Home>Discussions>INTERIORS>Molding & Carpentry>Sagging Floors, Multiple Contractor Suggestions.?!
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Sagging Floors, Multiple Contractor Suggestions.?!


My husband and I bought a 1931 Colonial. There is some sagging that is in the middle of the home. Our Dinning room slants as well as the kitchen and the staircase does as well... Nothing we didn't know about. It's not a horrible sag but it's enough to notice. Our home inspector felt confident the house was sound and quickly clammed me about it.

We have had several contractors come in the house to look at the issue...

We have one Iron beam that is the main support of the home. Where the sag is occur there is a 14 foot span without support. We have had one contractor say we need a support beam in this area and they would jack-up the floor until level. They would have to re-route steam heating pipes to put the beam in. While they where jacking the back of the home they would level the main beam as well... They would only move the floors 1/8th an inch a day. He did say some small cracks can occur. This contractor, as you can image, is expensive due to the moving of the steam pipes.. Plus I"m VERY nervous about them moving 80 year old steam pipes... I just keep thinking of the movie Money Pit....

The second contractor had a completely different take on the situation. He said NO JACKING... He expressed this could cause more issue than we might expect. Everything from causing our toilets to leak, major cracking walls, to making things more of a mess... She suggested just building a support wall in the basement. This would stabilize the sag and just deal with the crooked floors. This contract has lived in old homes and told us to save our money on jacking up the house and make improvements else where...

Now I'm completely at a loss as to what to do.. .My husband likes the second contractors suggestion b/c A) he can do it himself and B) it's cheaper.

I like the leveling the floors out better but worry about cracking walls and moving the steam pipes...

I'm having another contractor come out but I need some more advice I guess...

Re: Sagging Floors, Multiple Contractor Suggestions.?!

There's pros and cons to what both contractors have proposed.
If you want to try and level out the floors by jacking then yes there will be consequential damages. Those can be minimized by doing this slowly over the course of a long time since it took 80 years to get where it is now.

As the second contractor suggests by just leaving things as they are and just stabilizing could be less issues. However, just saying building a support wall under the floor structure is somewhat generic since this load carrying structure will be resting on the basement floor. The question is the basement floor substantial enough to carry this load? Otherwise a support beam with colums on appropriate footings would be more permanent.

Re: Sagging Floors, Multiple Contractor Suggestions.?!

I felt the wall was a generic idea as well... I really don't want a wall built down the back half of the basement anyway... I didn't understand why a beam could not have just put in for support and not do the jacking (although I would look a level kitchen floor)... I feel a wall would not be enough and we need footers or something b/c all the weight from the back of the house is going to be resting on a structure made of 2x4's supported by the basement floor... We kept stressing to the second contractor that were were going to re-due the kitchen, adding weight with more cabinets and that we felt we needed more support... But he still felt this would be sufficient.

Re: Sagging Floors, Multiple Contractor Suggestions.?!

Leveling can be a problem. When I jacked up my stair and hallway to get it level one wall blew out almost all the plaster. And I jacked it slowly. It doesn't always happen but it can. Usually if the house has settled mush the plaster had already cracked and been repaired, jacking can cause those cracks to open again.

Unless the plumbing is directly over the jacked area it should not be a problem.

Sometimes it's netter to stabilize and look at the flaw as character unless you are willing to go the extra mile.

Re: Sagging Floors, Multiple Contractor Suggestions.?!

To be honest it might be worth an investment of a few dollars and call in an engineer. This person would be able to evaluate the situation first hand and provide you with acceptable solutions without any doubts.
Then have the contractors bid on the recommended solution from the engineer.

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