Kitchen Renovation - Day 4

Today was very impressive. They installed giant jackscrews in the basement and on the first floor and started lifting the house back up to its original level. The jackscrews that Mural and Son use make my Home Depot jackscrews look like little pencils. Very cool.


While they were setting up, Elizabeth and I made some measurements using my digital caliper and laser level. The digital caliper is a Mitutoyo digimatic, which rules, and the laser level a RoboSquare, which sucks. The beam dispersion is ghastly, the bubble level doesn't have adequate precision, and the 3-way laser corner just isn't as useful as you think it is. Save yourself $99 and buy a laser pointer and tape it to your carpenter's level. That will be just as good. (Actually it will probably have better beam dispersion than this piece of junk.)

Using these tools we measured the displacement of the second floor as close as we could get the improperly supported beam.

figure 2

First they installed jacks in the basement. This supports the floor joists on the first floor so that they can hold the first floor jacks.


Then the real shoring jacks were installed. Chris, Bernard and Ray actually started lifting the house once these jacks went in. The noises made by a house as it is strained are amazing; I don't know how to describe them. I recorded one of the lifting sequences, but it doesn't sound as impressive recorded as it did live. The recorded sound doesn't reproduce the "everything on every side of me is making noise" feeling I had.

Anyway if you are an audio nutcase, here's an MP3 for you to listen to. They insert a metal shaft into the jack, then rotate the jack, then the house makes noise as wood is strained and pieces of plaster break and fall off of the inside of the walls. This sequence happens twice in the recording.

Some new cracks appeared in the walls, but fewer than I was expecting.


The jackscrews have big 6 x 6s on either side to spread out the load. Here's what they look like at the base.


Here's what they look like at the top.


Another view of the colonnade formed by the shoring jacks. It looks pretty cool. The false ceiling has got to go. The peeling lead paint has got to go to, for a different reason.

On to day 5.


Back to day 3.
Back to Kitchen Renovation.
Back to House Stories.