Acceptable floor "sag"?
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cjhanni



Joined: 28 Jul 2010
Posts: 7
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:16 pm    Post subject: Acceptable floor "sag"? Reply with quote

Hi All-

So I found the house of my dreams - a pre-rev war house in NJ about an hour west of Manahattan. The problem, unforutantely, is that I do not have the wallet of my dreams, and I have a feeling this will be a money pit beyond my worst nightmare. I hav a feling that due to the property and the current price, this place will be sold and knocked down, so if there is a chance I can save it I would love to take a stab.

I posted photos of the warped roof elsewhere. Here are some pics of the warped floor, and the jacks in the basement holding up the beams. It looks like a lot of amateur stuff was done in the house without regard to code. Is this salvageable? Is it a $10000 job or a $100,000 job?



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cjhanni



Joined: 28 Jul 2010
Posts: 7
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:19 pm    Post subject: Basement Reply with quote

There are a couple of these jacks - one seated in dirt with nothing apparently underneath - supporting beams. I've seen these used temporarily for support during construction work, but these have been here a while...


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renaissance restorations



Joined: 15 Feb 2009
Posts: 53

PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:04 am    Post subject: Structural Failure... Reply with quote

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Last edited by renaissance restorations on Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mike-in-Maine



Joined: 08 Nov 2008
Posts: 145
Location: Fort Kent, ME

PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem is simple. The hot water radiators were added in after the house was built. It was not designed for the load and thus the floor is sagging. Notice the pipes were run up the corner, then boxed in for aesthetics.

All this isnt bad, and it isnt uncommon. My own house suffers from this in one radioator location on the second floor.

Id recommend piggybacking with joist hangers, some reinforcing joist with the underlying basement joist, and then look into lifting the floor up from below as needed. Get an engineer to look at this also. Chances are its a simple fix. Its all due to the radiator weight.
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waxahatchie



Joined: 15 Jul 2009
Posts: 99
Location: the other portland

PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i dunno... look at that basement. water all over the floor, and very wet wall by the oil tank. i'd bet the foundation sunk due to wet soils.

fix why the soil is wet, repair any foundation damage and re-support the beams, you might be good. but you might not. you shouldn't be relying on just the people here, you should have an engineer look at it.
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cjhanni



Joined: 28 Jul 2010
Posts: 7
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:43 pm    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Hi All-

Many thanks for the replies. If this looks to be feasible, a structural engineer will certainly be involved. The questions is, how do I find the one I need? Maybe ask the historical society for a referral? I assume there is a big difference between assessing modern and 275 year-old houses.

Curiously, I was looking like crazy and didn't see much (if any) wood rot which was my primary concern. If anything, I would be worried about the wood being old, dried out and brittle, especially if things will need some jacking.



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Jeremy Ballard



Joined: 22 Mar 2008
Posts: 127
Location: Providence, RI and Cape Cod, MA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The radiator doesn't have anything to do with the floor sag. One pipe returns to the floor and the other heads into the wall. If the house is as early as you say it is there are corner posts behind the cases in the corner and in the middle of the room on the right, although that one looks shallow. Either the sill is toast, the foundation has settled or a combination of both. This sag has telegraphed to the top plate which is why the rafters follow the sag and have pulled the ridge with them. You have skip sheathing for wood shingles but there's plywood on that now for the asphalt shingles.

You say the house isn't up to "code". Generally your code official will grant some leeway to the building code in order to preserve the historical integrity of the structure. It can be worth your while to run your thoughts by the the inspector to mitigate issues.

Just because something is old it doesn't mean that it needs to be replaced or buggered up with new framing. I generally don't take the sag out, I'll fix the problem so that it is stable with locally milled timbers. Taking the sag out will likely crack at least some of the plaster from the first floor to the top plate. How are the timber connections in the area that you want to move, can they handle the lifting load. Has the plywood on the roof locked those rafters into place. You may have to retune your windows once you tweek the wall back to straight. Go slow, turn off the radio, listen to the building as you move it. It's not as daunting as it sounds but you do need to be aware of some of the variables and how they can effect each other.

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Jeremy
Heritage Restoration, Inc.
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rncx



Joined: 21 Jun 2008
Posts: 660
Location: Little Rock, AR

PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

why is there a joint in the middle of that room between lengths of floor boards?

did they cut out an interior wall?
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cjhanni



Joined: 28 Jul 2010
Posts: 7
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No idea on the floor joint. Based on the history of the house, there should never have been a wall there. I guess it is nice to have that seam, since the poor slob that eventually buys this place will ikely have to rip up the flooring to see what is going in with the joists, anyway.

As to non-code issues, I am happy to hear the code inspector miht give some leeway. All of the K&T has already been replaced, but in some places the replacement looks like that pictured (this is the same second floor room with the floor sag...)



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cjhanni



Joined: 28 Jul 2010
Posts: 7
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 8:36 am    Post subject: How dry is dry? Reply with quote

Someone commented above on the wet basement floor. For a 250+ year old basement, how dry is dry? I'd have no expectation that a stacked stone foundation would ever be bone dry, but I also would not expect standing water. Where is the happy medium? Here's a shot of another unhappy repair attempt in the basement.


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Sean



Joined: 27 Dec 2006
Posts: 170
Location: Salem, MA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The floor joint is probably the result of a later partition. Those don't look like 250 year old pine boards judging by the width. Perhaps that windows was converted from an entry to window? The ends of some of the boards look much lighter, which may be because of a wall on top of the seam.

Just my 2 cents.

Sean
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