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Dutchess_III's avatar

Do they make house jacks with springs?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42473points) February 13th, 2016

We had another earthquake this morning. None of the houses in Kansas were ever built with earthquakes in mind, but they’ve become increasingly common in the last 5 years.

The house is over 100 years old, with a dirt floor cellar under most of it, and crawl space under the rest.
I want to pour deep footings, then secure house jacks (floor jacks) to the footings to secure the house. However, the jacks need to torque a little to allow for the earth quakes, ergo, springs.

I have no idea where or how to start…but I bet some of you guys do!

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12 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Do you have a million dollars? jk

The whole structure would need to be jacked up and structurally tied together (think putting house on cookie sheet) then put a large air bag that inflates when there is an earthquake.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Tropical_Willie what do they do in California?

Also, why wouldn’t stabilizing jacks work?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The house has to “float” over the foundation.
They have converted some historic buildings like large courthouses by jacking them up and putting sliding mounts under them and not on the original foundation. In some earthquakes the ground moves several feet so the house’s springs would have to 1) keep the house level 2) let the motion of several feet, not impact the house.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Shit. What can I do? I mean, I have windows that won’t close, doors that won’t close, cracks in the walls now….

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Sounds like the foundation may have been compromised.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, it’s happening to houses all over town. We’re not the only ones.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

A compromised foundation can cause the local authorities to condemn a building/house.

Cruiser's avatar

This may be a place to start…Simpson knows their stuff.

johnpowell's avatar

My good buddy is a geologist in Oklahoma and is like 90% sure the earthquakes are due to fracking. I’m not really sure you can put a band-aid on this.

And California doesn’t really have these types of earthquakes. In California they are large slabs of rocks that span hundreds of miles. So a Earthquake in California is a large slab of rock moving. So the house might drop a few inches but everything is still square.

With fracking they are pretty much turning the ground a few miles below you to rubble and then pumping in some sand and chemicals in. That isn’t going to be nearly as stable as the solid rock in California.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@johnpowell I know it’s due to fracking. And I don’t want to put a band aid on it, I want to strengthen the structure if I can.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Cruiser Your link wouldn’t open (my bad, I’m sure) but I think I found where you were trying to send me…here? Are we talking big bucks?

Cruiser's avatar

@Dutchess_III Seismic retrofitting is never cheap nor do you want it to be cheap. You can cut some costs by DIY but if there is signs of serious foundation shifting or settling then IMO you are best sourcing out a specialist.

I would solicit 3–4 qualified contractors first to gain a perspective from pros POV.

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