I just purchased an 1840's-era balloon framed house and am hoping to get some ideas for some issues/queries I have:
First, this house is on a hill, and at some point over the past 170 years its subsided 3" or so to one side, probably due to poor water management and a crude field-stone foundation. At some point a previous owner has dug out the basement and poured couple of inches of concrete against the stone as well as the footings/floor, so the foundation is now solid. There are no signs of cracks, which makes me think there has been little/no movement since the concrete was done. I jacked the house up on the one side to make it level.
The jacking went very well, but I now have a 3" gap between the sill and foundation on one side, and a gap that tapers from 3" to nothing on two other sides. My plan was to put steel shims in every 2-3', lower the jacks so the shims are taking most of the weight, pack the space between with concrete/masonary cement, and remove the jacks entirely once it's reasonable well cured. I'm just concerned about concrete drying shrinkage, and also wonder how well I can pack masonary cement/concrete in these small areas. The sills were surprisingly solid, but they're even more crude than anything my barn is made of. I couldn't stick another plate/board on the bottom and have it reasonably seal as the faces of the sill beam are so rough and varying.
Is my plan reasonable, or is there something else I should consider?
My second question is regarding insulation: There was none in the house. It's now gutted, all the old plaster/lath removed (and 3 layers of panelling that were on top), and the newly-revealed structure is pretty creative. Studs joined 3 times between the sill and roof, oddball spacing and angles, etc. etc. Would be a complete pain to cut SM and foam it in between the studs as was my initial plan. I haven't touched the exterior and was hoping not to for some time. As far as I can tell it's vinyl siding over 1" of styrofoam, over the original wood dutch-lap siding, which is nailed right to the 1" sheathing. My plan was to spray-foam the interior between the studs right onto the inside of the sheathing. My concern is that there's no room for air flow between the vinyl and inside. There are so many layers between the ouside and the sheathing I don't see that an air cavity is necessarry for drying (at least, not until I re-do the siding), but want to make sure I'm not wrong in this assumption.
Apologies for the long post, I would greatly appreciate any thoughts.