Raise a sagging ceiling

Old 02-10-14, 07:24 PM
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Raise a sagging ceiling

Hi All,

Our home is exactly 100 years old (hurray centennial). The home, which is a row home, so we have shared walls on either side of us, was "renovated" bya shady contractor before we purchased it. We've been working on it for the last year uncovering severe problems that he covered up instead of fixing. Our most recent issue has been that he removed structural columns in the living room that helped hold up the bathroom upstairs. I first noticed it when we moved in (the slight sag) in the floors upstairs surrounding the bathroom and in the ceiling below. The inspector said, it was just an old house, but as I began to get to know my neighbors, and saw the insides of their homes, I noticed that most of them had a wall right where our sag is. I also saw the inside of a gutted house down the street, and it too has a column where we should have one.

The space between the floor and ceiling is about 9.5 inches. Is this enough to run a beam across, attaching it to the outer walls or do I absolutely have to put in a column? Since the walls are shared can I even attach a beam to the outer walls? I live in DC and am not too familiar with the codes here. A general contractor came in to take a look and believes he needs ot put two beams, but believes he will also need to put in columns as one of the walls has what appears to be a bulkhead for duct work. Couldn't he just go between the floor and ceiling? Also, he quoted us $4600. I was figuring it woudl be more like $3 - $3500. Any thoughts or suggestions?
Old 02-11-14, 03:59 AM
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Normally the 'beam' or header that supports the load above needs to be below the floor joists. This header needs to be supported! if it can't be integrated into the wall structure it will need columns to support it. Get a few more estimates to see if the price is in line ..... and always check references before hiring any contractor!
Old 02-11-14, 04:58 AM
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And those columns will need to be supported all the way down to footings under the floors.
You need a structural engineer to design and spec. beam size and location, not a contractor.

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