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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    1

    Default House/room tilting - how fixable is it?

    Hello All

    I am looking to buy a home and saw one today in a good area but its an older house - 1961.

    The whole house seems a little off level-wise, but there is one room in the back corner of the house where there has been a lot of settling.

    This room leans a lot.

    There is a utility room in the basement right below this room and I saw at least 3 jacks under this room already.

    That being said, here are the questions:

    1) is there a way to tell that the settling has stopped?
    2) slowly over time, can this room possibly be level again?
    3) we plan on adding a second floor eventually to this house, is there anything in this situation that would make adding a second floor above this room impossible?

    thanks for your time!

    - Matt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Coventry, RI
    Posts
    340

    Default Re: House/room tilting - how fixable is it?

    Most anything can be fixed for a price. What that price is would be determined by what is wrong. Most older houses are a little off kilter but when they are a lot off kilter that is where the problems and costs can come in.

    Things to look for would be is it the foundation under this room that has settled or is there some other reason that it is really off. If the foundation is severely cracked then it is likely settling a lot and could be a lot to fix. Note that a lot of foundations have hairline cracks which usually are not a problem. The settling could also be from rotten sills and or studs and joists. If this is the case there is likely water getting in somewhere which is good for termites and carpenter ants but not for the house. These problems can be fixed and would most likely be cheaper to fix than a settling foundation.

    If you really like the house and are serious about purchasing it you could have a home inspector come in and check it out for a few hundred dollars. They can better tell you what you are dealing with and possibly what repairs would be needed. Hope this helps you out.

    Mike

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,643

    Default Re: House/room tilting - how fixable is it?

    Another thing to consider is financing: right now, lenders are pretty skittish. You'd be lucky to close with a loan for this house if the bank's inspector/appraiser indicates that there are serious structural problems.

    It may be impossible to level some parts of the house if there were additions or modifications made after the house began settling. What often happens is someone adds on to an out-of-kilter house. Later on, you go to level the original house, and now there is no way the addition can ever be made level. Even in the level part, you may find that doors no longer close, cupboards and counters are all akimbo, sewer pipes run uphill, and possibly that the upstairs or attic floor has a big hump in it because an interior wall was added after the first floor had settled.

    But like sabo said, anything is possible; how much money do you have?
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: House/room tilting - how fixable is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by mkdrums View Post
    Hello All

    I am looking to buy a home and saw one today in a good area but its an older house - 1961.

    The whole house seems a little off level-wise, but there is one room in the back corner of the house where there has been a lot of settling.

    This room leans a lot.

    There is a utility room in the basement right below this room and I saw at least 3 jacks under this room already.

    That being said, here are the questions:

    1) is there a way to tell that the settling has stopped?
    2) slowly over time, can this room possibly be level again?
    3) we plan on adding a second floor eventually to this house, is there anything in this situation that would make adding a second floor above this room impossible?

    thanks for your time!

    - Matt
    If the whole house is somewhat unlevel indicates there are serious issues. Minor *settling* is one thing but from what you describe this is not a case of settling but more of structural stability concerns.
    Considering this is a single story home there will be a need to stabilize and correct the foundation issues before adding the extra weight of the second story addition.

    If this is a *must have* house then get an engineer to evaluate the structure before purchasing. A small investment upfront can save huge amounts of money and major surprises after you buy it. Otherwise , keep looking for something that doesn't have major concerns upfront.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    1,387

    Default Re: House/room tilting - how fixable is it?

    Run away real fast ......... Look for a home without these issues instead.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,643

    Default Re: House/room tilting - how fixable is it?

    For a house with major structural issues, you would be wise to pay no more than the value of the land it sits on. The cost of repairing the structure could easily meet or exceed the good-condition value of the house, and may be more than the cost of tearing down and building new. In some extreme cases, the true value of the property will be of the land minus the cost to demolish the house.

    Saving such a house is only feasible where the house has significant historical or architectural value. Sentimental value is a completely unreasonable reason. You should never be that attached to your possessions.

    Historical or architectural value generally can be defined as a) someone famous lived there; b) some noteworthy historical event happened there or it is significant fixture in a historic district; c) it was designed by a famous architect; or d) it is a prime example of a now-rare design.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

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