As most of my friends know, my brother bought a way cool cottage up north. And since he didn’t mind getting a fixer-upper, well, that’s what he got. It’s not in bad shape at all, really. But does need some work here and there. Just small things, like preventing it from sliding into the lake 😀
I exaggerate. But when we put up the first pictures of the cottage, and our good friend Walter saw them, he sent us email. He was very concerned about the supports. We were able to reassure him – my brother is a civil engineer, like him, and he knew about the problem and in fact it was one of the first things he fixed. The picture below is the before picture. If you look closely, you can see one of the wood beams getting very close to the edge of the support.
He also decided to level the cottage last year. Since he wanted to add some windows and replace patio doors, it needed to be leveled. So, a little at a time, he shored up each post and made the cottage level.
Then this year, after he replaced the patio doors, he was under the cottage and realized that the whole cottage was leaning out further. He figured that the load on the supports had changed, and as a result, the “piers” it was resting on started to lean out. He hadn’t thought of this happening, and I think he was a little upset because it diverted him from his other plans. He now had to put everything on hold until he could figure out what to do.
He spoke briefly about building a basement under the cottage (something he’d love to have), but it’s far too expensive. Then he started making plans to dig out the piers and straighten them out. I could tell it was plaguing him, he was thinking of it constantly. (It’s a thing we Perrella’s do — we worry over a problem, almost consumes us, until we’ve got a solution.)
At some point I realized he had stopped talking about it, and so I asked him how that was going. And he said, “Oh, I’ve got that worked out”. And he sent me these pictures. Jeez.
He’s been calling this one the “Leaning Pier of Tony”. This one looked pretty frightening to me.
He says this will hold the cottage steady through the winter and heavy snows, and he’ll have to dig out the piers and re-set them vertically next year.
Any of you civil engineers out there have some advice??