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Victoria
1900's Foursquare lacking floor support

Hello! 

My husband and I are remodeling a 1900's foursqare. We have taken out all of the plaster and lathe in the downstairs rooms as it was in bad condition. Prior to this I had noticed that the upstairs floors on one side of the house had a significant slope of 1"-2". When we removed everything on the walls and ceiling we were able to see that the loadbearing wall has no "beam" but two 2x4" stacked on top of eachother which have been cut in half to allow a vent to go through that is no longer in use. The floor joists that are resting on this are 2x6" and sag in the middle, some of them appear to be almost falling off the 2x4"s where they have been notched. The load bearing wall in that room is also not adaquitely supported and we were planning on fixing that by doubling up the 2x4" studs and creating a box beam with plywood over the doorway. I would like to know if anyone has had any experience dealing with this type of problem and how it was fixed. I would like to fix the support and sag issue as much as possible because when you walk upstairs everything shakes and things fall off of shelves. This issue is only on one side of the house, I'm not sure why that is we have been told that half of the house was an addition and it is possible that this is the older origional side as far as I can tell. If possible I would like to deal with this while we have everything open if it is a safety issue rather than wait. I have attached a picture of the wall, the room behind it is having the sagging issue. 

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HandyAndyInMtAiry
Re: 1900's Foursquare lacking floor support

Victoria,

There are many things that you can do. I would start by contacting a structural engineer. They will tell you exactly what to do, and the proper way to do it. If the floor upstairs moes any at all, that means that the structure is not transferring the load properly. There are some things in the picture that do not make sense. It looks as if that wall has an arc facing upward. I cannot tell if that is a concrete chimney or an old tin duct, but that needs to be removed so that you can properly create structure. It looks like the header was cut to accomadate that duct. I would replace the current wall just to remove all the cuts that are in it now. I would keep all that great wood, it can be used in many other places. That wood is nice and dry, perfect for building a house.

To repair a "sag" you need to level the floor by using jacks to make it level once again, and then secure the structure accordingly. Making sure that the load is always transferred to the foundation. You can sister other, larger joists to the ones in place. It looks like they are set at 24" centers. You may also decrease that span to 12" centers by adding a joist between the existing. Making sure that the joists rest securly on top of the header. This is part of load transfer. If the original joists are cut, knotched or split, sister another to it. Making sure the sister is properly secured over the header to support the weight above. The scructural engineer will be able to tell you what you can and cannot do. They will have the best prospective, since they are there and can see everything. Structure is nothing to play with if you do not have experience in building structure.

You may not be able to nail the sister into the current joists. I would use 2x8's or even 2x10's and bolt them thru the existing joists about ever foot or even 8 inches and stack them 3 high. That will ensure they will never part or cause issues. Also install cross bracing to ensure the entire floor becomes one large unit.

This is about all that I can recommend with what I can see.

Andrew

Handy Andy In Mt Airy.

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