Main floor on historic home is starting to sink

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Posted by: from Souris
4/3/2013 at 7:55:49 PM

I live in a 130 year old house with a stone and mortar foundation. The hardwood floor in my dining room has a growing downward curve as you enter the next room (kitchen). I would like to make it level again and avoid cracking the upstairs walls (some drywall, some lath and plaster).

The basement floor is cement but not very level. There is one telepost near the spot that slopes but is currently bracing up 3 joists (4 in total since one is a double) with a somewhat bent piece of hardwood.

I have access to a 7' i-beam (4") and can get teleposts. Not all the joists are the same dimensions (all are somewhere between 9" and 10" deep). I'm endevoring to do it myself.

Thanks for any advice.

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Date/Time4/3/2013 at 9:17:36 PM

HI there.

I actually owned a century home here in Muskok which also had a stone and mortor foundation that was about 24" wide and had its small issues.

Without actually seeing the floor and basement are it sounds like possibly an existing beam has started to give way or possible the telepost maybe dropping itself if there is some settling below the slab floor of basement.



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Date/Time4/3/2013 at 9:27:29 PM

Done this a few times now. It's a fairly lengthy process. The best bet is to center your beam in the low spot of the divit. Then put in your telepost and crank it by hand until it's got some resistance. Then wait a day and crank it up another turn. This way takes a week or two but it is possible to do!

The important thing to remember is that wood still acts like a living entity in your home. If you rush things like this then it will break something and could end catastrophically! So take your time and allow the natural oils and moisture content of the wood to let it bend itself back to where it should be.

If there is a large difference in the size of your joists then shim them with pieces of dense wood to ensure the floor lifts evenly.

Good luck!

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David from Chetco Homes in Fort Erie
Date/Time4/4/2013 at 11:12:25 AM

Sounds like you have gotten the best advice from Shawn. He is right. Take your time.

Good luck.

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Date/Time4/4/2013 at 12:47:36 PM

Hi Phillip, David is right, Shawn nailed it! The only other thing you might want to consider is that you are creating a point load on your concrete floor. Best practices would be to dig out and pour the appropriate size pad to support the telepost. Hate to see you push the post down instead of the house going up!

Good luck with it!

Jim Kuzma

Kettleby Handyman Services

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Mat in Mississauga
Date/Time2/7/2014 at 10:58:12 AM

Hi Philips.

Best bet and safe in a long run. Get under pinning done. It will keep your house structurally sound for a long long time to come. Don't do quick fixes as it will further damage the house structural foundation. Cost a bit, but it's the safest solution.

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