Home>Discussions>INTERIORS>Molding & Carpentry>Uneven floors and baseboards-foundation or sill issues?
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Re: Uneven floors and baseboards-foundation or sill issues?

chimney and

Re: Uneven floors and baseboards-foundation or sill issues?

basement and

Re: Uneven floors and baseboards-foundation or sill issues?

here we go!

Beam(s) that runs up middle of basement,note cracks. Hard to see in the pick,but it sags about 2-3" sill to center

This is the basement floor. The gap in the cement runs directly below the sagging beam. Note the chimney right behind the wall.

This is one of the doorways on the first floor,directly above the sagging beam. The angle behind the door is the chimney. Note the big gap between the floor and the baseboard/doorway. Like I mentioned earlier the floor pitches AWAY from the chimney. The 2nd floor even worse.

Re: Uneven floors and baseboards-foundation or sill issues?

I don't know if it matters or not,but the town this house is in flooded in 08'. I talked to the guy in the home behind this one and he said that the water was just up to the side of the house,but no higher. I know the basement flooded though. The boiler and hw heater are both dated 08'. Town has since built a levy. But could that soaking play a part in this?

Re: Uneven floors and baseboards-foundation or sill issues?

Come on guys, only 1 idea so far? I've seen you get in 7 page long debates about pinholes in copper pipes! LOL
Just an update,kind of. I have since put an offer in on this house contingent on a home inspection AND an engineer checking out the place. I figured the more info and understanding I have going into the engineers inspection,the better off I'll be.
Any other ideas than the sills rotting? I still don't understand how the baseboard can have this gap to the floor if the floor is pitched UP already,and the support beam just below the floor is sagging?:confused:
Thanks for any help.

Re: Uneven floors and baseboards-foundation or sill issues?

It's not unusual to see the framing hanging from the central chimney mass, as the exterior foundation walls subside (usually on 200 year old houses with fieldstone foundations and gutter/drainage/sill issues) but the chimney stays at the same global height as built. It's not common to see this on a much younger house.
The beam looks like junk with the visible break between two timbers of the outside lamination. The only solution is to establish why the outer foundation/walls have dropped and stop it and then you could correct it by jacking and shimming the sill back up to the chimney height. This is best done when gutted, because the interior walls are going to be reformed to straight, not sagged.
The second floor being worse can be partially answered by the additional shrinkage of the second floor framing (as added to the shrinkage of the first floor deck; it's cumulative as you go up, the chimney stands pat)
Maybe it's as simple as your house being built with fresh-cut, green timber, of some species known for dramatic shrinkage upon drying. Fresh cut is only good for Xmas trees and flowers.

Re: Uneven floors and baseboards-foundation or sill issues?

Thanks for the info.
Do you think a 1 time flood could have hurt the foundation,or caused most of the damage? Like I mentioned, the water was just up to the house,but no higher. This happened back in 08'.

Re: Uneven floors and baseboards-foundation or sill issues?

67drake, sorry for not getting back sooner. Here is my take on the situation, someone has butchered up this basement. My take on this is that there may have been a stone wall down the center of the basement or there were a couple of stone columns and the basement floor might have just been dirt at one time.

I think I see the remnants of a footing under the slab, but nothing over it, but clearly part of the slab is new. I also suspect that house might have had a coal fired boiler and that would support the stone wall theory and explain the new slab. But what ever the case, it was done wrong.

You should use a contractor for this, but a good one. First, the wall behind the chimney will have to come out, but first, a couple of temporary supports for the beams will need to be installed. Then about a 2' square will have to come out of the slab directly below the union of the two halves of the beam. It will need to be dug out deep enough for a proper footing to be poured.

When the footing has cured, then the beam can be jacked up to level the floors above and a column installed. I would use a steel column, but a masonry column could be used if you want to spend the money. Even if I planned on a masonry column, I'd still use a steel post on the inside for support.

Once the beam is level and the column installed, the temporary supports can come down and you can proceed to finish the basement as you wish.

If you are really handy, you could do this yourself, its not rocket science. But you need to know your local building codes so that you get that footer done right and you will need some really heavy duty jacks to jack up that beam. If something goes wrong, you could end up wearing that house as a hat, not a good thing for you. If you don't already have the needed equipment, then getting it would eat up almost all the savings of DIY. Better to have a contractor, but know what needs to be done so the job is done right this time. DIY the rest of the basement.

Off the top of my head, I'd say that the footer will have to be at least 2'x2' by at least 8" deep at the very minimum, but your codes probably will require more.

edit: The damage was more likely due to an inadequate footing under the original wall or column when the house was built. It just settled over time, but the flood was probably the catalyst for the changes in the basement.

Re: Uneven floors and baseboards-foundation or sill issues?

Thanks for the reply.
Since I posted this question a few weeks ago I have since put an offer in on the house. We're in the middle of the offer/counter offer deal right now.
I talked to an engineer who is going to inspect the house (assuming Freddie Mac and I work out the offer). I'll see what he says after inspecting the house. I hope that it is something I can deal with myself. I've never had to try anything like this myself,but logic,common sense and asking a lot of questions usually gets me through things. If it looks like it will be too big of a job for me to tackle,I'll hire it out.


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