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Old 08-11-2011, 02:45 PM   #1
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Need 2nd story floor support help....


Hello, 1st time poster. New to this forum, but not new to forums...

My situation...
I acquired a house, built around 1889. So I'm sure it's no where up to code structurally.

In one of the 2nd floor bed rooms, if you jump up and down, the floor will shake a little.
It has no sub floor, only pine tongue and groove.

My question is... If I added 3/8 plywood on top of the pine tongue and groove and secured it with "hard as nails" caulk, and screws - that would turn the pine tongue and groove into the "sub floor".
Would that "sturdy it up"??
(in my mind, it seems logical that it would offer more rigidity)...

If not, I'm gonna have to tear up the pine floor, and add floor joist (I believe). I haven't tore any pine flooring out yet, but it's evident that the floor joist are not as close together as today's code requires. I'd rather not tear the floor up, but that may be the only option.

What say ye?
Adding plywood will help fix the "shakiness"... or no?
Other options?

Thanks.

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Last edited by Earl Williams; 08-11-2011 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 08-11-2011, 03:29 PM   #2
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Need 2nd story floor support help....


Adding plywood would only make the "spring" worse as you would be adding additional weight and not addressing the structural capacity of the floor system.

If you are looking to stiffen up the floor then addressing the joists themselves should be your first step.

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Old 08-11-2011, 04:00 PM   #3
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Need 2nd story floor support help....


Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl Williams View Post
Hello, 1st time poster. New to this forum, but not new to forums...

My situation...
I acquired a house, built around 1889. So I'm sure it's no where up to code structurally.

In one of the 2nd floor bed rooms, if you jump up and down, the floor will shake a little.
It has no sub floor, only pine tongue and groove.

My question is... If I added 3/8 plywood on top of the pine tongue and groove and secured it with "hard as nails" caulk, and screws - that would turn the pine tongue and groove into the "sub floor".
Would that "sturdy it up"??
(in my mind, it seems logical that it would offer more rigidity)...

If not, I'm gonna have to tear up the pine floor, and add floor joist (I believe). I haven't tore any pine flooring out yet, but it's evident that the floor joist are not as close together as today's code requires. I'd rather not tear the floor up, but that may be the only option.

What say ye?
Adding plywood will help fix the "shakiness"... or no?
Other options?

Thanks.
I would not remove the pine floors to make the repair, I would remove the ceiling under the floor. Hard to recreate a floor of that age. A white ceiling, is a white ceiling.
If the beams are too long for the span, they've probably dropped a bit. You might use engineered lumber to stiffen it up.
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Old 08-11-2011, 04:08 PM   #4
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Need 2nd story floor support help....


Are your floors heart pine? I would think twice if they are, heart pine is high dollar and looks great especially if you plan to restore instead of remodel. How tall are the downstairs ceilings and what is the ceiling material? Most old homes I have restored, the up stairs were short rooms, while downstairs were from 12-14 feet tall. If you have very tall ceilings downstairs and the ceiling materials aren't really good maybe you might consider beefing up the ceiling from below instead of taking the floor up. Just a thought.

Looks like Ron and I posted about the same time.
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:30 AM   #5
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Need 2nd story floor support help....


I'll have to make some measurements, but the upstairs is shorter than the down stairs rooms. And the down stairs rooms are fairly high.

I figured adding plywood would add weight, and may make it worse... glad I asked, before I proceeded.

Adding to the floor joist from below.... well, I was hoping I could add from above. The ceiling below, is finished (ceiling tile), and the ceiling tile is over top of more tongue and groove pine. So I would have to tear off two layers, and tie up another room - if I came from below. Where as if I fixed it from above, I would only need to remove 1 layer, and only tie up one room.

I have not examined the tongue and groove pine on the ceiling below yet (as it's covered by ceiling tile), but the tongue and groove pine on the floor above - is a lesser quality cut than those boards used in the down stairs. I'll try and get some pictures over the weekend.

I do need to look at the electrical, so tearing something off - would be a good thing.

However I do fix it, I will be adding cross braces to the joist. I suspect there is not much cross bracing in there (there isn't under the ground floor, as I can inspect it from below, and those joist are far apart - to be addressed later)....

Thanks, and more suggestions welcomed (and pics to come).



PS - engineered lumber? same as laminated lumber?

Last edited by Earl Williams; 08-12-2011 at 07:32 AM.
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:39 AM   #6
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Need 2nd story floor support help....


A lot of old houses I have looked at are a bit shaky. People pay extra for the wobble, kind of gives the house character. Before you go creating a project, you should probably measure the exact size and spacing of the joists, attempt to determine the species and grade of the joists, and measure the span. If they are close to allowable stiffness, and meet the current strength test, you can certainly live with a little shakiness.

If you can't lilve with the shaking, cross bracing is a good idea. It may be possible to temporarily remove the pine flooring to install the bracing, and reinstall it. Depends on how the pine is attached how easy that is going to be. Adding joists is always possible, but it is a lot of work, and if not done correctly it may not really cure your problem. There are some tricky issues involved with sistering joists if space is limited, or the bearing issues are difficult, that can make the process more expensive than you would like.
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:43 AM   #7
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Need 2nd story floor support help....


Engineered lumber as in LVL's(laminated veneer lumber). It's a man made framing member. It comes in traditional sizes, like 2x8, 2x10, etc. It's spans are greater then dimensional and more stable.
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:53 AM   #8
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That's what I was thinking engineered wood was.

Once I decide to tear in from the top (or bottom), I'll get some dim's on the joist. I figure the species is pine (about all the house it). Just hope it's not 2x4 joist.

I can tell, this is gonna be interesting. I feel confident, I'm going to need to "shore up" probably all of the floors sooner or later.

The floors (through out), have either been "oiled", or painted (or both). So to get them to look natural (if i don't cover them), would be a whole lot of sanding (or taking them up and planing them).

I can already tell, this is prolly going to be an expensive venture.

More to come....
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:18 AM   #9
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Need 2nd story floor support help....


Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl Williams View Post
That's what I was thinking engineered wood was.

Once I decide to tear in from the top (or bottom), I'll get some dim's on the joist. I figure the species is pine (about all the house it). Just hope it's not 2x4 joist.

I can tell, this is gonna be interesting. I feel confident, I'm going to need to "shore up" probably all of the floors sooner or later.

The floors (through out), have either been "oiled", or painted (or both). So to get them to look natural (if i don't cover them), would be a whole lot of sanding (or taking them up and planing them).

I can already tell, this is prolly going to be an expensive venture.

More to come....
The old homes I have worked on were all expensive to get right, it was a labor of love for the owners as it sure wasn't cost efficient.

If adding to thickness of joists, it would be highly advisable to go in from the bottom (ceiling) as the extra height upstairs would really get costly and labor intent, you would have to deal with doors cut off, stairs reworked and a number of other things. The floors have been there for 113 years so far and haven't gone anywhere, if there is no rot then cross bracing may be your least expensive way out but don't expect it to take all the bounce out and there is a chance it could squeak.
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:23 AM   #10
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Need 2nd story floor support help....


I'm hoping the thickness is OK.

I'm thinking they are just spaced out too far, and I can add another joist in between all the existing joist (providing the existing joist is sufficient).

Then, adding cross braces - should do do me ok.
If the joist are close enough though, just add cross braces.

Lots hinging on the dim's of the existing joist, and their spacing.

I think I may have bit into a BIG project..........
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:27 AM   #11
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Need 2nd story floor support help....


Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl Williams View Post
That's what I was thinking engineered wood was.

Once I decide to tear in from the top (or bottom), I'll get some dim's on the joist. I figure the species is pine (about all the house it). Just hope it's not 2x4 joist.

I can tell, this is gonna be interesting. I feel confident, I'm going to need to "shore up" probably all of the floors sooner or later.

The floors (through out), have either been "oiled", or painted (or both). So to get them to look natural (if i don't cover them), would be a whole lot of sanding (or taking them up and planing them).

I can already tell, this is prolly going to be an expensive venture.

More to come....
The wood sizes in your house will be larger then todays wood. Houses built around here, back in the 1930's actually had joists that were 2x8 or 2x12, not 1 1/2 x 7 1/2 or 1 1/2 x 11 1/4" .
Your house could be completely different. If you have an open basement, you should be able to look at those joists to give you an idea of what you're working with.
Sanding the floors are not that expensive, relative to replacement cost and the quality of flooring you probably have. Costs around here run $1.25-.1.75 per sq foot to refinish(sand, stain and 2 coats of poly).
It is unlikely you will be able to remove this flooring in one piece. It is running under the walls and very brittle due to it's age. You'd have a shot if you got under it and cut the nails with a Sawzall and then cut around the rooms perimeter.
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:32 AM   #12
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Need 2nd story floor support help....


2x8's are now 1-1/2x7-1/4 so when the 3/4" subfloor is applied it has a true 8" thickness. This is the same reason 2x10 & 2x12 are at the 1/4" mark.
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:34 AM   #13
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Engineered lumber as in LVL's(laminated veneer lumber). It's a man made framing member. It comes in traditional sizes, like 2x8, 2x10, etc. It's spans are greater then dimensional and more stable.
Ron... on the topic of laminated lumber - going totally off topic here...
Has anyone tried Poplar before??

I know a gentleman, who owns a saw mill... and he cut some poplar and pine to build a LARGE dry shed. Over the years, the pine has twisted and bowed, yet the poplar has remained straight as an arrow (I have seen it with my own eyes). I wonder why we don't use poplar more often, rather than pine?

(please excuse my ignorance, there is prolly a simple answer - I'm just not aware of it).
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:35 AM   #14
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2x8's are now 1-1/2x7-1/4 so when the 3/4" subfloor is applied it has a true 8" thickness. This is the same reason 2x10 & 2x12 are at the 1/4" mark.
Ahh, makes sense now.

Thanks!
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:41 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Earl Williams View Post
I wonder why we don't use poplar more often, rather than pine?
Not all species of pine are allowed to be used for structural framing. You can see this in the box stores where one bin of 2x4s is different from the other and labeled as structural and non-structural. Douglas Fir is the most commonly used for stud grade lumber. I would guess that poplar cannot handle the loads mandated by building codes.

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