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Sagging Floors and Cracked Joists

Last year, husband and I bought a house that was built in 1880. We went into it knowing that we'd have a lot of repair work to do, particularly to the foundation and joists in the basement. We have two floors that are sloping and they drive me nuts.

There are some joists that have slipped out of place in the basement, but the problem with sistering them is that all of our utilities - gas, electrical - are pretty much entwined with the joists. At this point we're considering lally columns to add support and stop any further downward movement.

Our foundation is fieldstone and desperately needs to be repointed and have some parts of it rebuilt. My question is, which repair should come first? My thought is that with the repaired foundation, some of the bounce in the floor will be corrected (some of the foundation repair that's needed is directly in relation to the floors that are the issue). But again, I have no idea.

I'm also playing phone tag with a structural engineer to get him to come out and give me a better idea on what needs to be done, but I'm hoping to get some feedback from you folks.

Re: Sagging Floors and Cracked Joists

Start at the bottom and work your way up.

Temporarily support the floor while you work on the foundation. Once that issue is finished then have at the framing. You'll be better served by removing all the old pipes and wires, this will get you all new systems which I am guessing will be a good thing.

Re: Sagging Floors and Cracked Joists

If the bounce is near the foundation, then repair the foundation may fix the bounce. If the bounce is in the middle of the room then sistering inadequate floor joist is generally called for. Personally I prefer using ¼" steel plate for the sistering. But as mentioned above fix the foundation first. If the utilities are through the joists that may have caused them to be weakened, and it will need to be redone. I have seem joists with nearly 3/4 of their width removed to run plumbing.

Re: Sagging Floors and Cracked Joists

Bounce is in the middle/opposite end of the room from the foundation, so sistering is likely in our future.

Thanks for the feedback on the foundation - that was my gut instinct, but this is all so new to us that I always like second, third and fourth opinions!

Timothy Miller
Re: Sagging Floors and Cracked Joists

Howdy, consider obtaining this book. "Residential Structure & Framing" A Journal of light Construction Book.
Then study the first seveal pages about beams and spans and how and where the buildings weight bearing.

Reads like you need to do temporary shoring to carry loads that have caused some failure in the structure and likely you have overloaded framing. So Once it is temporarily shored get a structural engineer out to view an give you a report for what needs to be done to the foundation. Then repair it first. Everything stands up because of the foundation that is why it first . The engineer can also tell you what girders, or posts or a whole bunch of additional framing members you may need and crucially importantly the proper sizing of those items to keep the home upright and your family safe.

Remember those additional opinions you need are from on site educated persons whom can address your needs. Not some folks you never met. You and have no idea what they know or don't. At best we can point you in some right directions....

Re: Sagging Floors and Cracked Joists

I'll agree with Timothy in that only a professional engineer should give you specific recommendations based on evaluations of your particular issues onsite.
No one over the internet can see the particulars of what's what at your location.
Besides, the engineer can offer several alternatives based on your conditions.

All anyone over the internet can provide are suggestions to forward onto the engineer to consider.

Things like sistering joists --- possibly yes --- perhaps addional joists placed between existing joists can be enough --- 1/4 steel plates may indeed work though they are heavy and ackward to work with --- maybe a beam and support columns midspan could be a cost effective and acceptable structual support ----- though no one knows the span , spacing , size of members , weight loads , etc. to be able say for sure other than recommendations.

Foundation --- well that's an onsite evaluation for sure.

Re: Sagging Floors and Cracked Joists

I am having the same issue....House built in 1895. The house is sagging to the middle (towards chimney). If you are in the basement looking at the cross support beam, you can clearly see it dip down about 3-4 inches as it reaches the chimney from the outer basement wall. I poured some new footings and added some concrete "i beams"...jacked it up about 1/4 inch but all I got out of it was some cracked walls and now uneven door jambs.

The floor sag needs to be brought up about 3-4 inches, contractors are telling me that is too much to raise the floor. Sistering is the only option.

Should of fixed this before I remodeled kitchen (and also had to score the cabinets so the toe kicks are all uneven as well)

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