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Old 01-23-2010, 08:07 AM   #1
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Supporting a sagging ceiling


I am rehabilitating a condo I purchased that was constructed in the early 1970s, and there is a section of the living room/dining room ceiling that is bowing (about 3/4" lower in the center than at the wall on either side) where it is below an exterior wall of the 2nd floor. This section of the ceiling is 11 feet and 10 inches across between walls.

I have considered placing a beam across the gap to "shore up" the sagging ceiling and therefore better support the exterior wall (and the adjacent floor) above, even with the knowledge that this means tearing into the walls and 'notching' into studs to distribute the weighted support all the way to the floor.

Is this practical, or should I instead consider some alternative (other than tearing down and starting over)?

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Old 01-23-2010, 09:51 AM   #2
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Supporting a sagging ceiling


Have an inspection done by a Professional before you go ripping into the Structural components of a building.

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Old 01-23-2010, 09:55 AM   #3
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Supporting a sagging ceiling


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Originally Posted by TexasTony29 View Post
I am rehabilitating a condo I purchased that was constructed in the early 1970s, and there is a section of the living room/dining room ceiling that is bowing (about 3/4" lower in the center than at the wall on either side) where it is below an exterior wall of the 2nd floor. This section of the ceiling is 11 feet and 10 inches across between walls.

I have considered placing a beam across the gap to "shore up" the sagging ceiling and therefore better support the exterior wall (and the adjacent floor) above, even with the knowledge that this means tearing into the walls and 'notching' into studs to distribute the weighted support all the way to the floor.

Is this practical, or should I instead consider some alternative (other than tearing down and starting over)?
It sounds like a previous owner removed a bearing wall. I would knock on a few of your neighbors doors to see the original setup of the structure.
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Old 01-23-2010, 09:58 AM   #4
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Supporting a sagging ceiling


are the bearing walls now leaning in?
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:53 AM   #5
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Supporting a sagging ceiling


Regarding "are the bearing walls now leaning in?" the answer is "no", but there are very few corners (if any) in the structure that are square, and it does not appear there was ever a proper load bearing wall in this location, but rather that there should have been either a wall or a beam there in the first place to support this.
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Old 01-23-2010, 12:50 PM   #6
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Supporting a sagging ceiling


Based on your post that the center is 3/4 inch lower the edges, I assume you have determined this using a level, since this is a relatively small difference over an 11 foot span. The deflection ratio is about 1:180 (3/4 inch in 11 feet), which is not particularly severe. In fact, most people would never notice a d/L of 1:180. I am curious why you find this sagging ceiling so objectionable, and why you feel it is necessary to fix it.

I don't know why previous posters think that there must have been a bearing wall previously in place, your post does not present any such evidence. As for adding a cross beam, of course you could do that, but it will not "better support the exterior wall", it will simply add a small additional amount of weight for the exterior wall to hold up, and will increase the l/d ratio for your ceiling.

Prior to undertaking this project, you may want to consider exactly what it is you are hoping to achieve, since the existing deflection is likely within tolerance for your type of construction.
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:44 PM   #7
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Supporting a sagging ceiling


it is 3/4" mid span of 11' which is a fair amount imo

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