house settlement

Hello , I would like to know if any one had the chance to deal with house settlement issues. I have a home that was owned by my father, and I noticed the center beam (wood) in the basement has sagged causing problems on the second floor. The answer to this problem would be a house jack to gradually lift the house beam up, a little at a time. My question is this…have any of you out there ever taken on a project like this yourself, if so could you pass on a few tips, on how to. Or is this something that only a qualified structual contractor should be consulted about. If jacking up the beam just a little at a time is no big deal, I can do that myself. Any thoughts?

Jacking up the center beam itself is no big deal. A little at a time, and by that I mean lifting in no more than 1/8 to 1/4 inch increments and re- measuring. The problem with jacking up an old home is that when you move things that have settled for decades, you WILL damage other parts of the house. Be prepared for ceiling and walls to crack. You also have to determine WHY that center beam settled that much in the first place. If the ground the lolly columns are on in the basement is sugar sand you’ll need to fix that. If the beam sagged because it didn’t have proper support in between columns you’ll need to address that too. Take your time and measure. I would have plumb bobs all over that house so I knew if walls were starting to push out on me.

If you don’t understand any of the terms I used…

Pay someone who does.

Thanks for the reply fdjake.I do undersstand what your talking about. I looked very closely, and determined the settlement has been ocurring between the post in the basement. I can see a slight bow in the wooden beam. This is where I believe the jack can be placed. When I look carefully, the line of settlement is in line straight up to the second floor, which is causing the door opening to the bath to be out of plumb. I will investigate more, before I consult a contractor/architect.