Unlevel Kitchen from bentonite

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newpoint
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Unlevel Kitchen from bentonite

Post by newpoint » Thu Jun 08, 2017 7:12 am

Hi: I have a different question. We purchased a late 70's foreclosure where 1st floor moves up and down with the foundation. With bentonite in the soil, expansive soil. At purchase the center of the home was abut 1 1/2" higher than the outside 12 foot away. I dug a french drain and put pond liner around the home. It is now over half improved but that took 5 years. So I am about to replace my kitchen cabinets and I ran a laser level over the cabinets and found that the counter near the center of the house is almost 3/4" higher than the outside. What should I do? If I make the cabinets level and the center of the house continues downward, then the tilt will be opposite what it is now. How should this situation be handled? I start in about 3 weeks.

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A. Spruce
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Re: Unlevel Kitchen from bentonite

Post by A. Spruce » Thu Jun 08, 2017 11:32 am

The first thing I'd do is research ways of stabilizing the soil and structure, if it's moving, it's going to continue moving, causing problems for both you and the structure. What comes to mind are helicoils, not their technical name, but accurate for what they are. Basically, big screws that are turned into the ground that give stability to unstable soils. These would be used as piers under or around the house to help support and stop movement.

Here's a link to help get you started.
http://www.abchance.com/products/helica ... on-system/
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

newpoint
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Re: Unlevel Kitchen from bentonite

Post by newpoint » Thu Jun 08, 2017 4:58 pm

Hi A. Spruce. It is stable now, meaning it no longer rises, but it is taking time to completely settle. I put a 14' rubber membrane around the house. So the house has dropped over 1" but still has more to go. We have had engineers look at the home, including my neighbor. The problem is that a pier is for dealing with sinking but we want the home to sink back to its original position which is down another 3/4". So my question is, do I install the cabinets at a 3/4" rise, which would be level once the home completely settles. But thanks for the comments.

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A. Spruce
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Re: Unlevel Kitchen from bentonite

Post by A. Spruce » Thu Jun 08, 2017 7:37 pm

Well, there's no way to accommodate an unknown. The house may or may not sink another 3/4", it could go 1-1/2". There is also no way to bend the cabinets during installation, much less in a way that will look good now or soak up whatever the house is going to move.

What you can do is design the kitchen so that any movement won't be noticeable, such as keeping cabinets at least 12" from the ceiling so that there are no "straight" lines or gaps that will indicate movement.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

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Shannon
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Re: Unlevel Kitchen from bentonite

Post by Shannon » Thu Jun 08, 2017 10:10 pm

I would agree the house may never get completely back to level or it may settle a little extra and any of this could take years . Put the cabinets in level, there is no way to compensate for what may or may not happen.
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newpoint
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Re: Unlevel Kitchen from bentonite

Post by newpoint » Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:07 pm

Then if I may, a 2nd question. Is there a way to do this and still keep the existing 4" square wall tile? The current cabinets run parallel to the grout lines, but if I shift the new ones, they will not be parallel.

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A. Spruce
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Re: Unlevel Kitchen from bentonite

Post by A. Spruce » Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:18 pm

There's no harm in trying, but don't be surprised if you find that the tile is equally tweaked as the existing cabinets. With that much movement, there's no way the grout would have held up, so it's likely that the tile has been regrouted at least once, if not several times.

How much tile are we talking about, the entire kitchen, from floor to ceiling, or just backsplashes? If it is full walls of the stuff, then trying to save it may be worthwhile. If it's just backsplashes, I'd pull everything and start anew.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

newpoint
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Re: Unlevel Kitchen from bentonite

Post by newpoint » Fri Jun 09, 2017 2:55 pm

A. Spruce: It is just a back splash. In 2 bathrooms I replaced the vanities and installed a granite top. In both rooms I was just able to slide the granite under the tile, If I had needed to shim the vanities to get them level, then the top would have gone in front of the tile. My wife would like to keep the tile if possible.

Mastercarpentry
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Re: Unlevel Kitchen from bentonite

Post by Mastercarpentry » Sun Jun 11, 2017 6:45 pm

With all the old houses I've dealt with, I have never seen one which was level throughout. Jyst ain't gonna happen. And anything you add which is level looks out of whack with the unlevel house. So put the level away and build to the house itself by making things square and parallel to what's there as appropriate. There is only one thing in a house which must reference to a level line and that is drain plumbing.

My rule of thumb is that if it looks good, works good, and stays that way there can't be too much wrong with it.

Phil

newpoint
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Re: Unlevel Kitchen from bentonite

Post by newpoint » Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:06 pm

Thanks Phil. I appreciate all the wisdom I can get. It is funny that you mention drains. The kitchen is off 1/4" every 4 feet. We have not had a backup so far, but I will keep the possibility in mind just in case there is any future problem. LOL

Ken

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