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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.



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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 :-)

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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!


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