DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum (http://www.diychatroom.com/)
-   General DIY Discussions (http://www.diychatroom.com/f2/)
-   -   Mysterious turn-buckles in basement (http://www.diychatroom.com/f2/mysterious-turn-buckles-basement-170604/)

randlefactor 01-30-2013 09:04 PM

Mysterious turn-buckles in basement
 
2 Attachment(s)
Hello,
This time around I need some help figuring out what I saw in my basement... Scary :) There are 4 or 5 cables and turnbuckles running lengthwise under my floor between the joists (?) A cable provides tension, inferring that the beams were bowing out horizontally. It doesn't make sense to me. Please let me know what your take is on this and why someone would do it.

House built in 1830, upstate NY

Thanks!!

joecaption 01-30-2013 09:09 PM

Go quite a mess down there. Really like the main beam cut 1/2 way through with a lolly proping it up.
What's the other end attached to?

randlefactor 01-30-2013 09:13 PM

Joe, ya there's a reason I didn't show you any other pics! Haha! I learned after buying this place that a really intense DIY'er did some crazy stuff back in 1998-2002... then he sold it!

The other end pops through the vertical beam that sits on top of the sill plate at the front wall of the house... Behind those bushes out front. I can actually see 5 steel plates and nuts just like the pic outside the house.

joecaption 01-30-2013 09:19 PM

Only times I've seen this done is when the walls start spreading out.
Most of the times it's because of a failing foundation with a poor footing that starts tipping.

randlefactor 01-30-2013 09:28 PM

Hmmm yes that sounds familiar. The whole left foundation wall was reinforced with concrete (originally stone/shale) at one time. We are on a slight hill with water flowing by underground. The window frames and doors are all slanted towards the downhill side so I know this house has got some lean to it.

So how would I know if this house is still sinking or if that stopped long ago?
Also, should I replace those floor jackposts with something more permanent?
Deep square cut: All the beams are cut this way! Were the builders in 1830 totally clueless to the fact that this reduces the beam strength to that of the remaining thickness?!

joecaption 01-30-2013 09:32 PM

That jack would be fine but only if they dug out and pored a footing for it that was big and deep enough with rebar in it.

You sure they did not just smear morter on that wall to try and cover up the cracks?

randlefactor 01-30-2013 09:37 PM

I can't really be sure of anything right now except that I should have hired a structural guy to inspect this heap before I bought it! I'm just praying it holds until I sell it and the next buyer is as clueless as I was or wants to put lots of money into it.

oberkc 01-31-2013 07:05 AM

In Charleston SC, one can see a LOT of examples of similar setup, though mostly through second-floor walls. These are intended, I have been told, to keep the walls from spreading out, and were added after a large earthquake in the late 1800s.

Perhaps this was used to pull the house back together after some geological event, and simply left in place?

TarheelTerp 02-02-2013 11:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by randlefactor (Post 1106020)
I learned after buying this place that a really intense DIY'er did some crazy stuff back in 1998-2002... then he sold it!

The only thing worse than doing nothing at all...

wrongdave 02-02-2013 12:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by randlefactor (Post 1106027)
Deep square cut: All the beams are cut this way! Were the builders in 1830 totally clueless to the fact that this reduces the beam strength to that of the remaining thickness?!

Well, let's see. They built a house almost 200 years ago with crude hand tools, and it's still standing today. And did it all without access to all of us geniuses on the internet. Clueless?
More specific, if you look at the joints they used back than and realize they didn't have things like joist hangers and even decent nails, they had reasons for what they did.

Daniel Holzman 02-02-2013 01:33 PM

Wrongdave has made a very important point. You cannot judge 200 year old construction technique based on current practice. Similarly, it is very difficult to find craftsmen capable of replicating 200 year old design practice. This often leads to a confusing amalgam of techniques when old houses are repaired or improved, which is what you have.

It is very difficult to evaluate the condition of a house over the internet, especially one that has multiple construction techniques. My suggestion is you try to find a local architect, structural engineer or contract who has experience with old construction practices, and pay them to perform a detailed evaluation of the condition of your house, and prepare a report detailing what actions are critical, which are important but not critical, and which actions are irrelevant.

As to the turnbuckles, they are commonly used in older construction, generally to hold walls in place. Without a good history of the construction of your house, it is difficult to evaluate the original intent of the turnbuckles, possibly they connected to walls which are no longer present.

operagost 02-04-2013 05:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wrongdave (Post 1107889)
Well, let's see. They built a house almost 200 years ago with crude hand tools, and it's still standing today. And did it all without access to all of us geniuses on the internet. Clueless?
More specific, if you look at the joints they used back than and realize they didn't have things like joist hangers and even decent nails, they had reasons for what they did.

Mine was built in 1800, and the main beam sits below the joists. No cuts. And most of the joists are rough timber. :thumbup: Obviously, though, if that house is still here, then it was done adequately. All the bozo shacks fell down a hundred years ago!

paintdrying 02-08-2013 06:16 PM

Most of the houses out here under 10 years old are literately falling apart at the seams. These were built and inspected by the best and brightest of our time.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:41 AM.