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Old 05-07-2010, 09:36 PM   #1
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Basement support post failure


Tonight was interesting! My wife's grandparents came down to spend the night with us and my daughter wanted to take a picture of all of us, so we huddled together in the middle of the living room floor. Between the 5 of us there was about 800lbs and a few seconds later we hear a loud BOOM and the floor shakes. My first thought was what the heck just broke or snapped down in the basement?! I was thinking beam failure but then when I went down to look I recalled that we have a few adjustable hollow steel support posts in addition to the permanent 6x6 wood posts. There happened to be one directly beneath where we were standing and it had a few inches at the bottom where it was rusted out, so our combined weight on top of it caused the bottom to totally give out and it dropped a couple inches. Right now I can't tell how much the floor went down, or if it did significantly at all. Below are some pictures.

The first picture shows the post as I saw it when I first went downstairs. It was still standing vertically however it was about 1"-2" below the floor joists. I could see the bottom was rusted and had blown out due to our weight.

The second picture shows a view of the pole after I laid it down - badly rusted.

The third picture shows another beam identical to the one that just failed, located parallel to this beam about 8ft over. You can see how bad this one is rusted also yet somehow when the other failed this one remained...for the time being.

The fourth picture shows one of the three main support posts which are 6x6's that go into the floor. The hollow steel supports are just sitting on the basement floor. These seem to be in fair condition and I'm not worried about them. There is also a large chimney in the center of the house which also serves as a main support.

So of course my question is, what do you think I should do? We just bought this house in Dec 09' for $12k knowing that it needed some work. After reading numerous online articles and posts, it seems that most people will just suggest me to 'talk with an engineer'. I respect that advice as it is ultimately the best thing to do. I would also respect any comments you may have on the situation. If you have any other questions about the setup I'd be glad to provide more information. I believe these three hollow steel support posts were put in place for sagging, although I can't say for sure. Thanks for any input.
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Basement support post failure-post1.jpg   Basement support post failure-post2.jpg   Basement support post failure-post3.jpg   Basement support post failure-post4.jpg  

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Old 05-07-2010, 09:45 PM   #2
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Basement support post failure


What size are the floor joists, how far apart & what distance do they span ?

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Old 05-07-2010, 10:37 PM   #3
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Basement support post failure


That is only under the floor joists. There is no main support beam visible. Seems like an odd place for a support post.
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:46 PM   #4
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Basement support post failure


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What size are the floor joists, how far apart & what distance do they span ?
The joists are 2" x 10" and are about 16" on center. These particular joists span 14' from the outside foundation wall to the main support beams.
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:50 PM   #5
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Basement support post failure


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That is only under the floor joists. There is no main support beam visible. Seems like an odd place for a support post.
The picture shows the outisde foundation wall - the support pole is about half way from the wall to the main support beams, approx. 7ft down the joist.
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:54 PM   #6
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Basement support post failure


That steel post looks like it was added to maybe compensate for a sagging floor.
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:15 PM   #7
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Basement support post failure


Another question while we're at it...

The picture below shows the main 6"x6" wood support posts under the main support beam (3 2"x10" boards). Amongst all the clutter you can see the evenly spaced posts. They are spaced about 7' apart starting from the foundation wall however on the far end where I'm standing to take the picture, the gap between the last post and the foundation wall is about 11'. Do you think there should be an additional support for this big of a gap? It appears like there may have been one at one point in time based off a square shaped concrete patch in the floor, but I don't know for sure.
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Old 05-08-2010, 09:21 AM   #8
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Basement support post failure


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The picture shows the outisde foundation wall - the support pole is about half way from the wall to the main support beams, approx. 7ft down the joist.
It might be half way but a support post is not normally put under one joist or three joists with a 2x6 spanning them. It is normally put under a main support beam that the joists attach to or sit on top off.

You really need an expert to come in and measure the size and spans you have and calculate what should be there.
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Old 05-08-2010, 09:41 AM   #9
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Basement support post failure


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The joists are 2" x 10" and are about 16" on center. These particular joists span 14' from the outside foundation wall to the main support beams.
2x10's should span ~16' depending up on species & wood grade
As stated you really do not see a post like that installed in the middle of "nowhere"
And a 2x6 laying flat is never used by a Pro (hopefully)
You say you were all in the middle of the living room, so only floor load
Usually 40psf, over a 5x5 sq area that should hold 1000# or more since the load is shared by surrounding floor

Looking at the joists is there any way to tell if there were existing knots or splits in the wood that weakened it ?
Definitaly get this looked at & fixed
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Old 05-08-2010, 01:05 PM   #10
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Basement support post failure


You absolutely need an engineer to evaluate the framing system and supports. While they are doing the work, ask them to determine if the steel support posts are rated for permanent use, or are (as I suspect) rated only for temporary support, and not intended for long term use.

As previously noted, the posts are clearly in an odd location, and without a detailed investigation by a competent professional, there is absolutely no way anyone on this forum, or anywhere else, can tell you which beams are overloaded, which posts are suitable, and which joists are OK.
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:41 PM   #11
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Basement support post failure


The posts are bound to rust out when they are installed upside-down like they were.
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Old 05-09-2010, 02:16 PM   #12
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Basement support post failure


I'm also wondering if they shouldn't have dug down and installed footings first.
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Old 05-09-2010, 04:28 PM   #13
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Basement support post failure


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The posts are bound to rust out when they are installed upside-down like they were.
Why do you consider that upside down? That is the way I have always seen them installed.
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Old 05-09-2010, 06:19 PM   #14
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Why do you consider that upside down? That is the way I have always seen them installed.

Because the other end (the screw jack end) is far more robust when it comes to rust resistance. For a temp. post, it may not matter a whole lot. But I often see permanent posts poured upside down as well. It seems some people must believe that they need to have access to the screw end, when it never will get adjusted again in it's lifetime.
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:34 PM   #15
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Basement support post failure


It looks like a previous homeowner was trying to get the bounce out of the floor. I'd be more worried about why it rusted out and whether that also means any of the 6x6 posts have any rot. Your picture looks like one might. Nowadays the 6x6 would be set in a simpson connector that lifts the 6x6 off direct contact with the concrete. Does your basement periodically flood?

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