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Floor Joist Crack

Hey Folks! 

So a few nights ago my partner and I heard a few extremely loud bangs coming from the house.  It was late at night, and hard to pinpoint but it sounded like someone dropping a whole frozen chicken on the floor.  We're in Minnesota and we have had record cold, as well as record snow this year.   

Few days later, I noticed several large cracks in one of the floor joists in the basement ceiling that I'm 98% sure were not there before.  All of the information and videos I've found (Some here on This Old House) show cracked joists that are split right where they join at a load baring beam, but these are all in the middle.  

My question is, do I need to get a structural engineer out here to take a look at all this?  Is this normal? (I'm guessing no) and How worried should I be?   

House was built in early 60s.  This particular joist we believe was installed as part of a remodel in 2005 by previous owners.

Image icon Download joist.jpg (109.94 KB), Image icon Download joist_2.jpg (252.93 KB)
Re: Floor Joist Crack


I would be more concerned with the awful job someone did of installing the scabs between the joists. Large, long joists have a tendency to crack and split because they were installed before fully dry. This will also cause the wood to warp a little, as I see it is doing. No need for an Engineer, this can easily be repaired by anyone with a 2nd grade education of carpentry. I also see a pipe that is wrapped in black tape or cloth. That is the wrong type of pipe hanger. Even that could have caused movement and caused the wood to break. Check the scab and pipe hanger there. It should not be tight. That pipe should have free play to move. Then replace that pipe hanger with the correct type.

What was removed in the floor above? Why is the floor raising at an angle? What is the purpose of the scabs? I see no use for them from the pictures.


Handy Andy In Mt Airy NC

Re: Floor Joist Crack

Hi Andrew!

Thanks for the info on the Joist, we'll have a carpenter tome out and repair it, I wasn't sure how severe/dangerous it was.

As for the scabs there, they ARE rough.  There is a non load-baring wall sitting on the floor just above those scabs.  It would have been done as part of a remodel since they had moved the staircasefrom the middle of the house to where it is now, coming down just behidn me while I was taking those pictures.  The wall upstairs runs length wise between those floor joists, so I'm guessing that's why those scabs are there.  The smaller patch-looking peices of plywood are there since they extended a tile floor for some reason all the way allong that same seam into the living room.  So my guess is those little patches are there to bridge the gap between the hardwood flooring up above and to allow somewhere for the mason to lay his tile.  

That pipe is going to the outside spigot and is wrapped in a kind of puddy-like insulation kinda thing.  I'll get the correct hangers and make sure it has some play in there, I didn't know that was the wrong thing to use.  


Thank you so much for the reply!  First house, and we're learning a lot.



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