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Old 01-16-2007, 09:32 AM   #1
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Noticeable slope on main floor...


Hi folks,

I just purchased a house built in 1972 and there's a noticeable hump at the main center support beam and sloping to the front and back of the house. It's not a huge hump, but my home inspector's ball zipped towards the front of the house when he let it go. The main beam is supported by 3 steel adjustable teleposts/columns, and I was wondering what was the best way to effectively lower/adjust the teleposts?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 01-16-2007, 10:05 AM   #2
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Noticeable slope on main floor...


Hmmm
- Its more likely that the outer ends need to be raised. This is often caused by a rotten sill. Was your inspector able to inspect the sill? Did he even try? Any mention or comment at all about the sill in the report? The sill holds up the outer wall, on top of the foundation. If its rotted then
thats your problem.

bottom line - Further investigation needs to be done to
determine the cause of the hump before you go and try to move anything. Fix the cause, and in the process of fixing the cause, you will fix the hump.

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Old 01-16-2007, 10:22 AM   #3
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Noticeable slope on main floor...


Thanks.

Yeah, the home inspector actually was the one that told me the teleposts needs adjustment. He went over the home with a fine tooth comb and has 25 years engineering experience. He told me that it wasn't a big deal since it's only causing cosmetic issues at this point, but I'm a perfectionist I notice that both door ways that run perpendicular to the main beam and end right at the beam are being pushed upwards by 3/4" on the side that ends at the main beam below. I can even notice the water in the toilet bowl in the washroom near the beam is sloped as well.

I was told a 1/4 turn once a week is a safe way to go for adjusting teleposts/columns.

Any other thoughts?

Thanks again!
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Old 01-16-2007, 10:34 AM   #4
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Noticeable slope on main floor...


Other thoughts? Yes - Find the cause. Things weren't installed that way.

cause 1 - the sill is rotted
cause 2 - the rim or band joist is rotted
cause 3 - the foundation at the perimiter is sinking.
cause 4 - the foundation under the colums has heaved

ONLY if its cause #4 would I start lowering the coulmns. Maybe if its cause 3 and no further sinking has occurred recently (past few years). If its cause 1 or 2 then you would actually RAISE the outer edge and fix the sill or rim.

The causes are listed in the likely order. Are the sills visible from the inside? Are they visible from the outside?
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Old 01-16-2007, 10:41 AM   #5
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Noticeable slope on main floor...


Thanks again Brik.

Sills are visible and look like new. The ground in the basement has a lot of cracks/heaving, so that's why I suspect the pillars that hold up the posts have move and put pressure up on the main floor. One other thing that I have to investigate first are the walls from the finished basement that I suspect were built up too close to the floor joists and may be the cause of the pressure from below. The idiot that did the work enclosed everything so I can't tell and may have to put some holes in the wall that runs alongside the beam downstairs to investigate. He actually shimmed some walls against the floor joists! I already took those out, but it wasn't near the problem area.
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Old 01-16-2007, 11:30 AM   #6
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Noticeable slope on main floor...


I think you should check if there is sign of water leakage in the basement ... this is another factor you need to consider besides slope...
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Old 01-16-2007, 12:19 PM   #7
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Noticeable slope on main floor...


could the finished walls in the basement have been built to tighten up the floors upstairs. Or, say, reduce deflection upstairs for tile work?

Pics of basement floor would help. I can't imagine a perfectionist would buy a house where the floor was so bad it had actually pushed up to cause this much damage.

What would cause the basement floor to just heave up?
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Old 01-16-2007, 01:59 PM   #8
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Noticeable slope on main floor...


I bought a less perfect house because it was all I could afford knowing that I could fix it.

Why would it heave? Not sure...that's why I'm here lol. I assume over time the house settled along the four outer walls, and since the basement floor is floating along with the piles that hold the teleposts, perhaps the piles didn't move too much over that time. Hence, the slope in the middle that runs towards the outer walls I assume is caused by this "settling" over time.

The basement walls are floating and spiked into the floor joists, but some were built too close to the joist, so I'm assuming this may be the problem with the wall near the main beam that I can't see because it's enclosed. However, the floor joists all look like they are sitting comfortably on the main beam with no lifting, so I doubt this is the problem.

There was a sewer back up in 1998 that caused them to pull the rug. But I don't think that is what you mean by water problems. The foundation was tarred and covered with a plastic membrane in 2004 because of moisture/cracks, but the home inspector told me that they would have never had moisture problems if they had properly graded the property, which is currently a little sloped toward the foundation (fixing that in the spring). I live in Canada and the soil around the foundation expands and contracts, and even worse if it's moist. The heaving in the basement floor isn't major...only very minor/little sloping here and there. It's noticeable, but it's not major.

Keep your comments/thoughts coming! I appreciate it!!!

Last edited by andersp; 01-16-2007 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 01-16-2007, 03:18 PM   #9
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Noticeable slope on main floor...


OK, here are some pictures...

Pic 1: Looking down the hallway on the main floor. The main beam the runs across the house is directly below the left side of the door.

Pic 2: Looking down the hallway on the main floor going the other way and seeing another crooked doorway.

Pic 3: Inside the bedroom looking at the other side of the doorway from the first picture. You can see the where the pressure is coming from causing the crack in the upper left side of the wall above the door.

Pic 4: A commom occurence on the entire basement floor. All four walls have cracking near the foundation with a very slight slope downwards from the crack to the bottom of the wall.

Pic 6: A view of the telepost directly in the middle of the house. You can see how I can't really access it to adjust it...so I will have to do some demolition of the wall surrounding it. No biggee. The circle indicates where there used to be a piece of wood that I cut out. The wall wasn't floating. This will make sense in the next picture...

Pic 7: A view of the same wall, but near the outer foundation wall. The circles indicate where the previous owner had nailed wood pieces to which the stipple ceiling is screwed to. Why someone would choose to put in a stipple ceiling in a basement is beyond me. That will come down eventually. You can see that on the right, there is not much gap above the wood pieces. The one on the left that is missing I took out because it was flush with the floor joist.


The floor is open...thanks!
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Old 01-16-2007, 04:16 PM   #10
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Noticeable slope on main floor...


Further to my last post...here is my take...

Floor joists look fine at both ends. When you look along the foundation walls, there are cracks about a meter from the wall along all 4 walls with the slightest slope from the cracks towards the bottom of the wall. I assume over time the entire foundation has settled on the outer edges leaving the inner floor at the same orginal height, or close to it. The cement floor within the foundation walls is floating and was poured in after the outer walls, and this is where the pillars for the teleposts are located. Therefore, the pillars for the teleposts, do not necessarily move if the outer walls move. Ah, the joys of building houses in a clay soil and in a cold climate...lol.

I hope this clears things up...
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Old 01-16-2007, 04:54 PM   #11
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Noticeable slope on main floor...


You mentioned the posts being on piles? Are you sure? Basement floors usually "float" since they are supported by the footings and the soil inside the basement. Any posts or columns must be on separate footing from the slab. It is OK if the slab sits on the footing, but not really desireable.

You have no drain tile and the house was built in clay soil? You can expect problems. The tar is really only a band-aid at best.

Have someone take of good look at everything. To do a reasonable job he will have to knock a few holes since much is hidden by the walls put up after the problems in 2004 were supposedly fixed. Something basic seems to be wrong here. Your home inspection was limited to those things that are visable as defined by the inspectors code of ethics.
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Old 01-16-2007, 05:03 PM   #12
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Noticeable slope on main floor...


Sorry, when I said piles, I'm really talking about the "chunk" of cement that the teleposts are sitting on that stick out of the cement floor a bit. I assumed they were piles of some sort.

Yes, I do have weeping tiles along the foundation, and they were cleaned out/replaced with the foundation work done on the house.
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Old 01-17-2007, 08:05 AM   #13
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Noticeable slope on main floor...


So have you done your first 1/4 turn yet???

O.K. here is my suggestion. First of all, grab a beer, go down into the basement sit in one corner and continue to look at everything. Continue to think and think and think. Then once you think you have it all figured out, think some more. Then call someone and have them come give you and estimate. If they say what inspector said, i.e. turning columns, tell them kindly that you can do that and ask them to leave. If they say it requires something else, get a couple of opinions.

If you want to be up front with the person you call, tell them over the phone you think you know what the problem is, and that you can fix it, how much do the charge to come evaluate the problem for you.

Or you can just go with what inspector said and start turing. That's what I would do if I felt I truly understood the problem......

What are your future plans for the basement, and for the house?
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Old 01-17-2007, 08:59 AM   #14
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Noticeable slope on main floor...


No, haven't done any turning yet . My buddy's uncle has been building houses for 25 years and I was going to get his opinion first. I'm in no rush, so I'll make sure I cross all my "t's" and dot my "i's".

As for the house, the main reason I would like to level things a bit is because I plan to do some remodelling upstairs, and it only makes sense to adjust things first. The basement will be the last thing I do. It's partly finished already and only needs some flooring and re-configurations.

Thanks again for the insight.

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