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Floor, Wall, Ceiling Slope...Fixable?


cspires's Avatar
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05-22-06, 03:02 PM   #1  
Floor, Wall, Ceiling Slope...Fixable?

Hi,

We are looking at purchasing an older home. It was built around 1940. It seems to be in good structural shape. No leaks. floors, walls, etc seem solid. Windows and doors seem to open and close without issue. Jumping up and down even in the center of rooms cause no noticeable shaking.

There is no basement only a crawlspace which gets smaller toward the back of the house. The floor is all original hardwood which appears to be in good shape but is covered by carpet and tile.

HOWEVER...we were just doing some additional inspection and noticed something we'd somehow over looked the entire time until now...

The main portion of the house...all of the original floor plan is four large equal size rooms. It has no hallway. It is just a big square with two walls cutting across the middle in both directions dividing it into four equal sections. The front two room, as well as the additions, are nice and level. The back two rooms though are not.

Starting about half way across both rooms they both slope in towards the back center point of the wall...the back center point of the original house and floor plan. In fact, the door frames themselves, as well as the ceiling slope or slant right along with the floors. It appears that the entire house was just build incorrectly in the middle back section.

The home has 10 foot ceilings so there is some room up top to play with. My question is...is this fixable? Is it worth even trying to fix? Or should we just look elsewhere. Otherwise the home seems great...but this obviously could be a problem.

All help and advice are greatly appreciated!
Chris

 
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chandler's Avatar
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05-22-06, 04:09 PM   #2  
Do you have any cracks in any of the walls, ceiling, etc.? Using a 4' level, lay it at one of the interior walls and point it outward. Raise it until it is level, and report the space under the level. If it is no more than 1/4" or so, I would not do anything. Sounds like you have a solid building, for being built in the 40's.
If the slant is noticeable to walk on or is in excess of 1/2", you may need to inspect the outer wall from under the house to see if the sill plate has termite or dry rot damage and has collapsed. It is fixible, so don't panic if that is the case. Let us know what you find out.

 
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05-22-06, 04:33 PM   #3  
Thanks for responding so quickly Larry.

We have a home inspector coming by tomorrow. So I'll try to get some additional information from him on this.

The slant is definately more than 1/4" The problem is that there as a piece of furniture in the corner of one of the rooms and a refrigirator in the corner of another...with those two things and the fact that I was apparently being blinded by the little things...we just didn't notice.

I want to make sure I'm saying this correctly. It's not just the floor. The ceiling, door frames etc all slant down to this point exactly the same. They run parallel to each other. It almost gives the feel that it was made this way originally.

If that is the case, if the frame was made this way originally, is THAT possible to fix without major reconstruction? Also, if the idea of the dry rot or termite damage turns out to be true, how much of a job are we talking here?

I was actually trying to sketch out a fix. Seemed if the floor actually is as solid as it seems, we could just build it up and level. Reframe the doors, and call it done. I know that's a LOT more work than I'm thinking, but is that a possibility? Or is this a case where the entire frame of the house would have to be corrected?

Thanks again!

 
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05-22-06, 06:47 PM   #4  
If it was built that way, then raising it may cause more problems down the road, such as cracks in the sheetrock, not only in that room, but throughout. Bring it to the attention of the inspector and have him check that particular area under the house. If it is due to a rotted or bug infested sill plate, then it would require slowly (over a period of a month) jacking the house up from the crawl space and replacing the sill plate. Slowly to reduce possiblity of cracking the lumber that has been accustomed to being bent for so long.
Post back what the inspector finds. Curious.

 
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05-23-06, 02:04 PM   #5  
Well the owners apparently "forgot" to have the gas and water turned on today so we weren't able to finish the inspection.

From what they were able to see wihtout going under the house this appears to be due to the structure settling decades ago. Whoever owned the place at that time then covered, or replaced, the plaster walls in the back with sheetrock. They also apparently redid the casing for the windows and doors in the back area. That is why it appeared to have been built this way and why no cracks etc are apparent.

The inspector couldn't say this with 100% assurance without first inspecting under the house, but they are failry sure. They also said that this is common of these homes in the area and time period we're looking. Also that there is no real fix for this which wouldn't just cause additional more extensive problems elsewhere.

So I guess that means we're back to looking for another home to buy. At least I've learned a little in the process...and saved myself the inspection bill since he isn't charging me for the little bit he was able to do today.

Thanks for your help and info! I'm sure I'll be posting again in the near future.

Chris

 
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