Sagging Floor in a 1910's Victorian

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Old 10-29-12, 06:19 AM
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Sagging Floor in a 1910's Victorian

Hi All,

I am looking at purchasing my first house and have a question about fixing some sagging floors. The house is a mid 1910's Victorian in Minneapolis, MN. There is a chimney stack that runs up the middle of the house where the old Gravity Heat used to vent, tt has since been replaced with a furnace that vents through it along with a Hot Water Heater. The floors on the first floor and possible the second floor seem to be sagging directly around this chimney. It only seems to be within a few feet of the chimney and probably sags about an inch from high point to low point. How would I go about raising this? I would guess I need to pour some new footings and replace the current wood column with an adjustable steel column and slowly (maybe a turn a day?) raise it up to level? Any advice would be helpful, I am pretty handy, but just have never run across this problem before. Also, can I remove the chimney (it is approximately 2'x2') and vent the Furnace and HWH out the side of the basement?

Thanks in adcance everyone. Also, my first post on here, it seems like a great place to get advice.
 
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Old 10-29-12, 07:08 AM
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Welcome to the forum.
Being that you haven't purchased the home yet, I'd have an inspector and or a structural guy in to confirm what the cause of the slope is. This would help identify potential other issues resulting to or as a result of the sloping. This could help drop the cost of the home to cover the repairs.

As for the chimney, I have one in the middle of my house, about the same size. My boiler vents out the side of the house, leaving the chimney where it stands inside the house. I'll be removing it in the future.
Moving to a side exit chimney might be safer and save you a bit on your insurance. I'm not sure about down there, but here, insurance companies do not like the chimney in the middle of the structure, and as a result, if it's active, you are going to pay for it.
 
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Old 10-29-12, 09:16 AM
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Before making an offer on the place, it would be helpful if you had a few estimates (written quotes, on company letterheads) from contractors with experience in dealing with sagging floors. The floors and their supports could be far more extensive (and expensive) to correct than you think they are. Having a hard number in hand at the negotiating table will be helpful for you, could save you a big chunk of $$$, and you always have the option of making the corrections yourself later should you decide to do so.

Home inspectors are not typically qualified to provide cost estimates for more complex repairs such as this one might turn out to be. If it was me, I'd bring an engineer into the picture as well, who could point me in the right direction as to the type and extent of corrections required.
 
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Old 10-29-12, 11:00 PM
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I am looking at purchasing my first house and have a question about fixing some sagging floors. The house is a mid 1910's Victorian in Minneapolis, MN. There is a chimney stack that runs up the middle of the house where the old Gravity Heat used to vent, tt has since been replaced with a furnace that vents through it along with a Hot Water Heater. The floors on the first floor and possible the second floor seem to be sagging directly around this chimney. It only seems to be within a few feet of the chimney and probably sags about an inch from high point to low point. How would I go about raising this? I would guess I need to pour some new footings and replace the current wood column with an adjustable steel column and slowly (maybe a turn a day?) raise it up to level?
We spent ~$15,000 lifting and leveling our 1908 Queen Anne, which cost us only a little more than twice that to purchase, in the early 1980s. That cost does not include the cost of removing the patches in the plaster on the walls directly above, and re-patching after the raise.

Most of that work was done around the central chimney, which was the furnace vent. House jacks and a railroad jack were used, and a short section of street car rail still supports the king joist we needed to raise. A steel post with a screw end would have buckled before the framing even budged.

That said, we considered it money well spent. It got a total of six doors hanging and swinging plumb and level, including the pocket door pair with multi-pane windows in them between the front and rear halls. Would we do it again? Yes. But it would have been a big help to have seen it going in.

House moving companies are experienced in doing this work, and equipped for it. That's who we hired to do our work.
 
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