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Old 03-21-2010, 12:12 PM   #1
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Sagging Floors! Solutions??


I recently bought a house (and before you say I should have checked it out beforehand...I only really got the house because of a deal with a family member so it was to good to pass up), and it has some serious sagging floors. In the kitchen there are soft spots and the rest of the house is just sort of...hilly. In the living room the floor slants towards the back of the house and then as you go back towards the hall it slants back up. The bathroom and bedroom (on opposite sides of each other) feel and look straight, but you can tell that the bathroom is not the most sturdy.

I am looking to do a lot to improve the house already (the roof has major damage in the back of the house from a storm and everything needs to be updated/remodeled, so I'm trying to go about what I can in the most cost effective ways. When I get to reflooring..what can I do? Obviously the soft spots in the kitchen, which are by the sink, are from a busted pipe-we had to fix that as one of the first things we did in the house), so I know I'll need to replace the wood, but what about the living room, where it just sags.

Obviously, I know the basics and am not completely clueless, but I'm certainly no contractor. Any help out there?

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Old 03-21-2010, 03:06 PM   #2
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Sagging Floors! Solutions??


Sounds like you have some foundation piers that have settled, and probably some undersized floor joists. Older houses usually just had a spot footing under each individual pier, not a continious chain wall like modern pier construction, which made them very prone to settling; and floor joists were almost always undersized by today's standards. I would first have a couple of shoreing companies come take a look at the house and give you a price for leveling it, and adding any intermediate footings and beams needed to correct any overspanned joists. If the floor framing is not level and stable, any money you spend on improvements is just wasted. Since proper leveling of an entire house generally requires numerious jacking points worked simultaneously, and manpower for digging any new footings/placing concrete/building piers, it is not a DIY friendly job IMO.

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Old 03-24-2010, 07:15 AM   #3
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Sagging Floors! Solutions??


Do you have enough room to crawl under the house? What are the outside dimensions of the house? You best take a look at all lumber under the house one way or another ,as you can do it with a cheap led camera from ebay Your in a good position to learn the carpenter trade, but you can also go broke quick. Do the work yourself and don't get discouraged, and leveling the floors throughout is the first step. Buy at least 6 or 8 hydrolic jacks from auto junk yards, you can leave them in place and cover them in concrete if you have to. I've never done this next step ,but the old timers in the 1800 have .Use plastic milk jugs placed at sunken places in the floor at various places with water and small diameter tubing connected with water and the water will seek the lowest point . Test this idea first and find someone on oxigen to breath right, as they usually have plenty of extra hose for free..........you can do it.
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Old 03-24-2010, 03:12 PM   #4
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Sagging Floors! Solutions??


I agree with Troubleseeker on this one. You probably want to bring in some qualified professionals to level the floors / joists.
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Old 03-24-2010, 05:51 PM   #5
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Sagging Floors! Solutions??


You also mentioned you have roofing issues. I would put my money there first. A leaky roof will create more damage than sagging floors. The foundation should be your next priority. The only exception should be if you fear for your safety then the structural integrity of the floors and joists should be assessed by a professional. Spongy spots in the subfloor can be removed and replaced once you've corrected the source of the moisture. There are plenty of online resources like this one http://www.ehow.com/how_4548241_repl...ten-floor.html . Major structural floor jacking and releveling should be left to the professionals. Oh, and sagging floors in an older house are a normal thing to find. I would not necessarily rule out a house for sagging floors.

Last edited by Jim F; 03-24-2010 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 03-27-2010, 05:46 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bernieb View Post
Buy at least 6 or 8 hydrolic jacks from auto junk yards, you can leave them in place and cover them in concrete if you have to. I've never done this next step ,but the old timers in the 1800 have .Use plastic milk jugs placed at sunken places in the floor at various places with water and small diameter tubing connected with water and the water will seek the lowest point . Test this idea first and find someone on oxigen to breath right, as they usually have plenty of extra hose for free..........you can do it.
Hydraulic jacks from a junk yard? Why would they be there ...unless they were junk

As for burying the jacks in a mound of concrete; while you are waiting for this concrete to dry, you can use the time to call the local exterminating company about a termite contract..you will need it.

The milk jug idea is of course based on the theory of the water level, which works quite well when used correctly; but a series of milk jugs on the floor connected with tiny diameter aquarium tubing

Sorry...not trying to be mean.
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Old 03-27-2010, 07:11 PM   #7
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Believe it or not .......some people leave jacks under the seats,in the trunk when their cars,trucks get towed in ,and wind up in a auto graveyard. But your thoughts on getting it exterminated is great, that is after all lumber, electrical work, plumbing is done. Since we don't know how much space is under the house,everything is a guess. Heck, there may only be 6 inches.
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Old 03-27-2010, 07:33 PM   #8
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Sagging Floors! Solutions??


If you are of able body and mind - forget hiring people to fix sag and rot unless you attempt and realize you cannot do it. Doing it yourself will save you thousands, at the least. For our entire house to be sistered with the proper size joists it would have cost us AT LEAST $8,000 - according to one estimate. . . and I have a feeling that my sag was worse than yours. . . and we've handled it so far on our own, for a mere fraction of that cost. . . bit by bit.

One way or another - you need to look at your joists and measure them - read up (lots of reading!) to determine the proper sized joists, how to fix them, and various methods of repairing/sistering and so forth that you will need to use.
Learn your local building codes (I found my local codes online and printed them off, put them in a binder) and always focus on working ABOVE the code - not TO the code. Working to the code is like aiming for a C in math class.

Read read read - buy books on your subjects, read articles online - the more you learn the easier your problem solving will be.
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:25 AM   #9
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Good job Snav. Now there's someone with what it takes to get the job done. My theory is, it's your problem, why bring in a complete stranger ,that will sub out the work to other strangers and you be left with a bill that will take years to pay. I suspect the starter of this topic has was it takes and with certain precautions like have a friend stand by, he'll do just fine. Hard work builds character, you can't hire someone else to get it.

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