Will told me this weekend that the support beams need to be replaced. He looked under our house and discovered several are rotten. As in about ten beams with four to six ft. sections of rotten wood.
In order to fix this, we will need to jack up the house, remove the old beam, slide in another, then sit the house down. Jacking up walls could lead to cracks in the plaster, windows falling out, floors breaking, wiring being pulled loose, and Goddess knows what else.
Not replacing the beams means the house will fall down.
And of course, there is the question of WHY the beams rotted in the first place. The one under the bathroom rotted from years of water leaks. The one under our bedroom had termite damage.
The beams are not cheap. I'm not even sure we can buy beams like the one under the house. They are huge, six by eight inches. Imagine squaring up a tree trunk. That's what my house is made of.
My father has a building that MAY have similar beams. He has told me I could use the wood before, but the deal was I couldn't tear anything down until I was ready to use the wood. It's not being used and we're pretty sure someone will burn the building down one day, not out of malice but just being stupid with a cigarette.
But there's some problems, the first being my father doesn't like Will. Dad might not let me have the wood now. And we don't know for sure that the beams are the same. I am assuming they are because both houses were built in roughly the same time. I don't know if there are enough beams. I don't know if the building code will allow using reclaimed materials. I don't know that building supply stores sell beams that big. I would imagine if they did, the beams would be really, really expensive. And while we did fix all the leaking pipes, we haven't treated for termites. Some of the beams might be under too much pressure and that's whole different repair job that probably involves rebuilding the house or at least tearing some of it down.
So that's where we are, a huge house falling down around us while we struggle to live.