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sagging girder in garage, or one side of house is sinking.....

sagging girder in garage, or one side of house is sinking.....


Old 02-15-14, 09:31 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: United States
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sagging girder in garage, or one side of house is sinking.....

I purchased a house last year, which was built in 1987. Half of the house was piered the year before I bought it. I recently noticed major floor creaks/squeaks on the 2nd floor, then noticed some minor drywall cracks through the house. Additionally, I noticed the girder on the north side of my house seemed to be sagging, or at least the steel post was "pushing up" on the girder, creating the image that something was bending or sagging.

Two structural engineers came out to my house, and they both had no idea what was happening with the house. All they could tell me was to "monitor the house." $750 down the tubes, there.

I bought a laser level and took the following photos. The laser level cross-hairs are on the steel post and girder intersection. To the left, you will see the difference in height (the laser-level is "self-leveling") of about 1". To the right, there seems to be minor sag, but levels off at the end of the house, even with the steel post.

I am thinking about slowly (about 1/4 turn every couple of days) backing off/lowering the steel post to even this out. I'm assuming this might have something to do with the floor squeaks, where load-bearing walls and the floor meet on the 2nd floor.

Any advice/suggestions? I've given up on structural engineers in my area.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Old 02-15-14, 10:24 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
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Lowering the support post would be the wrong way to go. The needed adjustment is to raise the sag. Easier said than done. If you push the sag up to level or above and then sister a new beam along side you have brought the floor back to where it started, almost. Regular 2x material shrinks as it drys over time and that is difficult to compensate for. But it also sags and that needs to be adjusted as much as possible. However, you will find that the rest of the house has adjusted to accommodate the sag and it will oppose any adjustments. Cracks in walls or doors that don't close correctly are possible side effects.

Your primary concern is to stabilize whatever is moving.

Old 02-15-14, 04:20 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: United States
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Well, a few of the doors don't close or align with the door latch, already. This confuses me because there aren't any drywall cracks associated directly with the doors.

The drywall cracks are mainly in the area of the house that was piered. The company said it was due to "settling" and heaving of the clay soil.
Old 02-15-14, 05:50 PM
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I don't think there is any way we can be of help based on the limited amount of information you have provided. We have no idea of the shape of the house... of the location of piers, of the location of load bearing walls, and the pictures in the garage also don't help us get a clear picture either. If you could somehow provide a detailed framing plan of the house, along with a very detailed map of the house plan depicting what's level, what's not... (checking the floors/ceilings in each of the rooms with a long level both lengthwise and crosswise) along with the locations of your new piers...maybe we could figure something out. But I highly doubt you can provide that kind of information and if 2 structural engineers couldn't figure anything out in person, how could we possibly do so from hundreds of miles away?

Certain types of clay soils are expansive, meaning they exert hydraulic pressure as they get wet and expand. So it's entirely possible that this problem is the result of poor soil, poor drainage or poor site preparation (poor soil compaction, or maybe it was built on backfill) which would go clear back to when house was built.

It sounds like your house may have the same problems as the leaning tower of Pisa. Perhaps it could become Kansas next tourist attraction.

I do know that the ground has frozen extremely deep this year as a result of the hard winter. If this problem has changed dramatically over the winter, it could be possible that frost (ground heaves when it freezes) has something to do with it. Those posts "should be" on a footing that is below frost, and should be unaffected by frost.

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