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tiny old cape cod/bungalow/cottage w/ 2x6 finished attic floor joists questions

tiny old cape cod/bungalow/cottage w/ 2x6 finished attic floor joists questions

Old 05-04-14, 10:02 AM
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tiny old cape cod/bungalow/cottage w/ 2x6 finished attic floor joists questions

The facts:
Home built btwn 1920-1940, balloon frame construction.

home is TINY--3 rooms, 2 rooms on 1st floor, attic is 2nd floor, which is a tiny bath & bedroom.

the foundation is about 11' x 24'--more like 10 1/2' by 23' when I measure in the bsmt

My question is about the 2nd floor, which was actually a finished space from the time the home was built, so was 'grandfathered' in when inspected for occupancy.

The floor joists of the 2nd floor are 2x6's spanning 10' 6" on the longest spans, & 16" OC.

Joists are not true 2x6, but are close--the old heavy ones that are 2x5 3/4--old growth.

Upon replacing the old cast iron stack with PVC, & pulling up the floor, we realized the old plumbers years ago had completely hacked through the joists under this bathroom. I mean hacked through, not just a couple of holes.

The flooring on top of the joists was the 3/4+ tongue & groove pine.
That tongue & grove appears was the only thing left supporting the toilet, aside from the old cast iron stack under...
By some grace of god--this bathroom never fell through, didn't even have noticeable sag--despite the 3 joists in the center being utterly worthless.

Now the issue becomes how to fix it.

I understand no one uses 2x6 joists these days, because the wood available now does not have the same strength since it is not the old dense growth available when the home was built.

I am VERY limited on what I can use to repair, because the ceilings below are only 7.5 ft, & the 2nd floor has minimal clearance as well, so using 2x8's would remove what little space I have.

The only thing I can figure at this point that is in my favor is that the actual span is so small, I may well be able to use LVL's 1 3/4" by 5 3/4" sistered, I figure current day 2x6's wouldn't be sound for this application.

Normally, I would jump right in & DIY--but I do not want to do it.
I am actually waiting on a consult date with an engineer, which is a long wait, about a month, because it is a rural area & this is 'busy season'.
In the mean time, I've got about a month of driving myself MAD trying to get ideas on how this could be fixed without taking away space from the ceiling below or above.

I'd really like some ideas so I can draw some stuff up ahead, & present the ideas. I'm also removing the T&G flooring for access, basically 'prepping' it out so everything can be seen & accessed.

I had one contractor in who feels it is not a huge deal, just a PITA job, & a small job, says he's seen this a thousand times in these old houses.
I presented my idea of LVL's sistered the entire span of the joists. He thought spanning the entire joist wasn't necessary, & that lvl's would work well.
He also cannot do the job for *several months*, so I am trying to get others in in the meantime, because waiting several months is not an option.

I am personally stuck on spanning the entire joist with lvl & willing to rip out the T&G to gain access to have it done properly. Will put down 3/4' 5 ply subfloor when all is done.

Other facts: the finish floor will be vinyl, not tile. Tub will be fiberglass, we pitched the old iron one, since it was so old the hole for the drain was too corroded to repair.

I've had issues just getting contractors/carpenters to show up just to get estimates, since it is rural, out of the way & such a small job. Seems people do not want to work, or the job is not worth their time.

3 times just this past week, I've driven out there & waited & had "no shows".
Nothing could be more frustrating--I drive an hour there, an hour back for nothing.
Seems the ONLY way I CAN get someone to show up is to pay them, & I am so sick of contractors, I set up the apt with an engineer, but have to wait even for that.

We might be stuck having to do this DIY, & I am not looking forward to it.
For once I wanted to PAY someone else to do a job--and no one wants it.

Anyone deal with this issue?
Old 05-04-14, 11:10 AM
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Really need a picture.
Lots of ways to do it.
Double up the 2 X 6's, Change the spacing to 12" on center.
Going to have to figure out how the reroute the plumbing or floor joist so there no cuts or holes needed.
Old 05-04-14, 11:41 AM
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No issue at all re-routing the plumbing so there are ZERO cuts/notches/holes--that was the EASY part! I actually drew that out on paper.
I can do a small bulkhead along the 1st floor wall (load bearing) this wont take up much space & also will allow for access later down the line & will not protrude into my low ceiling enough to matter.

My largest issue is figuring out what & where to attach the ends of the sistered joists.
I've never sistered a full span, & it looks different than anything I've seen due to balloon frame construction.
The existing joists appear NOT to be notched at the ends, & appear to be nailed to the 2x4 studs. I have not ripped out anything on the 1st floor wall YET--but cannot see a 'ribbon' from above.
I've been reading about 'let ins' & such-not sure what I should be looking for.

where are the best parts to take pics?

before I take yet another hour drive for nothing & snap worthless pics--what are the specific parts that are best to take photos of?

I'd rather NOT notch to attach, but am unsure how to do the blocking, & I do not want to just rely on the original sister-meaning would like to have the sistered joist be supported by more than the connection to that stud--some type of blocking between the existing studs?
Old 05-08-14, 04:48 AM
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UGH!!! Had an apt for another estimate.

Got told the job is basically too small for the company.
Was asked if I had someone I knew who could just do it for me....


This is the 2nd time.
I just don't get it.

This time I added the joists I wanted sistered full span in my bsmt & the headers as well.

No one seems to want this job, since it's not a big $$ job.
Old 07-09-14, 11:05 AM
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Name:  SetWidth696-Floors-Fig-9-3_13.jpg
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Size:  13.0 KBok, so back to this issue--had to sister some basement joists 1st--which is much easier since I could just have them bearing on the sill. Got a bit of education doing that.

Now back to the 2nd floor 2x6 joists with an 11 1/2 foot span from bearing to bearing.
here is what I now know:
they are true 2x joists about 5 3/4" , 16"oc, sitting on top of a true 1"x5" let in ribbon/ledger, & also nailed into the true 2'x4' studs--all but the 4 joists that were severed are in perfect condition.
Original house built in the 1920's.

I know this cuz I gutted the entire ceiling

At this point, it appears I will be allowed to use 2x6 SS KD hem fir for the sisters. I say 'appears' because I am still waiting on info to say yes or no. If not, I will use LVL's.

At any rate, now comes the part boggling my mind--I want to add double joist hangers, as opposed to just relying on the existing ledger & adding more joists
(old work to new hangers--simpson has them)--I can attach to one side of the stud, but not the other.

It seems adding blocking might be an option, but where? I'm worried too many nails would interfere with each other & weaken the stud.

Also up for consideration is adding to the existing ribbon-meaning nailing a 2x6 to it, & getting me more bearing-i'm gonna be furring out the walls below for insulating anyway, so that won't interfere with my ceiling height.

pic is what my floor/joist looks like--they are calling the ledger/ribbon a stringer.


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