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Glenn Miller
Glenn Miller, owner of Problemsolvers
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 2
Experience:  Fix existing constuction problems
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fix a leaning house

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bought an old building,

originaly built as a church in 1800

size 24 X 36 feet

inside from floor to roof line is 14 feet

house is leaning 7 inches on the 36 foot side.

any ideas ?


you sound like me I too bought a old church a few months back, turning it into a 2 story home. although I dont have any leaning trouble I did one time raise a old house back to level. first you must make sure theres no bad wood on the side your raising so you can use jacks on it. alot like when you level a trailer. you must work really slow though. and i would use 20 ton jacks. start by jack just a little then placing a wedge under that part move to your left side do the same keep going back and forths it will crack and raise hell. but it will work. the key is not to place too much stress on any of the main beams and break them, thats why you can't get in any hurry. good luck. Joe

If you want my opinion I would leave it up to the experts to do this kind of job. This is much too dangerous to attempt yourself. You will have to work from the basement (if there is one) and jack this building up with you under it. It could collapse and kill you. It's not worth it but if you feel you can do it safely by all means go ahead but as an expert my recommendation is to hire someone. Still want to do it yourself? OK, here is one way to do it.

If it's 7 inches out of plumb it's a good bet that it may be rotted or termite damaged at the sill and there is no jack that can help you at that point. The jack will just punch through the wood. Run six by six beams (the longer, the better) along the entire 36 foot length and place a jack every six feet under the building. You can use temporary adjustable lolly columns if your basement ceiling is high. (the screw type) they will hold as long as they are no more than six feet apart. Make sure the beam catches all the floor joists that way there it will take the pressure off the sunken side. Crank the columns (or jacks)slowly and evenly. When it is finally up you can install concrete blocks (fill the holes with concrete) to replace the foundation making sure they sit on a good footing, (the existing foundation may be good enough). Keep an eye on the floor joists too so that they don't end up twisting on you. You should lean 2x6's against the gable ends at the exterior so the house doesn't slide or teeter-totter in either direction at the 24 foot (gable) ends. Install pegs or pins into the ground the building to keep the 2x6's from slipping at the bottom. You can use 2x4's to accept the gable end supports at the tops by temporarily nailing them to the house and wedging and toe-nailing the 2x6's into them. Do this on each gable end. Check everything as you increase the height up to plumb to make sure nothing is left to chance. Be careful.

Hope I helped :)  

Customer: replied 12 years ago.
Reply to Joseph Barcus's Post: the floor is nice, flat and level

rather the roof compared to the floor


/   /

out of plum by 7 inches

thanks for your thoughts

Customer: replied 12 years ago.
Reply to Andy Lambert's Post: the floor is nice, flat and level

rather the roof compared to the floor


/   /

out of plum by 7 inches

thanks for your thoughts


Is the roof new (or "newer")?

Many times when roofers remove or re-do an old roof, they pay no
attention to the "square-ness" of the structure.They will remove the
old roof and associated boards, put new ply wood down and then the new
roof. If the roof rafters shift during this process, the entire entire
structure will shift.

If your floors are (reasonably) level, this sounds like the most probable cause.(It's not due to settleling)

The solution?... Tough going !!

Try to push the structure back to "plumb" using 2 x 6's and
stakes(driven in the ground). When it's 'acceptable', cut 
triangular pieces of plywood to match the pitch of the roof and nail
and glue them to the rafters at thier intersections.This should
maintain the proper balance.

If you have more questions or need clarification, contact me at this website,




Customer: replied 12 years ago.
thanks to all -

none really addressed the problem


I am a little irked that after all the help you received regarding this issue you decided to say that we were of no help. You received quite a bit of good information here from a lot of knowledgeable people and it was all based on the limited amount of information you gave us. And yes while it's true you don't have to accept and/or pay for  this knowledge it would have been nice to at least have allowed us to assist you.

Every time one of our answers is not accepted our individual ratings drop and we know that but that is a chance we have to take and we do it. All of us spent quite a bit of time analyzing your situation and giving you the best information and suggestions we could.

I hope you don't become one of the regular customers who asks questions but never pays. I don't know how much time the other experts in this forum spent on your question but I  must have spent an hour trying to figure out a good remedy for your situation and for you to shrug me off was a little upsetting.


good point andy, another way to pull a leaning house would be cables & turn buckles but again that may not do it also. just another way i would think of it. the structure had to be weak somewhere for it to do this. one can live with a old building be a little out of plum. after all it was build with antique toold of trade, and yes very thick lumber. I have been two weeks raising truss's in a old church and coming along well. and have to say man they sure used some thick thick lumber. good luck on this one

That's when 2x4's were true 2x4's. Not to mention the fact that the old wood is pratically petrified! lol I'm glad it was you and not me lifting those trusses! Yes cables and turn buckles is another good idea but appearently the customer doesn't want to hear it. Oh well!


Customer: replied 12 years ago.
Reply to Andy Lambert's Post: Andy, probably my mistake...

that said the floor and foundation is perfectly level and even,

there fore your reply about jacking was not really going to solve the problem.

This morning at 8 AM nephew number one and I stopped by Lowe's bought a 2 ton, come along.

Tree to short cable, short cable to come along,
come along to long cable. Long Cable around that big beam where the roof and the walls come together.

Moved house a grand total of 2 1/4 inches. WE stopped. WAAAY to much pressure on the come along.

Tomorrow, we will attempt to re start again. If not am planning on hooking the SUV up to the cable.

When we get the additional 4 inches....plan on stopping and chaining the cable around the tree to prevent slippage.

Now, I did not get any of your e mails until I returned from the job site today. What the heck would you say ?

Just make sure your cable is strong enough (even though you will be chaining it to the tree.

Good Luck :) 

If the floor is level but the walls and gable end are out of plumb this is a problem caused by not using eniough diagonal bracing. I am assuming that the constuction is post and beam framing. Old style truss headers to span openings delivering the roof load to the seal beam. Stacked stone foundation with time settled footings. It took a long time for the structure to settle into its now charming yet unstable stance.
To correct the out of plumb condition you will have to be patient. Drill clearance holes for 1/2 x wall thickness + 3 inches, to accept welded eye bolts at the bottom of the wall opposite from the wall leaning out at the corners. One in each corner. Making sure that you drill through a strucual member (solid wood attached to perimiter band). Drill another set of hole at the top of the wall near the ceiling in the corners of the wall leaning out. Insert eye bolts in each hole. Putting large washers and two nuts on each. Two nuts tightened together will jamb preventing either nut from backing off. Loop 1/2 steal cable through the eyes and tie off loose end with two saddle cable clamps for each loop. Always put the saddle part on the active length not the loose side of the cable (never put a saddle on a dead horse). Make another loop on the other end of cable the same way. You should now have 4 length of cable coming from 4 opposing corners of the structure. Two high 2 low. You may have to drill clearance holes through existing walls and thread the cable through them. Simple geometry will give you the hole locations. You should now have 4 loops that want somthing in them. I suggest 2 come-a-longs but you can use turn buckels. Make sure you don't under size these componets they will have to take alot of stress and maintain it. Pull up the slack a little at a time from one side then the other. When you gain an inch back towards plumb stop. Let the structure settle for a day. Repeat this procedure once a day untill you are past plumb the other direction. Now it's time to test and learn. Slowly release the tention and see how far back the structure returns to. If still out of plumb in the original direction jack it past plumb the other direction even more than the first time. Repeat this process untill the structure will stand plumb on its own. Now that walls are plumb you have to do somthing to keep it that way. The easiest way to do this is renail the walls that wern't out of plumb inside and out. The more nails through exteror siding into framing and through intieor wall covering into framing the better it will keep its new shape. Another method would be to remover either the exterior siding or interior wall covering and install lots of diagonal bracing in both directions. I know this seem like a lot of work but old structures deserve it. They are made of materials that almost imposible to build with today. Remember it's not old it's long lasting.
I hope I havent talked you out of trying to tackle this project.   Good Luck,
Glenn Miller, owner of Problemsolvers
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 2
Experience: Fix existing constuction problems
Glenn Miller and other Home Improvement Specialists are ready to help you
Be carefull pulling structure pumb from outside. You could pull wall away from rest of building.