Foundation Repair & Renovation Progress Update

Things have been moving along slowly but surely. The foundation has finally been leveled and they are pouring the concrete on Monday. They plan to be done by the end of next week! It's already incredibly different inside the house, particularly in the kitchen where it no longer feels like you are climbing up a hill to get to the sink.

As they leveled the section of the house that the previous owners added on, the whole addition began to separate from the main house. This isn't surprising considering everything the previous owners did on the house was done as haphazardly as possible (remember the "wall use only" boards glued to the efficiency apartment floor?). This is kinda freaky and tbh, i'm not sure what exactly we are going to have to do to fix that. More learning to do.


IMG_6825.jpg
IMG_6826.PNG

Once foundation is done it will be time for a whole new roof! ...and electrical!...and plumbing! :) The foundation contractors found a leak behind the shower wall in the main house so we will need to get that taken care of asap. And once the electrical is fixed, hopefully the a/c will work!

One major layout decision we are trying to make involves the center bedroom that has no windows. We know we are going to take it down to open up the main living space, but we also would like to use part of it to put in a second bathroom. Also, the entire back of the house is currently bedrooms, none of which have a door to the exterior. The front door is currently the only entrance/exit. With smaller bedrooms, it's hard to figure out where it makes the most sense to put in a door. Luckily, we've been getting some professional help on these decisions -shout out to our wonderful friend and architect Jelisa for helping us figure it all out. 

That's it for now. We promised a full house tour and failed miserably at delivering that, but I remain hopeful we will get that up next week.

-Em O

Hot Mess Trash Disaster Foundation (Part I)

Professional foundation inspector reporting for duty! 

Professional foundation inspector reporting for duty! 

Our lil’ bungalow is currently sporting a pier and beam foundation system. We’ve been told by several reputable parties that in Austin, a pier and beam system can be more advantageous than a slab foundation.  This is due to the nature of the soil and it’s tendency to shift between seasons. A slab may just crack while a pier and beam system can go with the flow. That said, most foundations, regardless of type, need a tune up every few decades or so. Ours is in dire need of some TLC. 

After the initial inspection we knew that the foundation would be one of the biggest repairs we would be making on the house. The inspector pointed out some sloppily and cheaply done repair work (you will see this is a continuing theme as we work our way through the house). Many of the 4X6 beams had been replaced with 2X4s resulting in the beams sagging and rolling. He also informed us that the house was a few piers short of a full load. We would need to install additional piers and replace most of the beams. Those factors combined with shifting due to natural ground movement left our house feeling off-kilter. 

You can really see the rolling beam from this angle.

You can really see the rolling beam from this angle.

Before we moved forward with getting quotes from contractors, we brought in a structural engineer who specializes in pier and beam to take a look at the house and write up a scope of work for the repairs. He confirmed most of what we had been told to date and gave us a little physics lesson. I won’t bore you with that here (but also I don’t remember much of it, he was attractive and I was distracted).

The biggest advantage of having an engineer review your project is that you know exactly what to ask for from your contractors. Two contractors might quote you similar prices for repairs but could include completely different scopes. The engineer generally isn't there to "win the business" so they will shoot you straight on what is necessary vs. nice to have and what needs to be done tomorrow vs. what can wait. Especially for first timers, we highly recommend this step (not just for the views, heh heh). 

No crawl space here! 

No crawl space here! 

A good portion of the foundation repair cost is coming from the fact that the addition the previous owners added to the house, which includes the efficiency apartment and the 4th bedroom in the main house (more on this later), is just sitting on piles of cinder blocks. The addition also doesn’t have proper clearance to allow a crew to get underneath it and do the necessary pier installations. Our engineer told us that less accessibility means more $$$.

That brings us to our first tiny rehabber task. This weekend (weather permitting) we’ll be tearing up the floors in the efficiency apartment to allow the foundation crew to access the area and install the piers from above.

Sounds easy enough, right?

Em V.