Monday, March 2, 2009

Historic Home damaged by Hurricane!! Part 3!!

We used railroad ties (and I mean REAL railroad ties!) laid directly to the earth's surface, to displace the pressures we were about to apply in jacking up the two stacked porches. With reinforced header members carefully placed, and heavy duty house screw jacks placed, we were able to slowly control the lifting process. It is critical to note that all timbers have fibers, and once they get accustomed to staying in a certain position, changing that position must be a very thoughtful and careful process. If one tries to raise too much, it can cause stress and cracking, which will result in failure of the timbers to withstand the pressures and stresses that were intended to bear. A very common mistake, and a costly one I might add, is to over raise the structure to get it to perfect level. This is not what you want.

As you are lifting your loads, you must listen very closely to the sounds of the timbers; they will let you know when to stop, and you'd better listen. We did!! When we get older, things will begin to sag and settle. We can slow down the process with exercise and good diet; however, we inevitably will age noticeably. What I'm saying here is you must respect the age and conditions of the structure as a whole to do a successful rehab, restoring things in a way that will be pleasing to the eye, but not damaging to the structure. This a true restoration. In short, if you want a new house, build one. If you want an old house, restore it; work with what you have.

Well, we did. We removed all the support columns, then reworked all their damaged components, put them back where they were, and essentially reworked the entire framing and finished look of the two porches. We removed the brick support columns and aligned them as they needed to be, leveling and squaring them up in a way that made it appear that nothing had been done to them. The sign of a good restoration is, when you're done, it looks like nothing has been done. Everything looks old, but good. Thus, "an Oldie but Goodie!!" Each day we drew closer to preparing this beauty for a good paint job! To Be Continued!!

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