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Old 01-02-2008, 06:20 AM   #1
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Adjusting support pole


I just bought a 30 year-old two story semi-detached home. There are three houses attached together. I’m in the middle; I share a wall with one neighbor and my garage shares a wall with my second neighbor. The foundation is poured concrete on all sides (including the wall between me and my neighbor) and the floor slab is 7 inches thick. The foundation is in excellent shape, and there are no cracks in the foundation or any of the walls throughout the house. However, it appears to me that my neighbors have sunk very slightly. There is a noticeable bowing in my living room floor (i.e. it slopes towards the edges). The parquet flooring in the living room makes it rather obvious. This distortion is not transferred to the top floor. In the basement it’s apparent that the centre metal post is higher than the walls. It might not show up very well in my photo, but the beam is higher in the middle (over the metal pole) than it is at the walls. The building inspector who examined it didn’t think it was unusual or a problem.

I’m wondering if I should adjust the pole jack. I realize this may cause some settling and cracking in the upstairs walls. Does anyone have experience with this? I'm assuming just a few turns would do the trick. I’m renovating the basement and will be walling in the pole, so I will not have an opportunity to do this later.



Last edited by Calm_Blue_Ocean; 01-02-2008 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 01-02-2008, 11:15 AM   #2
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Ayuh,.......

I think I'd be doing some Measuring,+ Either lowering the middle, or raising the ends.......


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Old 01-02-2008, 11:23 AM   #3
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Adjusting support pole


A level and some close measurements will help you decide on how much to lower the support. Make small adjustments 1/4" at a time and let each adjustment settle for a week to help avuid cracks.
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Old 01-02-2008, 12:34 PM   #4
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Adjusting support pole


Keep a string line attached from end to end on the beam as you lower the middle to help make sure you don't go to far. If that column is supporting more than the floor, a 1/4" at a time might be to much. And judging by the pic., you might be adjusting both columns there because I don't see the right end of the beam - how far past the right column is the foundation wall that's supporting the beam?
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Old 01-02-2008, 02:46 PM   #5
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Adjusting support pole


Thanks for the replies. I had intended to do it a small amount at a time over a couple of months. Is it simply a matter of turning the nut counter-clockwise with a wrench?

Quote:
how far past the right column is the foundation wall that's supporting the beam?
The beam ends at that column - there's a stairwell coming down there (the foundation is a further 3 feet to the right). The left end of the beam rests directly on the concrete foundation (I assume it continues into my neighbor's place).

Here's a photo of the main floor. Note that the same configuration exists here (this is directly above my original photo). The beam ends at the stairwell to the second floor; there is no central column in the living room (the beam spans the entire space).



There's another beam that runs through the basement that is in the same state as the first. I've included a photo below. This beam does span the entire foundation. I'd like to lower the centre posts on both beams at the same time. I'm reasonably confident this will not effect my neighbor, however this is also a concern.




Above the beam seen in this second basement photo is a similar beam which is burried in the load bearing wall between my kitchen and living room. The pole is directly under the doorway between the kitchen and livingroom (and the bowing is obvious in the doorway).

The top floor appears to be completely level. I wouldn't want to make much of an adjustment for fear of changing this.
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Old 01-02-2008, 02:53 PM   #6
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Adjusting support pole


you can lower it slowly just turning the nut, but expect cracks even if you take a year. The old cracks from it getting to its present shape have just all been calked over time.
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Old 01-02-2008, 02:59 PM   #7
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Adjusting support pole


I don't mind the cracks too much - I'll be renovating upstairs after I finish the basement so it's a perfect time to do it. Incidentally, I ran a laser level along the beam and found it is deflected upwards about 1.5 inches.

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Old 01-02-2008, 03:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
and found it is deflected upwards about 1.5 inches.
Ayuh,........

Even in a 30 year old house,....... That's Alot..........
And,..........
With the Direction that it's gone,......... I wonder Where it Went,..??..??
Are the Foundation Walls sinking below the cellar floor,..??......
Or is the Cellar Floor heaving Up,..??
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Old 01-02-2008, 04:32 PM   #9
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Adjusting support pole


Good question. I live in northern Alberta (56 degrees latitude) and frost heaving is a potential problem. However the floor is 7 inches thick and I haven't found a single crack. Having said that, the basement floor is uneven. I suspect that the units on either side of me have sunk slightly. The wall I share completely with my neighbor has sunk more than the opposite wall (to which my garage is attached). My measurement was relative to the shared wall - i.e. the shared wall appears to have sunk 1.5 inches relative to the top of the pole while the other wall appears to have sunk only half an inch.

Incidentally, my floor boards are quite noisey on the main floor (creaking and popping). I'm hopeful that adjusting the poles will help with this. I'm putting a rental suite in the basement so noisey floors are a big problem. Whoever nailed down the subfloor missed the joists about half the time so I plan to also resecure the floor from below with angled screws before I close in the basement ceiling.
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Old 02-10-2008, 01:39 AM   #10
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Adjusting support pole


Hi. Just thought I'd let you know I lowered the posts a few weeks ago and I'm happy with the results. I actually did it all at once and have yet to see any cracks in the upstairs walls (which is surprizing). It's made a noticable difference to the level of the floor upstairs. More importantly, the floor is now much quieter with far fewer creaks and pops. I couldn't get rid of the bowing completely. What seems to have happened is that the unit next to me has sunk a bit and the foundation between us is acting like a lever, pushing the beam upwards in my unit.
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Old 02-10-2008, 06:22 AM   #11
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Adjusting support pole


Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm_Blue_Ocean View Post
...What seems to have happened is that the unit next to me has sunk a bit and the foundation between us is acting like a lever, pushing the beam upwards in my unit.
...Maybe it's time to think about selling...?
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Old 02-10-2008, 06:35 PM   #12
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Adjusting support pole


I just bought it actually. It's 30 years old and I think it's been like this for a long time. There are no cracks in any of the walls and the foundation is in excellent shape. For what its worth, my home inspector thought it was normal settling when I bought it.
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Old 02-12-2008, 05:44 PM   #13
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Adjusting support pole


There houses should be completely separate and not share any framing whatsoever. Fire codes would mandate a fire block between the structures. Attached houses built in NYC in the 50's had this separation. Cinder block walls sitting on top of the poured foundation, rising all the way above the roof.
The poles I see are not usually used in original construction. These look like renovation/repair poles you get in Home Depot. Why does one side have wood blocking above and the other side no blocking? What do your neighbors poles look like?
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Old 04-11-2008, 09:08 PM   #14
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Adjusting support pole


It's completely normal here Ron. The style of home is called a "patio home"; there are three houses attached together (my garage is attached to my other neighbor's garage). I am separated from my neighbor by poured concrete in the basement. The upstairs walls have a double layer of drywall (two layers on my side and two on their side) to act as a fire barier. The posts are standard also (I've never seen anything else in a post 1970 home, detached or attached).
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Old 09-19-2009, 11:05 AM   #15
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Adjusting support pole


Hi,

I'm wondering if you've noticed any ill effects yet to your lowering of the support poles? I have a similar type of problem in my semi--The joists on the support poles (2 poles holding up a pair of 2x6 joists, no I-beam) are making the floor bow upwards on the main floor. I'm just laying down some laminate there, and I know I need a pretty level floor to do this, so I'd like to adjust the support poles to lower the floor a bit. But I'm a little weary that I may cause larger problems in the future with the rest of the house just for some laminate.

Thanks for any help,
Brent

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