Jump to content

Are these acceptable shims/spacers on piers?


nuker
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm a homeowner that recently received inspection report rating the use of these wooden spacers and shims as acceptable after some contractor work to jack and level a house. Overlooking the use of wood, I have concerns about the spacer/shims not matching the width of the supported beam and not running the length of the pier. Also have concerns about the use of particle board and soft wedge shims. I intend to discuss this further with the contractor but want to ensure my thoughts are consistent with the views of others more experienced. The acceptable inspection is causing me to question myself.

Please let me know your thoughts on the pics.

Thanks.

Click to Enlarge
tn_201078134839_b.jpg

42.98 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_201078134932_g.jpg

43.84 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_20107813504_d.jpg

47.26 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_201078135020_h.jpg

47.93 KB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the responses, at least I know I'm not out to lunch....

I suppose the bigger question is how best to resolve this with the contractor. This was part of a larger remodeling effort which has gone mostly well and appears to be of high quality. He's been quick to react to quality concerns before but this one is lingering. If I'm asked "what do you want me to do about this?" what is the correct answer besides "fix it!".

I can detect shoddy work but am not prepared to provide the right answer -- which is why I hired a contractor. Any suggestions?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

History has shown that leftovers are often used for shimming pier & beam foundations and the shims are usually wood.

The current and recommended practice by reputable foundation companies and contractors that 'should' know better is the use of steel shims.

You can do a web-search and find many opinions, but the true professional engineers, contractors, foundation companies will all try to do the "right thing".

Using wood shims on new or current re-work does not fall into that category.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nothwithstanding the other comments, which I agree with, a month ago I had a 50 years old house which has been sitting up on shims since it was new. I didn't detect it until I went into the crawlspace.

I'd talk to him about replacing the wood shims with the steel shims and using a very stiff mortar mix to grout any gaps between shims under those beams.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all for the feedback and suggestions.

As he rebuilt most the piers I am a bit perplexed why the gap was not accounted for during the construction of the pier. Steel shims will work to provide a non-compressible shim but how best should he compensate for the gap between the top of the pier and steel shim (some gaps are greater than 2-3 inches). As this was part of a remodeling job, the interior walls and floors have all been finished and I'm worried that if he jacks again to make repairs to these spacers/shims (if he agrees to do so) that he will crack the work just completed. Is interior damage likely if it's jacked just enough to replace or modify the shims...

Thanks for the advice, I'm struggling on how to resolve this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's just dandy, but totally irrelevant. This is a wood beam supporting a wood framed addition. If that mess of scrap wood was supporting a HUD code home it wouldn't be any more acceptable. It's just shoddy work.

If it were mine; I'd cut nice straight grained blocking from treated wood, install them close to the edges of the piers very much like the first pic, and pack grout under the beam between the blocking. Steel would be better, but for the large gaps a single well fit wood block will be more stable and easier to handle than a pile of shims. Once the grout has set the shims are superfluous. It might be wrong, but a hell of a lot less so than what is there.

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It should be quite easy to replace the shims with either steel or solid wood, by jacking the beam slightly at each pier.... just enough to take the pressure off. I would bring chunks of 1/4" steel plate, chunks of sheet metal (easy to just buy Simpson tie plates for that), and chunks of dense VG fir 1x. A few layers of 30# felt would go between concrete and wood. I have done significant jacking of finished homes and it's not that easy to break the drywall or anything else, especially not with the <1/8" you need to replace the shims.

Grout is a good material but you need to let it cure a bit, so you'd have to go to the job twice, and you'd need enough jacks to support each grouted location.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marc, I'm all for creative reuse of off cuts and such, and on occasion I'll cut shims and wedges from scrap, but I generally purchase manufactured shims in pallet quantities (remember I'm a window and door guy when I'm not in my HI costume). This 'contractor' botched the piers and then bludgeoned a bunch of detritus into place to fix it. Steel shims and grout are the correct repair, and nicely fitted wood blocking would surely be more than adequate, but you aren't actually condoning what this block head did, are you? No offense, but your HUD code post implied that you are.

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marc, I'm all for creative reuse of off cuts and such, and on occasion I'll cut shims and wedges from scrap, but I generally purchase manufactured shims in pallet quantities (remember I'm a window and door guy when I'm not in my HI costume). This 'contractor' botched the piers and then bludgeoned a bunch of detritus into place to fix it. Steel shims and grout are the correct repair, and nicely fitted wood blocking would surely be more than adequate, but you aren't actually condoning what this block head did, are you? No offense, but your HUD code post implied that you are.

I'm suggesting that if the shim is cut from a good choice of lumber, is large enough to have the required bearing area and doesn't interfere with any of the required fasteners or hardware that it may not be a problem. The presence of an abundance of shims might cast suspicion on the workmanship done by the carpenter, and suggest closer scrutiny with that in mind but that's about it.

Just my opinion. My long standing beliefs do get debunked on this forum at times, shaking my foundation but that is alright.

Marc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have a problem with the use of wood to fill in the gap between the beam and the pier as long as it is treated wood, it provides adequate support and it will not squash over time. Use some wood blocking and then metal shim plates and go on with life..... [;)]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
Is there a time when even too many steel shims are too much? I have seen manufactured homes with 10-12 steel shims with a serious lean to them. At this point, should they have not reduced the steel shims and placed another concrete block

There is never an appropriate time for steel shims within a manufactured home pier-stack. The only approved materials for a CMU stack, in addition to the CMUs, are a solid ,hardwood cap , and hardwood, or approved synthetic shims. HUD being the AHJ.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is there a time when even too many steel shims are too much? I have seen manufactured homes with 10-12 steel shims with a serious lean to them. At this point, should they have not reduced the steel shims and placed another concrete block

There is never an appropriate time for steel shims within a manufactured home pier-stack. The only approved materials for a CMU stack, in addition to the CMUs, are a solid ,hardwood cap , and hardwood, or approved synthetic shims. HUD being the AHJ.

I'm fairly familiar with HUD 4930.3G and I do not recall seeing that steel shims can not be used or that synthetic shims are OK. Can you cite the the section in 4930.3G?

I would like to see this in print as I have seen many with metal shims.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

'm fairly familiar with HUD 4930.3G and I do not recall seeing that steel shims can not be used or that synthetic shims are OK. Can you cite the the section in 4930.3G?

Hello,

For the purpose of our type of work, I would suggest using HUD Title 24, Chapter XX, Part 3285 "Model Manufactured Home Installation Standards" for practical reference.

Greg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

'm fairly familiar with HUD 4930.3G and I do not recall seeing that steel shims can not be used or that synthetic shims are OK. Can you cite the the section in 4930.3G?

Hello,

For the purpose of our type of work, I would suggest using HUD Title 24, Chapter XX, Part 3285 "Model Manufactured Home Installation Standards" for practical reference.

Greg

I agree that 3285 does cover more than 4930.3G, but I still do not see where synthetic shims are OK and metal shims are not. This is the section that cover shims http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2008/ ... 85.304.pdf

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's most likely an issue with interpretation. The key, for me, is the specification of requiring shims of nominal size 4x6x1-it's actually referring to a wedge 4x6x1x0-to be driven tight. Key wording: "driven tight".

In installations using transverse beams, such as found for crawl space and basement sets, the carrying beams of the home sit on the steel transverse beams--in that instance, flat, metal shims are ideal. For sets that are on CMU piers, installers will typically use wood or synthetic wedges. Safety for installers is the prime reason for using opposing wedges as they dramatically decrease the tendency of the unit to slide, during side-to-side leveling. For the same reason of enhancing stability, manufacturers specify wood wedges (shims). As well, one never wants steel and CMU direct contact--a sure recipe for blown piers.

Are the shims you routinely see actually 4x6x1 steel wedges?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...