Useful articles on Restumping from our archives at Black & White House Raising services in Brisbane, Gold and Sunshine Coasts.

man in construction site talking into a walkie talkie

The Value of Experienced House Raising and Restumping Companies

Comparing an experienced house raising company to a new one is really a bit like comparing chalk and cheese. The expectation is very different as both are bringing different attributes to the job.

You may have heard the story about the large container ship that would not start. The company called in many different engineers, some of whom were the best in the world and nobody could get the engine to start. Eventually they called in a very old man, who had worked on ships his whole life. The first thing he did was look over the ship from top to bottom. Then he took a small hammer and gently hit the engine in one particular spot and the engines roared into life. He sent them a bill for $10,000. When they asked for the bill to be itemised he sent a reply which said: ‘1. Tapping with a hammer $2 and 2. Knowing where to tap ‘$9998’.

When Albert Einstein said that ‘the only source of knowledge is experience’, he summed up in those seven words exactly why choosing an experienced house raising company is going to be your best choice over a new and inexperienced company. But let us break it down in even more detail by looking at a couple of different aspects of it.

Experienced Staff

When choosing a company to do your house raising work for you, you are basically choosing a group of people to become a part of your life for a period of time. The process of house raising can take some time, and as such, these people will become a part of the family. It is in your best interest to choose credible people who are going to be trustworthy. An established company will have this on their side, with staff that they have worked with over a period of time, that they will be able to guarantee are going to do the right thing by their colleagues as well as you, the customer. A new company does not have this track record on its side, which means that there could be a risk involved in the people who are brought on the scene.

Equipment and Site Management

It is true that a newer company would likely have newer equipment, which may be more attractive than an older company that would generally have older equipment. But which company would have a better idea about how to use that equipment? The experienced company would know the best way to use the apparatus based on the terrain that it is being used in, because they would likely have experienced many different scenarios that the newer company may not have done.

As far as site management goes, the newer company may not have the most effective management protocols in place. However, a more established company would have already spent years troubleshooting and working out exactly the best way to go about doing the work and managing all aspects of the renovation.

A well-established company such as Black & White Houseraising & Restumping have the years of experience that ensure the quality of their work as well as countless different types of jobs under their belt, which would assist them in the quoting and advising stages of the process.

Find Out If your House Raising and Restumping Company Has Insurance

Choosing the company that is going to be the right one for you will encompass many different factors and while price will definitely be an important factor, it should not be the deciding factor. What should really float your boat is a company’s track record with safety and insurance with previous jobs, so it pays to do your homework and ask all the meaningful questions before you sign on the dotted line.

The typical Australian way of ‘she’ll be right mate’, and ‘we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it’ are ways of operating that simply will not work when it comes to the task of raising a house. This level of renovation is big, and worth taking seriously enough to the point of ensuring that you are hiring a company that also takes it seriously. When it comes to house raising and restumping one of the most important questions you will want to ask is about insurance, and here is why.

Protection for Your Property

When we take into account Murphy’s Law, of what can go wrong, will go wrong, if not prepared for it – we can understand why having the correct insurance is of the upmost importance. 9 times out of ten, nothing will go wrong, but as good old Murphy can attest to, if we are not prepared, or fail to insure ourselves against something going wrong, it most definitely will. In the case of raising a house having the appropriate insurance for something going wrong, is very important as things going wrong with this situation, means that things could go very, very wrong. The kind of wrong that you just want to be able to hand over to someone else to sort out for you.

Protection for Yourself and Your Family

Peace of mind of knowing that there are protections in place for yourself and your family in any situation that occurs, is worth more than gold when it comes to the crunch. Be sure to employ a company that will look after you like they would look after their own, as you never really know what may happen. Life has a funny way of giving us interesting lessons along the way, but having the assurance of a company that has the correct insurance is going to be one less thing that you need to worry about if things go pear shaped.

Protection for Your Employees

When somebody is on your property, the law usually states that you are responsible for them if they hurt themselves, even if it is by a fault of their own making. When choosing a company that has the correct insurance you will be assured that whatever happens, the people who are on your property are also going to be protected. Don’t be a goose, give Black & White Houseraising and Restumping a call and have a gander at what they have to offer.

wood and concrete

All About Rot-Resistant Stumps

No matter what we are talking about, the foundations of anything are the most important as this is what everything else is built upon. Weak foundations lead to a weak structure, which is more prone to the elements that it is exposed to, whereas stronger foundations provide a good base to start building upon. Whether you are building a new dwelling, relocating your home or restumping an existing home, choosing stumps that will go the distance is of the upmost importance.

In the early years of colonialism and following the settlement in this country, the choice of stumps was always timber, which is the most readily available material, and is long lasting. With the development of newer materials such as concrete and steel, the timber stumps were often replaced as the new stumps were considered to be a better choice. However, in recent times, hardwood timbers have resurged and, despite the fact that they are not as hard wearing as steel or concrete, they are still a popular choice.

Hardwoods

The benefits of using hardwood timbers is that often they are easier materials to use, as they fix to the floor bearings more easily than concrete and steel and they are easier to work with. They are also a lot cheaper than concrete stumps, but they do not last the same length of time before needing replacement; they are also susceptible to deterioration through weather and pests, such as termites.

Deterioration of the stumps can cause a lot of damage to the building in the form of cracking in internal and external walls, sloping floors, windows and doors jamming and possibly plumbing issues. Another factor that needs to be considered when choosing what sort of stumps to use is the soil quality. In Queensland the stump of choice is often the copper chrome arsenate treated pine timber as it is a strong hardy material that can easily be attached to the floor bearers. In other Australian states such as Victoria, the red gum is a popular choice of stump for re-stumping.

Concrete

A more costly, but more effective choice of stump are concrete stumps, which are available in different varieties. They are the most hard wearing of stumps, and except for in extremely damp conditions, they will usually last indefinitely. Choosing the right concrete stump for your home will depend on the floor bearing so it is important to speak with someone who knows their stumps, such as Black & White Houseraising & Restumping, who will be able to give you expert advice on all your re-stumping needs.

people discussing in a workplace

Five Steps In Choosing The Right Restumping Company For You

Let’s be realistic, having your house restumped is a big deal. There is much to think about and a lot to take into consideration. It will require a period of time when you may have to live away from your house while the work is being done. It may be an expensive exercise. It will require a team to get the job done properly. We have broken it down into some steps that you can take to get the ball rolling.

Step 1 – Planning and Design

The first step is the planning stage. During this stage, you will need to plan what work you need doing and prepare a design of what you want as the end result. A great idea is to combine your restumping with some renovations, which could provide extra space underneath your home. You may need to do some research at this stage to work out what equipment will be needed to do the exact work that you have planned and to see which companies have the equipment and experience you require. Joining online forums for this area is another great way of getting information from people who have already gone through a similar experience.

Step 2 – Work Out Your Budget

The next step is to work out how much money you have available for doing the job. Budgeting is as important as planning, as it may also help you with other aspects of completing the job such as sourcing used materials that will save you money.

Step 3 – Research Different Companies

Looking at all of your options in terms of experience, quality of work and cost are important aspects to consider when researching which company you will employ to do the work. You may have already received some tips from people on the forums that you have joined, which will help you to make an assessment of the companies from which you want to get quotes.

Step 4 – Get Some Quotes and Information

When it comes to getting quotes, there is no harm in getting as many as possible. Most reputable companies will be happy to give you a free quote and inspection of the area and then advise on their price as well as providing useful information. The company that can deliver on the areas of expertise, quality equipment and price is going to be a winner, but really see how you feel and follow your instincts.

Step 5 – Engage Your Restumping Company

Let the fun begin. Once you have engaged the company of your choice and set a date, it will all start happening.

materials used for restumping

Techniques For Restumping Your Home

There are two basic techniques for restumping a home, with three different types of materials that are available to be used. Although it is not always easy to tell if the stumps need to be replaced, there are some signs to look out for that may indicate that the stumps need replacing:

  • If you notice that windows or doors are getting jammed and appear to not open and close smoothly.
  • If there are cracks in the brickwork or plastering on the walls.
  • If floors that are uneven or don’t seem to be level anymore.

Partial Restumping

If you have had all of your stumps checked and have come to the conclusion that some, but not all need to be replaced, you could opt for a partial restumping. This method would rely on you trusting that the stumps that you think are still OK are actually still OK. Looks can be deceiving, especially in the case of wooden stumps, which could look fine above ground but could be deteriorating underneath the ground. If this is the case and you only replace some of them, then you may have to get someone back for a costly exercise sooner than you think, in order to replace the ones that are deteriorating.

A partial restumping involves lifting the part of the house up where the stumps need to be replaced and replacing the old stump with a new one, which will then be packed out to allow for the house settling into its foundations again.

Full Restumping

In the case of an old house, especially if it is one with wooden stumps, it is in your best interest to do a full restumping where you replace all of the stumps with either concrete or steel stumps. This would mean jacking the whole house up and replacing all of the stumps before settling the house back down onto its fresh new stumps.

Concrete, Wood or Steel

The three options for stumps are concrete, wood or steel. As one might imagine, steel and concrete tend to last a little bit longer than wooden stumps because they are not the tastiest food for borers. Having said that, each different material has benefits that make it useful depending on the individual situation and what is needed. Wooden stumps are usually made from hardwood that has been treated with CCA, while concrete stumps contain reinforced steel. Steel stumps are usually the hardest wearing, as they are not affected by borers. For more information about your restumping needs, talk to one of our experts at Black & White Houseraising & Restumping, and we will see the job for ourselves and provide advice specifically for you.

dark beach clouds

What Weather Conditions Are Destroying Your Wooden Stumps?

If you live in a timber house on wooden stumps, you will want to be sure that everything is in order and that you are having your stumps down below checked regularly for signs of degradation from both weather and boring insects. If it is not checked regularly, you could be in for a nasty surprise, which you won’t be aware of until you start seeing signs of decay up top. One question that we get asked often here at Black and White Houseraising and Restumping is what weather conditions contribute to the degradation of wooden house stumps. Well, we can tell you a few different weather conditions that are not going to do your stumps any favours.

Flooding

Flooding is one weather event that is surely going to cause problems for your stumps. Even if your house is above the flood waters, there’s a good chance that some part of your stumps is going to be exposed to moisture. If the water does not drain away properly, and pools around your stumps, it can cause a lot of damage to your foundations, which may leave your stumps susceptible to becoming food for hungry termites or their cousins. Ensure that all water drains well away from your foundations to prevent turning your stumps into a three course meal.

Strong Winds

Wind and rain together are not going to be a good friend to your stumps, as again, this could cause excess moisture to degrade the strength of your stumps against degradation. But most importantly, strong winds blow everything everywhere, which could cause drain pipes and other important plumbing areas to become loose and start a drip where you cannot see. Over time, and left undiscovered, a small drip can do a lot of damage to wood structures, leaving your wooden stumps exposed to moisture for long periods, and making them a tasty meal for insects.

Warmer Months

When we are talking about insects that like to eat wood, we need to consider when these insects are most on the hunt for food sources. Worker termites are the ones that go out to locate a food source and feed the rest of the family, but the reproductives are the new Kings and Queens in waiting. When their wings are fully developed, during the warmer months, they will swarm away from the current nest and set up a new colony wherever there is a food source. This is why it is important to ensure that you do not have any dead or rotting timber lying around in your garden, as this will attract them.

house construction

Most Ideal Environments For Restumping

As you might imagine, restumping a house can be a pretty big job. We are lifting a house up, removing its foundations and replacing them with fresh ones. Depending on the environment where the work is being done, the job can be either easy, or hard to access with all of the equipment.

But if it has got to be done, it has got to be done. At Black and White Houseraising and Restumping, we believe that anything is possible, and that every success is achievable. Having said that, after all of our years of working in the business we definitely have our favourite environments for restumping. There are a number of different factors that contribute to the toughness, or ease with which the house is rebirthed with a new set of stumps. Here are some of our ideal environments for restumping…

Flat and Dry Hard Surfaces

The flatter the surface underneath the house, the better, because it allows easier access to all areas where there may be stumps. If you imagine a house weighs around 36-72 tonnes – when we jack it up, we use big machines to do the lifting, the same way you would with a car, but a LOT more weight bearing ability. The quality of the surface and the stability of the ground underneath is an important factor that assists the process of how much equipment we will need to stabilise the house in its position. If there is a lot of moisture such as flooding, or a water course, it could make the ground unstable, which would require more equipment to ensure the safety of the building and its contents.

Adequate Sub-Floor Space

The amount of space that is available to get under the house is another factor of the environment that will impact the efficiency of the process of raising the house. If the areas under the house are easily accessible, this allows for ease as we do the restumping work. The more height that is there already, the better!

Minimal Vegetation

Access to all of the foundation areas, including the plumbing without the hindrance of vegetation is another optimal environment that is ideal for restumping. When buying a house that has stumps for its foundations, be mindful of where you are planting around the house, and be prepared for losing some of your vegetation in the event of needing new stumps, which could be anywhere from 10-70 years in the future. Some stumps need replacing every ten years, while others will last a lot longer, depending on weathering and pests. So talk to us about the right stumps for your needs and budget.

Top Five Benefits Of Restumping Your House

Anyone who has a house on stumps or a home built in a flood prone area is usually well aware of their nemesis – moisture. This is especially if the house is built on wood stumps. Many of the older style Queenslander houses were built on hardwood stumps, which are a very durable material, but over time, even they can tend to start to deteriorate through exposure to moisture and pests. Having your house restumped is the best way to ensure that you are safe from any impending disasters that could threaten your home and your family’s security.

Know What’s Happening Below

They say that what you don’t know can’t hurt you, but when it comes to house stumps, the opposite could be said. You may be casually going about your day to day life, without realising that underneath you things are not in the best condition. Unless you know what you are looking for, house stumps could look ok from the outside, while inside the wood could be deteriorating rapidly due to pests and weather. Having them restumped is one way to assess the state of your stumps and have the peace of mind of knowing that you have at least another ten years up your belt.

Keep the Dreaded Dry Rot at Bay

Old houses that have been sitting on the same wooden stumps for a long period of time are very likely to have dry rot in places, which could make its way up into your house. These days, when houses are restumped, the materials used are manufactured specifically to prevent this happening, where previously the technology was not there that we have today. When you have your house restumped, you are given the option of choosing fresh hardwood, concrete or galvanised steel. The latter is much stronger and gives more protection against dry rot. During the restumping process, you may be able to assess any rot that has already made it up into the beams of the house, and have them replaced too.

Add Extra Space

A key benefit of restumping your house is the chance to add on extra rooms. As families grow, it sometimes feels a bit like living in a sardine tin, but extending your house can give everyone more room to grow without getting on each other’s nerves.

Protect Your Stuff

For flood victims often the most heart wrenching part of the experience is losing their memorabilia and important personal items that are lost due to exposure to moisture. Black and White Houseraising and Restumping provides you the opportunity to lift your precious items higher off the ground, to give some extra breathing space from rising waters.

Increase the Resale Value of Your House

If you are planning to sell your house any time in the near future, or if you are renovating with a resell in mind at some stage, restumping is one aspect that will make your house look very attractive to would-be buyers. Often when people assess a possible house purchase, they will be looking at the future maintenance work that will need to be carried out. Having fresh stumps is like having a clean bill of health for your house, which could allow you to push the price up a bit further than you may otherwise have done.

Top Five Steps To Finding The Right House Raising Company For You

Most people are under the impression that only the old-style Queenslander houses are the variety that can be raised, but this is a misconception. In actual fact, most residential houses can be raised, especially if you have the right company to do the work. The reasons for people wanting to raise their houses are varied, but it will usually be because they either want to make more space, there are foundation problems or water damage that requires urgent attention, or both. Here are five steps to finding the right contractor for you.

Assess the Work

Your first step is to decide what you actually want to get done. This means making a detailed list of what work you need to have completed, as well as how you are going to go about doing it. Depending on the work that you are having done, there may be some contractors who can handle the majority of the work, or you may need to bring in various contractors from different fields.

Research Companies

Doing your research is going to assist you with getting a good look at who is available in your area and what they are able to do. During your research, you might want to consider how much experience the company has had with the type of work that you need done. Usually a company that has been in the business for a long period of time, will not only have the best equipment but will also be able to put you in touch with other contractors that you may need. Be sure to make some calls to get as much information as possible about each company before you make your decision. Then narrow it down to a list of two or three, so that you can get a couple of quotes in order to make comparisons.

Get a Free Quote

Organise with the companies on your shortlist for them to come and give you a quote. Companies that have been in the business for a while, such as Black and White Houseraising and Restumping, will generally offer a free quote. This will usually involve an initial phone call and then someone from the company visiting your home to assess the work and providing you with a quote.

Can They Work within Your Timeframe?

Another part of choosing the correct company is by assessing when you want the work done and whether the company can fit in within your timeframe. There may be a waiting list or your first choice of company may not be available when you want the work done, which means you could change your dates to suit them, or find a company that can accommodate your needs.

Book a Company and Start Preparing Your Home

Once you have made your choice your house raising company will provide you with a checklist of what needs to be done to prepare. Follow their instructions to ensure that there are not issues when the work is being done.

Timber Stumps VS Concrete Stumps: Which One Is Better For Your Home?

Which is better? Timber stumps or concrete stumps? This question comes up every time someone is looking to restump a house, and it isn’t one that can be answered easily. This is because there is no clear cut, black and white answer. There are many different variables that contribute to how either concrete or timber stumps perform, so let us take a look at those and go from there.

Why Stumps Sink

The main issue that comes into play with houses that sit on stumps is that the stumps will sink, which affects the distribution of the houses weight, which, in turn, leads to the house not balancing properly on its foundations. The fact is that both types of stumps will sink, but for different reasons, so it is important to look at the soil quality around the area as well as the rest of the foundations and how they have been built. Some locations will benefit from using a different type of stump, so there is no definitive answer except to assess the situation on a case by case basis.

Termites and Dry Rot

When it comes to wooden stumps, your worst enemy is going to be termites and other borers. As they bore, they push the dirt up into the middle of the stump, which affects the distribution of the weight. This, in turn, causes issues with the structural integrity of the foundations being able to hold the house in place and it may start to sink in some places, causing a lot of damage along the way. Dry rot is another issue that is common with wooden stumps, with overexposure to moisture causing irreparable damage. Most of the timber we use in stumps nowadays is treated with CCA (Copper Chrome Arsenic), which usually helps with these problems, but the stumps need to be replaced every ten years or so.

Soil Quality

One thing that will also affect wooden stumps is the quality of the soil in which they are being placed, and whether the structure has been adequately fortified. Some areas that have black soil will be prone to sinking so this needs to be taken into account during the planning and preparation stages to ensure that all necessary precautions have been taken.

Cracking and Reinforcement

With cement stumps, your main issue is going to be with cracking. In the past we needed to use old crushed concrete for making the stumps but these days, we are able to use other recycled materials, which allows us to produce stronger quality concrete stumps. If you are using concrete stumps, it is important to ensure that the steel reinforcing rods are not rusted, otherwise this can cause problems as well by putting too much pressure on the stumps.

The best way to ensure that you get the right stumps that tick all the boxes for you, is to talk to an expert and get the best advice you can – give us a call today at Black and White Houseraising and Restumping.