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The Basement Begins

The foundation for the addition must be placed under the existing house. There has never been a basement under the house before. Therefore, a backhoe was used to excavate under the old foundation, a small portion at a time. As each section was removed, a jack post was placed under the sole plate to support the structure. The second post went into the wood as it was tightened. This was when we knew that we had insect problems. In some places, we were able to put a block between the post and the sole plate to distribute the pressure. It soon became necessary to find other means to support the house. I-beams were placed under the floor joists with jacks to support the floor. The walls of the old house were supported by bolting a beam across the wall posts and placing jacks under the beam.

Problem number 2 appeared soon after the digging began. About two feet down the backhoe struck sandrock. This is a stone that is very common to this area and is often called soapstone. It is not as hard as many other types of stone but neither is it soft dirt. The hole that should have taken a little more than a day, took three days to dig. The backhoe had to pound its way through seven feet of this rock. This picture shows the rock in relation to the backhoe above.

This picture shows the posts being placed and plumbed. The gentelman in the blue shirt is Robert Smitherman, the designer of the addition and co-contractor. The gentleman in the white baseball cap is J. Russell Wilson, contractor and restoration specialist.

Finally, the house floats on posts and beams. The footer is in place and demonstrates that the jack posts will remain in the foundation to help keep the house stable and as level as it will ever be. The kitchen has been leveled, the old house, however, raises 4 inches from the left to the right as viewed in this picture.

Now we can begin to restore the sole plate.

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