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Old 04-01-2012, 07:08 PM   #1
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have my joists shrunk ?


in my new to me basement. there is an I beam that runs the length of the wall, 1st pic.
this baffled me as to why someone put this there, as the joists look just fine and like all the other exposed joists. i figured that they had fish tanks and/or a large family(= perhaps the beam used to be in the middle of the room). so today i got access to that area, as that whole area used to be sheet rocked.
so i looked over the top of the beam at the joists. i saw that many of the joists were not setting on the foundation. AND, the subfloor was pulling away from the joists in that area. BUT, the subfloor in that area was setting on the bricks. pic 2 doesn't show just how much separation there really is.

so, it looks to me that the joists have shrunk. perhaps i am missing something ?
there is nothing wrong with the block foundation.

now, i am thinking that i could put some shims in there and take that I beam out. is there a better way ? i would rather not take the bricks out, though i could. heck, that may be easier than putting shims in, idk.

pic 3. the subfloor. there are 1/2"ish gaps between the boards. did they do it this way, or have those shrunk also ?
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:08 PM   #2
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have my joists shrunk ?


I would not remove the I beam unless you got a residential structural engineer to sign off onb that. it looks like it was put there to support the floor ( perhaps foundation was failing? )

pic3 - Ive seen subfloors like that, is that an old(er) house? I've also seen roof sheathing like that as well in old houses.

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Old 04-01-2012, 08:32 PM   #3
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have my joists shrunk ?


Wood embedded in concrete again. Hmm. Is the wood yet sound, or rotting? Perhaps there was fear of it going south, so they put in the I-beam.
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:54 PM   #4
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have my joists shrunk ?


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Originally Posted by bbo View Post
it looks like it was put there to support the floor ( perhaps foundation was failing? )
i was put there to support the joists. when the house was new, there are 2 methods of supporting the house, in this case. 1st is the joists (i used to think this was a balloon house. now, it looks like it is a platform house). 2nd is the bricks you see between the joists. as the joists have shrunk(so i think), the load shifts to the bricks. but the joists still support the floor, and pull away from the sub floor at the ends. it looks like the beam was put in to puch the joists back up even with the sub floor. but doing this takes the joists off of the foundation. i hope my description makes sense.
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:58 PM   #5
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have my joists shrunk ?


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Originally Posted by jklingel View Post
Wood embedded in concrete again. Hmm. Is the wood yet sound, or rotting? Perhaps there was fear of it going south, so they put in the I-beam.
that is not concrete. they are bricks/mortar. seems they are some kind of fire blocking. but why ? it looks like it is not a balloon.

the timbers look just fine.
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:31 AM   #6
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have my joists shrunk ?


I don't see anyhting in the pics that cause alarm, but can't explain the beam. The house is pre about early 50's, due to diagonal 1x t&g subflooring. The wood is likely old growth fir, and shrinkage, even when it was new, was minimal. What others suggested, have an engineer do an inspection before removing the beam.

Last edited by Just Bill; 04-02-2012 at 06:34 AM.
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:49 PM   #7
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have my joists shrunk ?


today, i knocked out 2 rows of the bricks. the joists are in fact "floating" above the block wall. but, the rim joist is setting on the block wall. the only conclusion i can come to is 1. the joists have shrunk. 2. they made the floor joists a little smaller than the rim joist, and nailed them up off the block wall. but idk why they would do that. also, there was no mortar under the floor joists, only "up to" where the joists used to be.

i used to have a 18"x18" piece of wood, that was cut to fit in a steel cabinet. i had that for over 20 years. it had shrunk about 1/2" in that time.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:10 PM   #8
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have my joists shrunk ?


Wood shrinks, especially floor joists, Fig. 3: http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...d-but-strange/

Page 51: http://books.google.com/books?id=iwS...rafter&f=false

Here we find mortar poured in between the joists as you have, possibly an insulator/fire-stop at the floor line. The joists expand/contract with the seasons and plain shrink over time. Better to air seal with foamboard at the rims: http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...l_seal_rev.pdf The mortar also shrinks as drying, (lousy air seal).

Fig.9 in the first link is similar to your T&G car-decking sub-flooring.

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Old 04-03-2012, 09:08 PM   #9
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have my joists shrunk ?


thanx GBR. pg51 is exactly what i am seeing.

my subfloor is simple planks. no T&G.

i have heard that these old house were built like "brick S#!t houses".
not this one. i wish it was. but "it is, what it is".
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:11 PM   #10
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have my joists shrunk ?


i just realized, that pg 52 is also what i am seeing. my sloping goes for 0 to about 3/8". and from 0 to about 8" long.
as not all the joists are having an issue.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:41 PM   #11
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After further research as to why the old houses have concrete between floor joists; popular for a few years was to set the basement forms (boards running horizontally), build the floor system- joists and diagonal boards, except leaving the perimeter boards off. Then they could pour concrete mix with wheel-barrows from on the deck, down each joist bay, easily wheeling across the deck after being loaded from the truck; no pump/boom truck required. After it set, removed the forms, sometime using them for wall or roof sheathing, hence the concrete residue we sometime find on those. I don't see a pour break-line in your picture, I think it was all one pour, with the bricks set from above after the first section set-up enough to hold their weight. The mix appears to be the same, though I could be wrong on that...

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Old 04-12-2012, 08:31 PM   #12
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have my joists shrunk ?


so, your saying that there is cement inside of the blocks ?
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:01 AM   #13
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Yes, though I was describing poured concrete walls.

Do they all sound the same when tapped lightly with a small faced hammer, or hollow sound except every 3rd-5th cell...

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Old 04-14-2012, 08:51 AM   #14
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have my joists shrunk ?


i am pretty sure my blocks are hollow. when i was breaking out the bricks, i could hear pieces falling into the wall cavity.

i was thinking about why those bricks are there. to hold the house in place, perhaps.
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Old 04-14-2012, 08:55 AM   #15
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have my joists shrunk ?


it is a common tactic with houses built in the 1800's.

Strange it is in a recent house....

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