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Old 01-28-2009, 10:10 PM   #1
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Help! Sagging Floor Joists-Second Story>>>Undersized!!!


I just bought my first home that is a 1 1/2 story Bungalow-style farmhouse built in 1919. I am in the process of remodeling and am currently redoing the ceilings in the dinning room and living room. Upon removing the old plaster and lath boards, I confirmed what I already knew from the upstairs...my upper story floor joist are sagging. The joist are 2x6(I believe they are oak) and span approx. 16 ft. in the living room and 14 ft. in the dinning room. Some joist have have holes drilled in them where the wiring was ran and there are a couple that are cracked a little.

I know its an old house and I can live with the sag, I just don't want it progressing. The floors do not squeek or make any noise when walking upstairs and they seam very solid. What I want to know is what I should do to reinforce the joists so that they do not get any worse?

Would jacking up the old joists and sistering new 2x6s beside them help? I know 2x6s are WAY undersized for the span! Is there anything else I can do to strengthen the joist. I've been told that screwing and gluing 2x4s to the bottom of the joist will help stiffen the joists. Just wanted some more professional input before I do anything...adding a header in the middle of the rooms is not an option!!

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Old 01-29-2009, 05:16 AM   #2
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Help! Sagging Floor Joists-Second Story>>>Undersized!!!


Post some pictures if you can. Sistering 2x6 will do much more good than a 2x4.

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Old 01-29-2009, 05:25 AM   #3
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Help! Sagging Floor Joists-Second Story>>>Undersized!!!


Beams that old will not jack up and stay in place with a doug fir 2x6 sistered to it. I doubt it would stay up with an lvl 2x6. Those spans would require a minimum of 2x8(14' span) and 2x10(16' span). Unless you're going to remove all the second story floors and install lvl's next to the original beams, you're wasting your time.
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Old 01-29-2009, 06:03 AM   #4
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Help! Sagging Floor Joists-Second Story>>>Undersized!!!


+1 what Ron said

Quote:
adding a header in the middle of the rooms is not an option!!
then your going to have to live with it or wait for someone to fall through the floor. If you want it done right, its going to be a monster job.

You could put in flush headers and then sister up the joists with 2X8 . . .
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Old 01-29-2009, 06:23 AM   #5
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Help! Sagging Floor Joists-Second Story>>>Undersized!!!


Can you afford to lose some ceiling height on the first floor? If so, then sister 2x10s to the existing joists. That will stiffen them, and will give you a flat surface for your new 1st floor ceiling.
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Old 01-29-2009, 07:33 AM   #6
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Help! Sagging Floor Joists-Second Story>>>Undersized!!!


our 1920's bungalow had just about the exact same condition. 2x6's 16" O.C. I don't think the upstairs was ever meant to be more than an attic, but the previous owner finished it off. we're adding a big dormer to the back, so i had to rip up all the flooring, put in 2x8's 12" O.C., and build a beam to span over the downstairs bathroom.

unfortunately, i agree with ron's comment. the only way you're going to get a proper level, flat, supporting floor is to replace with the correct sized joists.

see my post in project showcase...'dormer on a bungalow'
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Old 01-29-2009, 07:43 AM   #7
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Help! Sagging Floor Joists-Second Story>>>Undersized!!!


As Ron6519 said:
A 2x8 is the min for a 14' span, 2x10 for 16'

For LVL's I needed 11 7/8" to span 13', supoporting a wall above roof
Are the span distance measured from inside wall to inside wall?
Not that it will really make much difference
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:01 AM   #8
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Help! Sagging Floor Joists-Second Story>>>Undersized!!!


You won't remove the sag on the existing joists, at least to any great degree. If the floor is bouncy, sistering some new 2x6's would help stiffen the floor somewhat. Sistering 2x10's would be even better, although it would cost you some ceiling height.

If you choose to sister the joists, use lots of construction adhesive and lots of nails.

A header really is your best bet. Headers don't have to be downset below the joists. An upset header (using a steel beam) might be able to be sized shallow enough that it wouldn't be much lower than the ceiling, if any. Might be worth hiring an engineer to come out and advise on the situation.
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Old 01-29-2009, 10:20 AM   #9
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Help! Sagging Floor Joists-Second Story>>>Undersized!!!


Thanks everyone for the quick replys. A few of you mention sistering 2x10s or 2x8s to the existing joists. I can afford to lose some ceiling space since they are 9 foot. My question is how am I going to get a 2x10 or a 2x8 for that matter to sit on top of my supporting walls??...or do they need to run the full length?
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:00 AM   #10
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Help! Sagging Floor Joists-Second Story>>>Undersized!!!


You would probably need to notch them
There are restrictions on how much you can notch - 2.31" for a 2x10
To fit in with a 2x6 you would need to notch 3.75"
Possibly also put joist hangers on each side?
I would also use the same size in each room as that way the new ceilings will be at the same height


Last edited by Scuba_Dave; 01-29-2009 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:22 PM   #11
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Help! Sagging Floor Joists-Second Story>>>Undersized!!!


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Originally Posted by Danton84 View Post
...... farmhouse built in 1919..... I know its an old house and I can live with the sag, I just don't want it progressing. The floors do not squeek or make any noise when walking upstairs and they seam very solid. What I want to know is what I should do to reinforce the joists so that they do not get any worse?
I'll be the contrarian here. As you stated you can live with the sag (old farmhouses should have some character shouldn't they?). The floors seem very solid and don't squeek. So why mess with it? It took them 90 years to sag as much as they have so far. If the floor feels solid there's no reason to think it's going to sag any faster in the next 90 years. Will you care if they've sagged twice as much in the next 90 years? LOL

Now I understand the school of thought of "do it right" and usually subscribe to it. But a 90 year old house will be a mighty big money pit if you try to totally bring it up to todays building standards (you might as well tear it down and start with a new foundation). If the floors aren't solid and/or you hate the sag then yes fix it.
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Old 01-29-2009, 06:54 PM   #12
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Help! Sagging Floor Joists-Second Story>>>Undersized!!!


If he doesnt do it now,,,throws a water bed up there,,or a dozen kids on a sleep over,,who knows what happens in there then,,,cracks a couple more,,,fixing at this time will look like a calk walk.

To save what a few hundred dollars??When it is open and EASY to do?? Its obvious something has to be done,,so the dif between least and BEST option is ONLY consideration. Lumber seems to be reasonably priced these days. Taking a 9' ceiling BACK down and doing it later,,,insult to injury!!

OP---can you tell us how many of what length lumber it takes to sister up some good wood?? Figure pure lumber cost at your local dealer and see. Here any way,Menards had better lumber than a local lumber yard at 60% price. Some glue and a pneumatic nailer and your half done.

half of that conservative specs of old construction was due to single beds,one small dresser and a closet fit for 2 dresses,,,NOT waterbeds,massive heavy furniture and a dozen kids jumping up and down!! Who doesnt have more items with more weight than your great grandparents did?? times change,yes they do!!

Plus its hard to tell what those joists really are,,,,lots of houses in the country around HERE made with cottonwood lumber too.(NOT good stuff either) There are lots of substandard ramshackle houses of old as well as some VERY good quality. I know of a few that dont have over 4' length of lumber in them!! New Orleans shotgun houses were made of salvaged river barges,back then!!

I vote,,,if you couldnt tell,,,fix it RIGHT,,,NOW!!!
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Old 01-29-2009, 07:40 PM   #13
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Help! Sagging Floor Joists-Second Story>>>Undersized!!!


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Originally Posted by II Weeks View Post
+1 what Ron said



then your going to have to live with it or wait for someone to fall through the floor. If you want it done right, its going to be a monster job.

You could put in flush headers and then sister up the joists with 2X8 . . .
If it was built in 1919 i should be ballon frame, if there are no or few walls upstairs tearing up the floor is not that bad.
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:09 PM   #14
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Help! Sagging Floor Joists-Second Story>>>Undersized!!!


Leveling that floor will not be "easy" which is why you shouldn't do it if you are ok with it the way it is and if it is solid which you say it is.

If you want to level the floor you will need to tear up the floor boards because as someone else mentioned if you try to jack up the old joists and hold them level with sistered new lumber the new sistered joists will not win in a battle with the old joist. Instead you'll need to leave the old joists as they are and apply 2x10 sisters so that they provide a level surface above and below the old joists (hence the need to remove the old flooring).

Leveling the floor will be a lot more work than it sounds but if you want a level floor then it is worth it. If you are ok with the current floor then don't worry about it, you've given us no information that would suggest that it's going to fall in.
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:39 PM   #15
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Help! Sagging Floor Joists-Second Story>>>Undersized!!!


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Originally Posted by jogr View Post
Leveling that floor will not be "easy" which is why you shouldn't do it if you are ok with it the way it is and if it is solid which you say it is.

If you want to level the floor you will need to tear up the floor boards because as someone else mentioned if you try to jack up the old joists and hold them level with sistered new lumber the new sistered joists will not win in a battle with the old joist. Instead you'll need to leave the old joists as they are and apply 2x10 sisters so that they provide a level surface above and below the old joists (hence the need to remove the old flooring).

Leveling the floor will be a lot more work than it sounds but if you want a level floor then it is worth it. If you are ok with the current floor then don't worry about it, you've given us no information that would suggest that it's going to fall in.
If I were to remove the floor and sister in new 2x10s do they need to sit on top on the load bearing walls?...or can they just butt up against them?

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