sagging floors

Old 07-25-01, 12:53 PM
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I recently moved into a 1922 colonial. The first and second floors have sagged in one quarter of the house approximately 1.5" from the walls. The problem appears to be the result of the house construction - the load bearing walls on half of the house are offset from the main structural beam (which is visible in the unfinished basement) by about 4'. Apparently, the builder recognized the problem and doubled up the 2x10 floor joists on this quarter of the house; however, the floors have still sagged considerably. The joists span about 18' from the 6x8 beam to the outside wall (there is no sag on the opposite side because the span is only 12'). My main concern is with the structural integrity of the house - does anyone have any suggestions on how to determine the extent of the problem and whether or not I need to go through the expense of hiring a structural engineer? Are doubled 2x10 floor joists at 16" oc generally strong enough to hold up 2.5 stories? New drywall was added over the lathe and plaster walls and ceilings within the past 10 years, and I am concerned that the additional loads may be too much. As a follow up, I may consider jacking the floor joists from the basement to level up the floors, but I'm thinking this may open up more problems than its worth. Alternatively, I could just install a few beams/columns in the basement to prevent the situation from getting worse, but I don't want to go through the trouble if I don't have a problem. Any thoughts? If a consultant is necessary, any recommendations on how to hire someone for the job?
Old 08-02-01, 05:37 AM
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Sagging floors

Hello there,

Last month I purchased an Edwardian ERA 1925 Brick Farm house with almost identical problems you've mentioned. I have considered the very same options you have. Have you had any luck finding any info? A contractor friend of mine did say to just repair the interior damage and leave it alone. He suggested never to jack up the house, even 1/2" to try to resolve it. To many "unknowns" with that venture. I'd appreciate any other thoughts you have on it?

- Dana L. Hamblin
Old 08-02-01, 06:42 AM
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RE:sagging floors

Hi Dana,
Check out the reply to my post under the Lumber and Paneling section (I posted my original question in a couple places), and my subsequent reply to that. I have talked to quite a few people and have gotten many opinions, some conflicting. Unfortunately, I guess I'm still up in the air. I did find Reader's Digest's Home Improvement Manual helpful - they have an extensive section on how to solve this problem. Suggest you try to find a copy at the library. I'm leaning towards buying some jack posts, placing them under a beam under the sag, and jacking them about 1/4 turn a week, but I guess I haven't gotten up the nerve to do it yet. I'll let you know if I decide anything, and I'd be interested in your findings also.

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