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swaying house


timmyhill's Avatar
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02-19-11, 09:05 AM   #1  
swaying house

I bought a house last April and I've been doing some work to it. Its a two story house with a huge attic, I've completey gutting the first floor and am currently living on the second floor.

But 'm starting to get worried about the amount of swaying I can feel in the house when the wind blows hard... 40mph maybe? Its enough to make the blinds by the windows move about half an inch and the cloths in the cloest maybe an inch in each direction.

While most of the house is torn apart I'd like to put in what ever bracing is needed to stop this movement and was wondering if any one knows a good book that could explain whats going on and how to fix it. Or is this something I should have a professional take care of.

 
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drooplug's Avatar
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02-19-11, 09:26 AM   #2  
Is there sheathing on the house? Can you take some pictures for us?

 
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02-19-11, 09:29 AM   #3  
I've completey gutting the first floor and am currently living on the second floor.
Might not be such a good idea. Do you mean removing interior walls? Had a man killed here several years ago doing that. The house literally fell on him while he was working inside it. I'd get a structural engineer out there ASAP to check it out.


I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

 
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02-19-11, 09:37 AM   #4  
From what I can tell there is the old 1" thick barn board sheathing over most of the house... I did take down one wall but it wasnt load baring. who ever put it up used the joist hangers at each end of the studs and the studs didnt even touch the top and bottom plates of the wall.

I've done a lot of work remodling houses and I also build my own furniture, so I'm handy with tools but a whole house remodel is starting to be a bit much I think. I did call a structural engineer to come look at it next week.

 
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02-19-11, 09:40 AM   #5  
Since your walls are gutted on the inside, can you see any diagonal bracing at the corners?

 
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02-19-11, 09:51 AM   #6  
oh no theres nothing like that that i've seen.

 
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02-19-11, 10:58 AM   #7  
That's probably part of your problem. What is the age of the home and where are you located? In homes that were built with plank sheathing, a diagonal brace was let into the studs on the exterior side at the corners of the house to prevent racking. These days with plywood, it is not necessary because the plywood sheets act as the bracing. Given the amount of sway you say this house has, it sounds like a very dangerous situation.

 
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02-19-11, 11:49 AM   #8  
Its about 100 years old and I'm up in Buffalo NY, so will replacing the sheathing with plywood solve the problem?

For the interior my plan was to get back to the studds, insulat like crazy then cover all the walls with 23/32 plywood then some 3/8 drywall and later as I could afford it rip off the old vinyl siding replace the old sheathing with the 3/4 dry ply then put up some cement board siding.

 
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02-19-11, 11:58 AM   #9  
I'm not sure what will solve your problem. I am not an expert in this area. I think having the engineer come out and take a look will be well worth the fee. You may only need to replace the sheathing at the corners of the house with plywood to get the bracing you need. There won't be any reason to replace the rest of it unless it was rotted. You may be able to let in some corner bracing on the interior side of the house if removing the exterior isn't feasible at the moment.

Why do you want to put plywood on the interior of the house?

 
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02-19-11, 12:13 PM   #10  
I have a friend who did that to a house he owns and it stiffened the place right up. My house is built using ballon framing and I feel like the interior plywood would help a lot, an added bonus is you never have to look for a stud when you want to hang a picuture

i did just take some pictures but its too dark down stairs for them to turn out...

So maybe putting in the diagonal bracing with the plywood could do it? How about in the attic? its all pretty open up there, its just the rafters with a few horizontal pieces ever so often.

 
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02-19-11, 04:26 PM   #11  
If the house is so old there's no sheathing and just the old clap boards on the outside there's nothing to stop the swaying, and yes it could come down. Most houses that old had 4 X 4's sitting diagnal built into the framing in the corners to stop the sway.
Is the plan to also at some point remove the old siding? If so then now would be a good time. Start 5' in from the corners, cut it along the joist and attach sheating asap to stop the sway and stablize the building. Once sheathed cover with Tyvec. The house will now be tighter then it ever has been and cost far less to heat and cool.

 
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02-19-11, 06:37 PM   #12  
I would immediately cross brace it with diagonal 16' 2X4s at all coroners. Just temporary not inset, just lag screwed to the inside face of the studs. I wouldn't remove any outside sheathing or live in it till that was done.


I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

 
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02-20-11, 04:15 AM   #13  
ray2047 - should I do this upstairs as well?

joecaption - there is sheathing on the house its the old plank stuff, at some point I would like to replace it when I reside the house but everything I do has to be in phases do to money restrictions.

I have a engineer coming tuseday to to give me a qoute of what it'll cost to get a report done on the house.

 
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02-20-11, 07:51 AM   #14  
ray2047 - should I do this upstairs as well?
I am not an engineer. Don't trust my advice but I would just do the the first floor and see how much it helped. You have an engineer coming so you can ask him.

Just curious, do the studs end at a stud plate on the first floor or extend all the way up to the top of the second floor?


I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

 
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02-20-11, 08:02 AM   #15  
ray the house was built with ballon framing so yes the studs run from the first floor to the second floor, i have thought about framing in an actual 2 x 4 wall right up against the outside walls in the inteiror of the house to give the floor joist something more to sit on then just that 1 1/2" stringer thats mortisted into the studs. but the few people i've talked about doing that say its more then over kill.

so we'll see what this engineer has to say and at $120 an hour hopefully he talks fast.

I think the biggest probelm with the house is who ever remodeled it before me was very very cheap and was only useing it as a rental property so they didnt really care about how it looked or if things were done right. Since I only paid $4,800 for I can afford to put alot of time + money into it just not all at once.

 
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02-20-11, 08:26 AM   #16  
Yeah, that mortised in stringer is good support. If it was hanging just by the nails, that would be a different story.

If you aren't already planning to do this, make sure you put blocking between each stud next to that stringer for the second floor and also down at the floor level of the first floor. That will act as a fire stop and also prevent air from flowing from the basement into the attic. Batt insulation does not stop airflow. If you don't put that blocking in your insulation will just be a big air filter and fill up with dirt. That will kill its R value.

 
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02-22-11, 12:26 PM   #17  
so the engineer came and looked things over... he gave me a quote of 375-625 for him to write his report on how much wind sheer there is on the house.

he didnt really seem like he wanted to spend too much time talking about the house with out me actually hiring him which i can under stand. he did however say that from just walking through the house and looking around quickly that he didnt get any uneasy feeling about the house. also said from what he saw that it looks to be pretty normal for a 100+ year old house and that some momement could be expected due to the way things were done way back.

 
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