We won’t beat around the bush on this one and simply offer this advice when it comes to your heritage home in Brisbane, or any home on stumps for that matter. Inspect the stumps whether they are timber, concrete or even steel stumps. Restumping Brisbane homes may not be one of the cheapest things you’ll do to your home, but it’s likely to be one of the smartest.
Restumping Brisbane Homes – The Why and How Of It
Charming homes of yesteryear are scattered throughout Brisbane and Ipswich, some which have been given a new lease on life, others that sit and wait for the perfect owner to bring them back to life. The typical colonial Queensland balustrading, fretwork, wrapped verandahs, stair cases and pressed metal ceilings easily sweep potential buyers and homeowners off their feet and effectively steal attention away from potential hidden disasters. It is absolutely crucial you inspect the stumps of these homes.
How to determine if restumping your Brisbane home is needed
Many Brisbane homes are built in areas with reactive clay soils and on flood plains. This introduces some of the most common reasons for restumping Brisbane homes – sinking stumps due to foundation movement, moisture absorption and termite damage.
When soil movement occurs, it may not be visually obvious by looking at the stumps themselves. But when a definite slant to the flooring is noticeable, when doors and windows don’t shut properly anymore and cracks start to appear in the tiles and walls, it’s likely your stumps are sinking.
Often you can easily see where moisture has been absorbed into the timber, evident by decay or high watermarks and sometimes termite damage is obvious, but it’s important not to get caught out by stumps that look visually satisfactory. It’s what you can’t see underneath the stumps that you really need to know about.
Take the time to dig down around the stumps to see if there is rotten timber or termite damage. Not only do you not want this to be a reason for your house sinking, you also don’t want your house to rely on only five centimeters diameter of timber to hold it up!
And don’t think you are free of problems if you have steel stumps. Steel is prone to deterioration such as rust and should be both inspected and kept free of moisture.
Action Property Inspections have the equipment and expertise to visually check your stumps during a pre purchase home inspection.
If you are purchasing a house and think it may need restumping, contact Action Property Inspections for a professional opinion.
What’s involved with restumping a Brisbane home
Often restumping Brisbane homes involves either replacing all the stumps or replacing just a few and repacking or resetting others after determining the levels of the floor using a digital level etc. If you find a couple of stumps in poor condition it’s highly likely more of them will need replacing in the near future, but Action Property Inspections can confirm their condition for you.
Once the condition of the stumps is confirmed, the restumping process can proceed. Restumping is a meticulous process bound by accuracy and safety.
The restumping process
Firstly, you are absolutely going to call in the professionals. Once they arrive onsite, the process is essentially:
- The house is slowly and slightly lifted up with hydraulic jacks in the locations where stumps need replacing/resetting.
- Existing stumps are either packed out to compensate for sinking or if they’re in poor condition, they are removed, holes are dug for the new stump and a new concrete or steel stump is put in its place and set with concrete. Concrete stumps and galvanized steel stumps are sturdier and stronger than timber stumps and are resistant to decay and termites.
- Rubbish is cleared and jacks are removed.
One of the downsides to restumping Brisbane properties is the potential damage during and after the restumping is complete. If a lot of movement has occurred in a home it means that the stumps need to be substantially brought back into line. This means that readjustment can cause warped doorframes and cracks in walls and tiles.
But, considering the overall risk of collapse or further deterioration if you don’t attend to the replacement of old stumps, a few minor cosmetic problems don’t seem too bad.
What to look for in a restumping contractor
After you have had Action Property Inspections carry out your pre purchase building inspection and inspected your stumps, choose a restumping contractor carefully. This is not a DIY project, it’s a tough and dirty job that requires specialized equipment and know-how, the integrity of your house depends on it.
We recommend seeking at least three quotes. If there is not enough detail provided on the quote, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
Quotes should include details on the materials to be used, the number of stumps to be replaced, the number of stumps to be reset or repacked and so on. In addition, it’s smart to ensure the restumping contractor includes a guarantee that they will bring your home back to level once the job is complete, that they will adhere to building and safety regulations and that they will obtain council approval prior to commencement. It’s always a good idea to seek at least two references from previous happy clients as well.
Don’t let a home that brings you so much joy bring you so much heartache by ignoring potential stump problems. Restumping Brisbane homes can be relatively stress-free if you start the process right and arrange for Action Property Inspections to carry out your pre purchase house inspection to give you a professional opinion and peace of mind.