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Frost Heaving Mud Room

amyshed's picture

Hello I am new to the forum and new to home ownership and need some advise.

We have been having continous issues with our mudroom frost heaving in the winter, to the point of not being able to open and close our door. The room was built on and has no foundation; under the room is (clay mix) dirt and held up by what I call car jacks, but a little bigger. We did a french drain, and added plastic and gravel in the front of the room moving the water away from the house, which did work for 1 year. But this year with the below freezing temperatures it's beginning to heave again. The door won't lock, cracks are appearing in the drywall and our new floor has a 1" bludge in the corner from what I think is the jack pushing up.

Any thoughts advise would be welcome.

Also I have pictures of the cracks to give a better idea of what it's doing.

Thank you

Amy

Probably screwed until spring (post #207400, reply #1 of 10)

Maybe others have some ideas. 

You say the room is on jacks?  How odd.  Can you lower the jacks a bit?  Since the room is heaving, lowering it would make sense.  The trick would be to know which jacks to lower and which to leave alone.

I would think in the spring or next summer you would wish to dig it out and put, at the very least, really concrete piers under the corners of your structure and end this situation once and for all.

Amy (post #207400, reply #2 of 10)

Where is this place?  Why no foundation?   Are these jacks on a footing?

Could you take some pictures of the structure and what's holding it up?

thanks.

 

Water might still be collecting below grade around this structure.

There's a possibility you could bury 2" foam under the structure and above the footings (around the jacks) and extend that out a couple feet and maybe prevent the deep frost you seem to have there now.  Nice spring job.  You won't have to go deep, but regrading would certainly help to move the water away.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


Hi Calvin, Thank you for the (post #207400, reply #4 of 10)

Hi Calvin, Thank you for the response.

In response to you reply I live in VT. I have taken some pictures of the underneath of the mudroom. It actually looks like we do have one post and a couple beam holders (sorry not sure of the correct term) and you'll see the car jack also. I have taken pictures of the outside of the mudroom front where our door is and the step that we made a little smaller which I believe is contributing to our heaving problem this year, and the side where our french drain is and one of the problem areas.

I do realize that I won't be able to do anything at this point until spring. But as a temporary fix I was thinking of putting down some plastic on the side where the french drain is and putting a whole bunch of dirt to make a grade to re direct the water away from the house. It's not going to be pretty, but we need to try and do something to prevent further damage to our walls and door.

 

I was having problems uploading the photos so I used my google account for people to view the pictures please let me know if you have any trouble.

 

https://plus.google.com/photos/116177186099267869982/albums/5838887363421367489?authkey=COL1mJaG9YzSxwE

Yikes Amy......... (post #207400, reply #6 of 10)

That was quite a scene.

A couple of things-

Those jacks and posts, they are probably doing something-what is hard to tell.   If there's a jack under a high spot, you could try to lower it.

Some of these posts/jacks are in the middle of what some might think is a beam-an attempt I guess at holding up more than one of those "4x4 ""joists"" "?

To say you should start all over is demoralizing, but I think the only way to go.  The room to work under there looks almost too small to be able to anything other than maybe stuff things to shore it up.  That's not the way to go.

Have you had any good carpenters/masons/engineering genius's take a look?

 

 

wow.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


On the other hand, it's in no (post #207400, reply #7 of 10)

On the other hand, it's in no danger of falling down.  Hard to tell what in particular is causing trouble with the door (other than heaving in general), but if something can be done to fix that then maybe there's no need to deal with the rest.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

True..but.. (post #207400, reply #8 of 10)

Very true Dan.There are a few problem's right now happening to the room itself. One of the posts holding up the mudroom by the door seems to be pushing up threw the floor. We put in a pretty expensive waterproof flooring thats breaking as the room is heaving, also I have cracks in my drywall now. And the door becoming harder and harder to open, and locking is a real bummer.

We are looking for alternatives other than tearing it down and starting from scratch. Like keeping the water away from the building. Creating a grade with dirt and using plastic as a barrier and redirecting the water, might be the cheapest possible fix. Next would be trying to use an exavator and digging up the whole front taking out our french drain and putting in posts like it should have had in the first place.

Huge mess (post #207400, reply #9 of 10)

Yeah it's a big mess under the mudroom. When we bought the house we never knew that the mudroom was going to be such a problem. We haven't had anyone come and look at the mess fearing what you said about tearing it all down and starting from scratch. We would like to find alternatives that are a lot less costly. I wish we could start from strach. We would change a lot including creating the foundation for the room and doing it the correct way. I don't see how someone can get a permit and have no inspectors come out and make sure a person is creating a proper safe foundation for a room.

Do you think is we filled up that area on the side and front with dirt to create a grade and use platic as a barrier to re direct the water away from the house would work as a temporary solution?

I like your foam idea I was thinking the same thing, but like you said it's pretty much a crawl space. We have a basement window where I took those pictures so we can see into the bottom of the room, thats our only entry. I was thinking of cutting the plywood on the side of the house (which by the way is a whole sheet of plywood going into the ground) and working that way by doing one sheet of foam at a time. I would be the only one to fit under there, but I think it could be done. 

The problem is that there's (post #207400, reply #10 of 10)

The problem is that there's no room to work under there.  (Maybe a real skinny could do something, but most of us have too much excess avordupois to even conceptualize how one might do things.)

If there was, say, two feet of space below the "joists" one could install a system of reenforcements.  But even then the footings are a problem and would have to be dug out and redone right.

Maybe the best bet would be to use an auger to dig holes directly adjacent to the "foundation" and install pilings, then run steel joists through directly under the stuff that's there, somehow anchoring it to the side of the house foundation.

But anything you do would be made much easier by tearing up the floor, I'm afraid.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Yeah, mainly you want to keep (post #207400, reply #3 of 10)

Yeah, mainly you want to keep it dry, but the suggestion to insulate the footings is also good, if it's practical to do. 


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

It is almost Feb. (post #207400, reply #5 of 10)

It is almost Feb., my guess is the damage is done and the lifting is as bad as it is going to get.  Teh water in the ground below whatever footing, posts, jack, etc. is already frozen as evidenced by the lifitng.  Once expanded it is expanded.  So now there is no where to go but back down.  Insulation is not likely to help today.  Keep water away?  Always a good idea, but he time to have kept it away was before it saturated the earth below the footing, post (or whatever) and before it froze.

Good luck in the spring.  Again, I would dig this puppy down below frost level and put in proper piers.  Foundation walls not necessary, but would allow for insulation etc.

 

Goo Luck.