a pit of mud because the footer took a couple weeks to set before it could accept the weight of the block and the house.
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The old stucco and brick foundation didn't really have a footer. Back then they just dug down to virgin soil and started laying brick! Rain was a huge enemy to these types of foundations so it was long overdue for repairs. The house was settling in some places more than others and the foundation was cracking and crumbling.
 
Next... Building With Blocks!
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With the footer cured the crew began laying out the block around the house so once they started they could just keep going until they were done.

The foundation had to be stepped 4" on the East side due to problems with the concrete from the old driveway that would soon be removed anyway. This is the reason for the 4" solid blocks you see stacked here. ​

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Debbie's Old Fashioned Hydrangea's took a beating but they were all replaced with new ones when we re-lanscaped.

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Not sure why but they allowed the conduit for the underground phone line to be set in the footer. Hope I never have to replace that line.

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The last photo here shows the 4" step in the footer. This wasn't a problem since it actually made the footer 4" deeper on that side. 

You might notice there are no pictures of people in these photos and no action shots of anyone actually doing anything. That's because I was at work during the times they worked and took pictures afterwards. So no pictures of the block actually being laid...

Next... A Stable House!

bsnyder's picture

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The finished foundation looks great! After a little cleaning up and re-landscaping the house took on a whole new look. The crumbling foundation was gone. 

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The flower beds took a beating but it just gave us an opportunity to create a different look for the house by changing the landscaping. I dug up the old fashioned Hydrangea's but left the Crape Myrtle. Debbie bought new Hydrangea's and we actually moved the Crape Myrtle to the back yard this year, replacing it with an Arborvitae which we're hoping will do much better at the corner of the house. I also cut down the Ornamental Plum the was in the middle of the front yard because it just got way too big and crreated too much shade.

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Piles of dirt everywhere that needed leveling out and re-seeding. The grass is actually doing very well this year after much fertalizing and application of Weed N Feed.

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Much cleaner look now. Moving the bird-bath and eliminating the front flower beds will have to wait until the garage is done.

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More mess to clean up but it was well worth the work knowing the peace of mind that the new foundation provided. New closeable vents and a relocated scuttle for access to the crawl space that ended up just outside the breezeway. 

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Another old fashioned plant that was hard to get rid of but had to go was the Lilac bush in the foreground.

Next project...The Garage!