Loading Bearing Posts Won't Survive Earthquake? - Building & Construction - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Building & Construction


Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-18-2013, 04:04 AM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 246
Rewards Points: 182

loading bearing posts won't survive earthquake?

I live in the northwest (Seattle), about 4 miles from a major fault line. The house I live in is 95 years old and has survived a couple of earthquakes. The next one is suppose to be major and I'm concerned about the two loading bearing basement posts (photos attached) that basically support the middle of this 2 story house. The specific concerns are that one beam doesn't even make contact with the post first pictured and the second post sits on a couple of bricks (and those bricks appear to just sit on the concrete basement floor). Plus that second post is off kilter on those bricks as if they are falling/slipping off.

Also the house slopes to one corner of the house and the drop off is really felt on the upper floors where these posts are located. Not sure if this is a result of a previous earthquake (or two) or natural settling.

I fear the whole house would collapse inward during a earthquake (or major movement/shifting) as these seemingly important support posts would give out as they don't seem adequately in place.

Should I be concerned or am I overreacting? If the former, what should be my next course of action?
Attached Thumbnails
loading bearing posts won't survive earthquake?-2013-10-17-22.06.50.jpg   loading bearing posts won't survive earthquake?-2013-10-17-22.07.20.jpg   loading bearing posts won't survive earthquake?-2013-10-17-22.08.00.jpg   loading bearing posts won't survive earthquake?-2013-10-17-22.09.00.jpg  


anuvanoob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2013, 07:00 AM   #2
cortell's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 710
Rewards Points: 504

You should be concerned. It appears you have multiple things going on: a precariously installed support column, differential foundation movement, and (if my eyes are not playing tricks on me), you have a beam that has been severely compromised with a large perforation (right beam in first pic). Find a structural engineer in you area and have him assess your situation. Do not hire a handyman for this!


cortell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2013, 07:25 AM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Durham NC
Posts: 1,751
Rewards Points: 1,166

not to de rail Cortel's post but I would add/bolt/screw a heavy gauge L angle that attaches the beam to both sides of both posts. bolt it to the beam and to the post on both sides. the weird part is the post you see that is not sitting correctly on the brick footing could have moved because the post is not holding as much weight as it would seem and the post moved effortlessly( this is a guess from the internet world and not real world on the spot assessment) . plumb the post to determine where it should rest in relation to the footing, the footing should be placed directly under the plumb post etc...
hand drive is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2013, 07:48 AM   #4
GBrackins's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Fairhaven, Massachusetts
Posts: 2,915
Rewards Points: 2,108

I agree with cortell hire the services of a professional engineer. I've re-posted one of your photos with a question.
Attached Thumbnails
loading bearing posts won't survive earthquake?-2013-10-17-22.06.50.jpg  

"You get what you pay for, and sometimes free costs more!"
GBrackins is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to GBrackins For This Useful Post:
cortell (10-18-2013)
Old 10-18-2013, 08:09 AM   #5
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Hartfield VA
Posts: 34,448
Rewards Points: 14,026

That floors also going to have to be cut out so a footing can be pored.
When posting in forums, letting us know your location will help others give better feedback/advice/solutions to your questions
joecaption is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2013, 12:40 PM   #6
Ole Wood Worker

BigJim's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Posts: 10,537
Rewards Points: 596
Blog Entries: 1

I can't second guess what will be the advice of an expert on site. If it were mine, from what I see, I would do as said about new footings through concrete floor, new posts and engineered beams bolted on each side of what is there now.
New members: Please consider adding your location to your profile.

If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got.


BigJim is online now   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to BigJim For This Useful Post:
Windows on Wash (10-19-2013)
Old 10-18-2013, 06:38 PM   #7
Civil Engineer
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Boston
Posts: 5,641
Rewards Points: 4,862

The suggestions that have been made are pretty reasonable. A good place to start would be to determine how much dead weight that column is actually supporting. This can usually be done by preparing a careful, dimensioned sketch of the house framing, so you can see where load is being transferred from and to.

As to earthquake survival, there is zero chance that column would survive anything significant as it stands. The most critical factor in building survival during an earthquake is the quality of the connections between major structural elements, and as has been noted, there are not positive connections between the column and the beam above, or the footing (if that is a footing) below. So almost certainly the column would separate from the beam and the footing, which would leave the beam to hold up all the load currently held by the column.

You can of course hire a structural engineer to prepare some options, or you could hire an experienced contractor to fix the problem without benefit of an engineer, or you can start by talking to your building inspector, who may have suggestions on how to handle the problem. Simpson makes a line of moment connectors for beam to column applications, and they make column support brackets. Your engineer or contractor should be very familiar with their products, I have had very good luck with them over the years.


Daniel Holzman is online now   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
help settling porch posts - a dilemma. wombosi Carpentry 9 10-10-2008 12:01 AM
Q:Temp support to replace beam and posts on deck dougq Building & Construction 10 09-02-2008 04:24 PM
Cracks in pressure treated posts (4x4s, 6x6s) Deck Building & Construction 8 05-15-2008 10:57 PM
Support posts for 12' high deck hotchkiss Remodeling 3 09-05-2007 06:32 PM
Installation of pergola posts HDelahay Landscaping & Lawn Care 13 10-11-2006 06:46 AM

Top of Page | View New Posts


Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1