Older house, slight sagging floors, questions


Old 04-10-13, 11:04 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: USA
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Older house, slight sagging floors, questions

Hello! New here but have been reading some articles. Thought I'd just put this out there and see if I've got my brains around it -

Sorry, no pics - if I need them, I'll take them.

Bought a house right before Xmas - real nice, older place though - built in early 40s. Floors are all hardwood, look great. Basement isn't finished BUT the ceiling is all open - I can see all the joists, wires, plumbing - it all looks great. No cracks, etc.

That being said, I'm not sure how much "do it yourself" went on here.

The bathroom, which is an addition, is all tile. Very nice, but the shower/tub is made out of like 2 huge slabs of some kind of tile. It's gotta weigh a ton. The guy who lived there previously clearly had some kind of tile business, because the stuff is everywhere. Sink - tile. Tub - surrounded by tile, right up to the ceiling.

When they DID this, they didn't bother putting any support UNDER this bathroom for the weight. Now the joists under it seem big to me - 9 inches. But over time, I guess the floor started to sag. Not badly, but it bugs me because I can feel it - it angles slightly toward the toilet/tub. BEHIND the tub, is our bedroom - the floor against that wall ALSO angles toward the tub, so it's deflection I think and over time has just settled into a sag. the joists under these rooms have no support in the middle - they just run the length of the room - I didn't measure it yet but it's probably about 12-15 feet. And that bathroom is like smack in the middle.

The joists are fine - nothing is cracked, although they did cut out a couple grooves for plumbing etc. I'm sure that weakened it but again - nothing is "broken". There's a slight stain under there where they might've had an overflow but nothing is rotten. It looks like they tried to "block" it at one point, with blocks between the joists - but those look slightly too short, and don't actually touch the joists they're between - they're like, maybe a couple millimeters away on either side. Did they move? Did they start that way? I have no idea.

Since I have a ton of room down there, my thought was to just make a nice long support piece with 2 x 3s, nail them together to build it up, place them perpendicular to the joists running under the bathroom, and then jack those up - NOT to raise the floor so much, although that'd be great - but just to STOP the sagging. I don't mind steel columns being down there. Again - plenty of room down there.

Question - the floor jack / supports I see on home sites etc - they're adjustable and support tons of weight, etc. Are they designed to STAY there, or would I just jack it UP with these and then replace them with something else? It wasn't quite clear if they were designed to be a permanent fix or a temporary solution.

ALSO - basement floor is a solid piece of concrete. Would I need to make a concrete footing for these jacks/stands, or could I just get a hammer drill and bolt them right to the floor?

Any input helps, thanks! Again - nothing is broken, it just annoys me and heck - I've only been there 4 months, that might just be "how it is". I feel kinda bad even putting this here - compared to some other stories I've seen in researching this, my problem seems like nothing compared to other floors.
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Old 04-10-13, 12:08 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Canada
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Welcome to the forum.
Although not a home structural guy, I've got similar issues with my 1930's home.
My first question for you will be what is the span between joists? 16" center to center or something else?

In the basement, concrete floor, wood or dirt?

I have a couple of those adjustable supports installed in my house. I haven't looked at the labels on them to see if they are temp or perminent. I do know the bottom and top plates are designed to be bolted, so they may be designed to be perminent.

Pictures would be a huge help. More particularly the joists (wide angle shot and close up). If possible, indicate where in the joists photos where the wall is between the bathroom and bedroom. and where you would plan on putting the posts.
Old 04-10-13, 03:29 PM
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Built up 2x3's is not going to provide any kind of support for what you intend to do. You would need to install a double 2x8 or larger to use to level the sagging floor. You could also build a load bearing stud wall and not drywall it. That would also carry the load across the entire span. If your concrete basement floor is thick enough, you could use that for your footer.
Old 04-11-13, 04:48 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Canada
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What is above the wall between the bathroom and bedroom? This sag is pulling down what ever is above it as well.
First thing I would do personally is rent a laser level and see how much sag you are dealing with. Set it up in the middle of the room and measure from the floor to the line on all walls. This will give you an idea of what you are dealing with.
Next, find out exactly what those joists are (2x8, 2x10 or 2x12).

Without seeing what you are working with, it's hard to say, but I am thinking you will want to sister additional joists to the existing to help strengthen them up. You will need to support this as well. If it's only a bit of hight difference and the walls above will support it, you can lift it a bit with those adjustable posts (very slowly, over time) then install perminent onces or a load bearing wall.

Keep in mind, I can not see what you have so this is only suggestions based on what I think you have. You should probably to consult an engineer to get a proper (on site) opinion.
Old 04-15-13, 07:51 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 10
Sorry I haven't replied -

Joists under the problem spot are 2 x 8, 16" on center. Nothing is rotted or broken, but the tub plumbing cuts into a couple of them - I know, that's bad. I didn't do it, found it that way. That bathroom and bedroom appear to be an addition put on some few years ago. Rest of the house was built in the 40's

Haven't taken pictures yet, but I've been down there looking it over - I'll try to describe this as best I can.

The basement is huge - lots of space. A portion of it, a decent sized room - maybe 12 by 12 - is a workroom. The guy who lived there previously had a little tile business on the side, and this is clearly where he did the work. Outlets everywhere, etc. Floor is a big ol' solid chunk of poured cement, with tiles laid right over it. Joists in the ceiling of this room/floor of floor above again are 2 x 8, the rest of the house is all 2 x 6 joists. So this area I believe was an addition - the joists extend the length of the room and are on load bearing walls at either end - they are not connected to any of the 2 x 6 joists as far as I can tell. It's like its own little area.

Directly ABOVE this wide open 12 x 12 box, is our master bedroom and the bathroom on the first floor. There is no second floor, but there is an attic over the bedroom and the rest of the house. It's a ranch style.

The bedroom and bathroom - the trouble spot - are laid out like so - joists run from top to bottom of diagram, not left to right - so the tub isn't on like ONE joist, it's across like 3 or 4 of them -

|................................... |
| ...............X ___wall____
| ...............| tub......toilet|

That "X" is the corner of the wall of the bathroom/bedroom, and the tub is right in that corner. Sag is pretty much right there - going toward the tub from the bathroom door and from the wall on the other side of the tub, toward the bathroom. It all kind of "feels" like it wants to slide you toward the tub/corner. Not dramatically, but the "tilt" is there.

There is NO support under that bathroom/bedroom in that workroom besides those 2 x 8 joists. I'm thinking this is where they messed up - when they added that area, they probably should have put a support UNDER that corner, marked with the "X", right?

Right now, that's my plan - to carefully jack the floor up - just slightly, not much - and then get a steel Tapco floor support under that corner. If that DOESN'T stop it, I plan to make a built up beam and put it directly under the tub/toilet to take the weight off of the floor there with another steel Tapco floor support. In that event I'd have support under the corner, AND support under the tub. Although I'm wondering if the corner one alone might not fix it just fine.

Again - the object of my game here is not necessarily to RAISE the floor - if it sags, fine. But I don't want it to go any FURTHER.

Over the bedroom is just attic - if I raise that corner maybe a 1/2 inch SLOWLY over time, I'll probably crack some paint but I'm thinking it will ALL move. I feel that way because the ceiling around the edge of that corner and in the bathroom there doesn't like have a gap or anything - it's not like the floor dropped and pulled the wall away from the ceiling suddenly - I think over several years, the WHOLE spot right there on that corner - and the space in the attic above it - has just sunk because of no support underneath that corner. And it's not even dramatic - we're talking maybe an inch or so over years. Again - this floor is not in any kind of imminent state of collapse - it's just something I noticed and it bugs me. And if left alone, I feel it'll only sag MORE over time.

Sistering the joists would be GREAT - except that the plumbing all under there already cuts into a few of the existing joists - I wouldn't want to cut out the new ones and weaken them too.

Stud wall idea sounds good too, but then if I'm down there in the room I'm walking through a wooden frame all the time - I'd rather just put some steel down there and avoid those rather than have an unfinished wall down there. But I do see what you're saying and I believe it would work - I just really dont want to give up that whole area for a huge wooden frame if a couple steel poles might do the same job.

I know it's hard to comment without actually SEEING what I'm looking at but I do appreciate all the comments - thanks!

Last edited by Sean S; 04-15-13 at 08:23 AM.

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