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Author Topic: Log cabin foundation help  (Read 7344 times)

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Offline FarmerGrant

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Log cabin foundation help
« on: October 11, 2004, 01:42:00 AM »
     I am preparing to do some work on two log cabins in a remote location next summer.  They were built by my grandparents in the early 70's.  They have both been through a flood, with 1' of water inside.
     There are two cabins on the site.  One is 20'x30', and the other is 10'x14'.  Both are having similar problems.  The foundation under the walls has sunken, so the floor is humped in the middle enough that you can only open the door 1/2 way.  Both roofs need replacing.  The logs are in good condition, but as far as I can tell they have never been treated.  They are white spruce.  They have all turned gray on the outside.  I would like to make them look nice again.
     I think that it is best to start with the foundation.  Can I just jack up the walls and let the floor settle, then repair the roof?  I think that would be a bare minimum repair.  But it may last another 30 years.
     The proper repair I guess would be to tear the floor out and rebuild the foundation.  
     What type of foundation should they be on?  Keep in mind that I am in a remote location and will only be using a shovel for excavating.  I know that there are 4 concrete pads on the 30' side.  They are 1'x1' or so.  I don't know how deep they are.  The soil is silt on top, and would eventually hit gravel I am guessing becuase it is on a river.  I havn't dug a test hole.  

I guess this is what I am asking:
What type of foundation would you reccomend?
How do I raise the cabin to build the new foundation?
How should I treat the logs?

Any help will be greatly appreciated!


Offline JoeyLowe

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Re: Log cabin foundation help
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2004, 07:48:35 AM »
Hey Kevin and welcome to the Forum.  I'm sure you will get a lot of responses to your questions here and I guess I will start.

I'm located here in Texas and as for how we repair a foundation here, we jack the whole building up just enough to get to the areas that need repairing.  You said that both cabins had flooded causing the foundation to sink.  I'm assuming that the foundation is composed of piers.  If that is the case, excavate (with shovels) enough so that you can get a beam and jacks underneath the sills.  If available, I would recommend a length of red iron for the beam.  Anyways, after you get the beam and jacks in place, start jacking the cabin up.  This is more than a one-man job by the way.  You will want to proceed slowly and only jack up the cabin until it is level.  (A water level comes in real handy here). After you have the cabin level.  Then you have to decide how you are going to repair or replace the existing foundation and there are many options available to you.  One solution that I have seen used around here is to leave the red iron (or wood) beam in place and replace the jacks with additional support piers.

My chief concern would be future flooding and how to avoid or deal with that problem. If you think that one foot of water is about the extent of the flooding, then you need to figure out a way to get the cabin over that flood line, if possible.

As for treating the logs, if they have been in place for over 30 years and are all in good condition, there isn't much left to do to them.  I don't know what kind of wood-eating insects you have in Alaska, but if anything, I would probably exterminate.  Hope this helps
Joey Lowe

"Working towards perfection has to be a part of anything one does.  You've got to put yourself into it." ... Sam Maloof (chairmaker)

Offline pappy

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Re: Log cabin foundation help
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2004, 09:10:56 AM »
Welcome Kevin,

We have a fellow in these parts who jacks camps.  I used his idea for the foundation pads. For the forms I took a 55 gal plastic barrel and cut 6" wide strips using the table saw.  Placed them on a piece of plywood and used poly inside to keep the water from running out of the concrete, inserted two 16" lengths of re-bar.  I removed the top soil and placed these pads on top of a few pails of good gravel.

Check out our cabin construction progress.;action=display;num=1089947090

To give the logs a face lift ya might want to take a look at this site.   Check out their restoration products.

good luck,


"And if we live, we shall go again, for the enchantment which falls upon those who have gone into the woodland is never broken."

"Down the Allagash."  by; Henry Withee

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