Re: Tender Foot Needs Advise on Historic Home Purc

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Linda Starnes

Re: Tender Foot Needs Advise on Historic Home Purc

Post by Linda Starnes »

I purchased this house 6 years ago. It was built in 1924. The last owners had lived here 43 years and it needs much updating. Including the sagging floors. It was suggested to put in 3 post and slowly raise the floor until 1st and 2nd floors were level. Then have a steel "I" beam installed. This is cause way back then 4-6 2x6's were nailed together for the joist and over time they start to sag. Whatever! I don't know the best and most economical thing to do! I don't want to do anything else until I get the floor problem solved. Cause I know walls will crack etc. Solutions! Solutions! My kingdom for a solution! I really do love this old house. It has so many neat features and soooo much beautiful wood that I am restoring. So any help would be greatly appreciated. I love this site! Thanks, Linda


Ken Holmes


Post by Ken Holmes »


It sounds from your note as if the main carrying beam running down the center of your basement is made of built-up 2 by 6's. Floor joists are the pieces of lumber that run from this carrying beam out to the foundation walls. Subflooring and flooring rests on these joists.

Anyhow, as you've already learned, a carrying beam composed of 2 by 6's will sag miserably unless it is supported every three or four feet with a post resting on a solid footing.

As for possible solutions, either a steel I-beam or an engineered wood beam placed beneath the existing carrying beam will provide the support you need. This isn't a job for a do-it-yourselfer: save your energies for getting the rest of the house in shape, once the floors are more level.

As to the actual work: The trick (as you've already been told, I gather) is to s-l-o-w-l-y push the floors back toward level. The slower you go, the less damage you'll have to plaster, woodwork, flooring, etc., as your house will have a chance to get used to each subtle change before another one is imposed. Move quickly (jacking the house back into level in a day's time) and you'll have a mess. Move more slowly -- perhaps 1/4" or less a day -- and you'll have damage, but much less of it.

Good luck, and let me know if you have further questions.

Glad you enjoy the site, by the way!

Ken Holmes The Old House Web

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