Best way to repair sinking of my 107 year old house?

Question Icon
Posted by: from Hamilton
10/27/2014 at 5:44:22 PM

I have a 107 year old house and I noticed after I purchased it, on the main floor, the center wall is sinking which is causing the hardwood to buckle and the pocket door to slide out spontaneously. This was missed by the house inspector and I didn't notice it either until I started renos and started to look at the floors to get them refinished.

The house is a large 3 story and I believe it means I need the center posts rejacked and the supporting beam in the basement inspected? From what I see in the basement, the beam is being supported by two cinder block structures, covered with crumbling parging.

Before I post for estimates, I wanted to get some advise to make sure I am approaching this with the right strategy.

User Icon
Date/Time10/27/2014 at 11:21:55 PM

It's a very common issue with those old houses. You can jack it up and install shims but it will most likely crack some of the plaster walls up stairs. If you want to take it further you can have a engineer come in and make up some drawings instructing the contractor to install new footings and new support posts. This will essure you that the wall will not sink any further.

Please keep in mind ether way you should end up with cracked walls which can be repaired but a fairly true floor.

User Icon
Rolando from Rovimat Group Inc. in Toronto
Date/Time10/28/2014 at 7:36:09 AM


Before you start anything you should call a structral engineer ASAP to access the situation because if walls r sinking part of the structural integrity of the house can be compromised.

Then contact a reputable contractor that is used to deal with structural problems and have the proper insurances that cover structural work (just regular liability doesn't) to properly shore the house at the engineers recomendation till the drawings and permits are ready to do the proper job.

Hope this helps.

User Icon
Date/Time10/28/2014 at 9:01:45 PM

Well Pictures would certainly help in this situation, but I can completely understand what you are describing. Perhaps some of the grouting or dry pack has deteriorated on the cinder block columns which would account for some downward movements or the columns themselves have settled. That aside, it sounds like the interior of the home along the load bearing wall needs to be lifted which is certainly not a problem.

Any foundation company that has a number of years experience should have little problem assisting you with this problem. If after having a few companies asses the problem you are still not satisfied with their approaches, consult with an independent structural engineer for guidance on the project.



Yes Construction

User Icon
Josh from Welch's Drywall in Portland
Date/Time10/28/2014 at 9:05:23 PM

You are going about it the right way. When you replace the columns that now exist, replace them with adjusting teleposts. These are steel tubular post that can be screwed up or down, so you can raise you main support beam to straighten you floor and doors etc.

You are dealing with structure when you do this, so always have something vertical under the main beam to the floor to take the load when you are fixing your floor. If in doubt, get somebody experienced in construction to help you out.



User Icon
Jodie in Hamilton
Date/Time10/29/2014 at 2:58:47 PM

Thank you to everyone for your advice, this was very helpful! It also looks like a repair that may not break the bank..which is good as I have already done that with bringing this home into modern times :-)

User Icon
Carl from KLOC Contracting in Toronto
Date/Time10/30/2014 at 8:16:52 AM

Hi Jodie,

It is obvious that the existing footing is not supporting the weight as it should. My suggestion is to get a carpenter with structural experience to make it right or get the opinion of an experienced Structural Engineer.

Hope I could be of help, Best of luck!


User Icon
Gate in Vancouver
Date/Time7/17/2019 at 3:52:21 PM

oh damn, that's cool. But I know from experience that very often such houses like to rob locks breaking locks, so if I were you, I would first of all take care of the locks and turn to a This should be a priority.

User Icon
Ryan in Hamilton
Date/Time7/18/2019 at 9:52:53 PM

Hi Jodie

I know your post was from some years ago, so not sure if you would get a notification and see this. But we are in a very similar situation with our nearly 100 year-old house in Hamilton as well. Both floors have been noticeably sinking in the middle in the past 4 years that we've lived here.

We've had a structural engineer draw up some plans for new footings and reinforcing the main beam. We're in the process of obtaining a permit and trying to find a contractor.

Was just curious as to how your project worked out for you, and whether have any advice or recommendations.


Search the TrustedPros directory and discover the best contractors in your area.

Find your home service pro
Great renovations start with a great contractor.

Since 2004, TrustedPros has been helping homeowners find the right contractor for their home improvements and repairs.

Post Your Project

Within hours you'll be comparing offers from top-rated professionals. It's free to post and you're under no obligation to hire.

Trustedpros Inc. does not warrant the accuracy, completeness, safety, legality or usefulness of any Content, or Whether Content is Current and up-to-date, and TrustedPros Inc. Shall have no liability whatsoever with respect to your use or reliance upon any content or for content being removed or otherwise ceasing to be available. Please refer to the terms and conditions of use of this websites for more details.

Get quotes from top-rated contractors