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Weekend Warrior DIY 11-14-2007 08:06 AM

Installing a structural fiberglass column
I have an old house and when we first bought the house I noticed that there's sagging on the second floor. You feel like the room is sinking towards the center of the house.

Well one day we decided that we were going to tear out all the plaster in the dining room ceiling and put up new drywall and also replace the knob and tube wiring. Well as I'm sure many of you were guessing we found some interesting things. For starters the main cross beam, which is (3) 2x10's nailed together, sits on a pocket in rock on the one side of the house but is "attached", if you can call it that, the a rough cut beam that runs from the front of the house to the back of the house. This cross beam holds all the floor joists for the second floor above the dining room. Well the cross beam was only toe-nailed into the front to back beam and now sinks almost two inches on that side. The previous owner tried to fix it by nailing up a 1x3 to support it but obviously that isn't good for nothing. So to fix this whole mess I'm going to put in a decorative, structural fiberglass column. The column is rated to over 10,000 lbs and I am going to put in a steel column in the basement to transfer the weight.

My question is what's the best method for installing the column. The directions indicate nothing about needing a wood post in the middle or anything to that extent. I obviously don't want to be trying to "hammer" this thing in to place since I will certainly be ruining the column.

Any thoughts will be appreciated.

troubleseeker 11-15-2007 09:10 PM

Structural rated fiberglass columns do not need any type of post within them. They are designed to bear directly of the top edges of the sides, just as the instructions say. I personally have never been comfortable with the bottom of a beam just bearing on two edges of 1/4" thick fiberglass, so I like to make a plywood cap that will be hidden by the top trim. I cut a piece of 3/4" plywood the same as the outside dimensions of the column, then use a rabbiting bit in my router to cut a small step around the perimeter of the plywood. This will allow the plywood to set inside the column slightly to keep it aligned with the column and spread the load around the entire perimeter of the column instead of just where the beam crosses. As for installation, you will have to jack the beam up enough to freely slip the column in place.
If you want to remove some of the existing sag, you can rent a few jack posts from a scaffolding supplier. They are basically an adjustable height pipe shaft with a large threaded jacking screw on one end (typically used to support temporary form work for poured in place concrete floors on commercial buildings) . They would allow you to jack the sagged beam up a little at a time over a few weeks or even months so as to allow the movement to be gradual enough to minimize any wall damage.

Weekend Warrior DIY 11-16-2007 08:01 AM

That's very good advice. I wanted to do something like you were describing but what you described really will finish it off nicely.

I don't plan on taking out the sag in the floor since I've built a sub-ceiling structure that will be finished off by drywall. It's not 'exactly' the right way to do the job but I don't want to be redoing anything that I already did upstairs. So I'm just going to jack it up enough to level get it to the point that I can get the column in there and make it look nice and sturdy the floor up from anymore settling.

If I had it my way, I'd have ripped the whole second floor out on that side of the house and fix what the previous owners neglected to do right.

Ron6519 11-17-2007 04:33 PM

I don't think a fiberglass column will do the job. They're not made for this application. You need a concrete filled lolly column set in a concrete footing 2'x2'x2'.

Kingfisher 11-18-2007 06:30 PM

Not sure if I am understanding the whole problem. The problem seem to be with the connection of the 2 main floor joist for the floor system. To fix that you are going to add a new column in the middle of the room? or is it at a wall? If you do not care about raising it back up and it is holding the load right now just add a joist hanger sized properly for the load and your done:thumbsup: If you still want the column but it in after the drywall and use a cheaper nonloadbearing. Hope that helps

Weekend Warrior DIY 11-19-2007 08:55 AM

Concrete lolly column
1 Attachment(s)
I am going to put one of those columns in the basement to support the weight, if any, on the dining room floor. The fiberglass column is rated at 11,000 lbs and is designed for this type of installation.

I have drawn up a quick sketch to show the location and how the room is set up. I will not be jacking the beam up so I don't have to screw up the work I did upstairs already. I'm just going to make sure it doesn't go any further.


Kingfisher 11-19-2007 11:06 AM

Just add a hanger like this, then you will not need the column in the basement or livingroom. Should only cost $20 at the most, why kill yourself with a whole new bearing point:huh: .
here is the link but you need to figure the load

Weekend Warrior DIY 11-19-2007 11:53 AM

I'll look into it. It'd def. be more desireable to my GF then the column but the thing that's keeping me stuck on the column is the fact that there's no real support in the middle of the house on that side. Which is why it settled in the first place. I don't know if I want that load to be resting on that main beam going front to back. If I could jack everything back into place, which isn't even possible at this stage of the house work, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Not to mention the people who urban engineered the system that's in place now notched the tripple 2 x 10 joists for installation.

Anyway thanks again. Something to look into.

Kingfisher 11-19-2007 12:16 PM

This is how it was first built it right? All the load was went to go on that beam? If you answer yes to both of these you are set. as long as its a small notch you are only dealing with sear at the very end of the joist you should be good. If you can lift it just a hair before you put the bucket in to have it holding when you let it down. If the notch was not there you could hammer in some widges to load it.

Weekend Warrior DIY 11-19-2007 12:33 PM

It's a thought. I'll look into actual dimensions and stuff tonight when I get to the house.

My assumption, yes I know that can get me into trouble, is that the tripple 2x10 beam replaced the original rough cut beam that supported the middle of the second floor because of some form of failure. They notched the new tripple beam so that they could nail up a support piece of 1 x 3 and rest the new tripple beam on that. If they would have done it this way before life would be a sinch.

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