Whether you're moving into a new home, preparing to sell your existing one, or just planning some maintenance, one of the most important things you need to know about your house is whether it needs restumping. Restumping, also known as reblocking, involves repairing or replacing the supports, or stumps, that hold up the building's floor. In some cases, only a few stumps need to be replaced, while in other cases the needed repairs are far more extensive.
When is restumping needed?
Two main factors can cause a need for restumping. As the ground under a building settles, the stumps can shift, pulling away from contact with the building itself and weakening the structure. The stumps can also sustain damage from damp or insects. Rot caused by moisture can be particularly dangerous because it isn't always easily visible without an inspection. In some cases, restumping can even be done to replace older stumps that don't show any obvious signs of damage.
Signs of weakened or missing stumps
As stumps fail, the building will lose support that it needs to stay upright. Inspecting a home can reveal a number of structural problems that may occur as a result. These include bowed, sagging or uneven floors, as well as cracks to internal or external walls. Another common sign is trouble opening or closing windows and doors: the frames could be warping as a result of settling.
What does restumping involve?
The first step in any restumping will be a preliminary assessment to determine the extent of the damage. This will help identify whether only a few stumps need to be replaced or whether your contractor will want to replace the old stumps with new ones. New stumps can be wooden, galvanised steel or concrete. Each has its own advantages and weaknesses: for example, wooden stumps can be less expensive, but they also wear out faster, whereas galvanised steel stumps usually carry a higher price tag but are more resistant to damage and easier to adjust. Once you've decided how many of the stumps need to be replaced, the next stage is to raise the level of the house. This can be done in sections or by lifting the whole building; it involves raising the frame on jacks to create space between the floor and the stumps. Once the old stumps are removed and new ones installed, the frame is lowered again and the installation is completed.