Living in an older home such as the homes in Pensacola or Gulf Breeze, FL, will guarantee that you will have floor or foundation settling issues eventually. This is to be expected in a home that was built many years ago and the effects of hurricanes and development of the surrounding areas will affect the foundation over time. Do not fret though. This is not the demise of your home as you know it. In some cases, it can be as simple as jacking the home with a small jack to level the floor. In other cases, it can require the reinstallation of beams or engineering of footings. If this is happening to your home, what should you do or how do you recognize why it is settling?
Is it rot or is it settling?
Many times, one’s home may not be settling at all. If the home is sagging at the bathroom or the kitchen, there is a good chance that you are dealing with wood rot as opposed to settling. This is very common. A good way to get an inclination is the presence of mold, plumbing or landscaping. Yes, I said landscaping. Plantings should be a minimum of eight inches off an exterior wall and six inches below the bottom plate of a wall. If sprinklers or rain water have been feeding planting against your house, there is a good chance you have a wood rot situation and not a settling issue. This is a much easier and a less expensive repair than a home that is settling.
Call a professional.
I understand that one may want to tackle this endeavor one’s self with the help from a family member. I strongly advise against this. The issue is under the home. It is not a very convenient location for moving around. Add in the fact that you probably have never jacked a house up before and you may not understand the basic principles of physics. If you don’t have this experience, you may cause some damage. Engineers design repairs a specific way so that supporting beams, joists, and piers are not fastened with simple nails and screws. Different loads (weight) require special fasteners and anchors. Not to mention fasteners and anchors should be galvanized or stainless steel depending on the situation. The understanding of the different gauges of nails is also crucial to the long-term success of the repair.
The little things that most people will not think of will make or break your budget. For instance, if one gets under the house and starts cranking on a jack supporting the joists or beams under a kitchen, you may be in trouble quickly. The cabinets are screwed to the walls that have settled. If the cabinets are not unscrewed, they will rack with the wall as it comes to level. This will cause major cracking in the cabinetry and will all but guarantee that you are now getting a kitchen remodel that you may not be able to afford.
Addison Riley, LLC: Design – Build – Renovate is here for you in the case that you need a professional to look at your home. Whether you need a repair, a new home, or a renovation. We can help.
Jon Pruitt is the founder and President of Addison Riley, LLC: Design-Build-Renovate. He is a State Certified Building Contractor, Real Estate Agent, Parade of Homes winner, and Past President of the West Florida Home Builders Association. He attended Pensacola State College and the University of Florida for business. He has always had a strong community background and continues be involved with many charitable organizations. On top of his organizational duties, Jon sits on the boards, or was previously involved with, the West Florida Home Builders Association, Five Flags Rotary, Mobile Better Business Bureau, Florida Gator Alumni Association, Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce Membership Committee, Leadership Pensacola Class of 2014, Leadership Pensacola Call to Action, Skills USA, as well as many other organizations. Jon is a martial artist in the arts of Hapkido and Kyukido. He stays active with weight training, boating, diving/spearfishing, and spending time with his two young daughters.
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