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Old 11-15-2017, 12:44 PM   #1
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Temporarily supporting rotted girder and support posts


About a year ago I purchased a 100+ year 2-flat in Chicago, and during the initial inspection, it was found that the main support beam/girder (I believe a 6x8) in my basement along with the 6x6 wood support columns had both termite and rot damage. As a result, the center of my home has experienced some sinking (~1.5 inches at the worst area). The concrete foundation is solid and there is no sinking or cracking.

I've been soliciting estimates to replace the main support beam (it's about 35 feet in length), the columns, and sister a couple of the joists that have cracked, but the estimates have been extremely expensive (13-20k). As a result, I need to make some temporary repairs simply to stop the sagging until I can afford a full replacement, which I may end up doing myself (but that is a whole different topic).

My current plan is to purchase 4 jack posts to create two temporary supports at the center of the home - where the sagging is the worst. I'lll use 6x6s to span 3 joists, supported by two jack posts on each end, resting on a pressure treated 2x10 to spread the load on the foundation. This temporary support would be on each side of the current support beam, approximately 3-4 feet from the center (as there are water heaters I need to clear). The intent here is not to level anything, just prevent any future sagging.

Will this suffice as a temporary fix? Any input would be appreciated, thanks!
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Old 11-15-2017, 06:27 PM   #2
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Re: Temporarily supporting rotted girder and support posts


I think if you are going to go the DIY route, a consult and set of plans from an engineer will save you heartache and possible foul up.
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Old 11-15-2017, 06:53 PM   #3
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Re: Temporarily supporting rotted girder and support posts


I agree spend the money on the engineer, then we will be happy to help understand how to do it.
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Old 11-15-2017, 07:16 PM   #4
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Re: Temporarily supporting rotted girder and support posts


I hope you got this place really cheap.
Have you called an exterminator yet?
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Old 11-16-2017, 09:01 AM   #5
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The termite issue has already been resolved and for a repair that is going to cost less than 5% of the purchase of the home, this isn't that big of an issue, since I purchased the property far under market value.

When the actual permanent repair is completed, a structural engineer will be used. My question applies only to the temporary support that is needed to prevent further sinking. Because the girder itself has damage, putting jack posts under it will not suffice. I am asking if four jack posts, two on each side approximately 3 feet away from the girder will suffice in preventing further sinking. If not, should I use more jack posts? Are the materials (6x6) enough to support the upper structure, or should I nail 2x8s together instead? My intent here is to overengineer the temporary support. Thanks.
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Old 11-16-2017, 02:24 PM   #6
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Re: Temporarily supporting rotted girder and support posts


First thing you want to do is judge the floor in the basement. With a hammer tap the floor, you are looking for voids under it, You will hear the difference.
If you have voids, that will need to be dealt with first. If not is is just about spreading the load as we don't not the strength of the concrete or the suitability of the fill below it.

You want a rough calculation of the load on the beam. What percentage of the first and second floor, the percentage of the roof. and the possible snow load.

Now you are thinking over kill, I know you said temp but if you build temp and then you want to do the repair, what will you be able to change and beef up when you want to do the repair.
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:19 PM   #7
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Re: Temporarily supporting rotted girder and support posts


Thanks for the input! I'll check the concrete shortly.

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Originally Posted by Nealtw View Post
You want a rough calculation of the load on the beam. What percentage of the first and second floor, the percentage of the roof. and the possible snow load.

Now you are thinking over kill, I know you said temp but if you build temp and then you want to do the repair, what will you be able to change and beef up when you want to do the repair.
Is this necessary if the temporary supports I'm putting in soon will all come up prior to completing the repair? Again, the intent is simply to mitigate any further sinking; once repairs begin this would all be removed.
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:28 PM   #8
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Re: Temporarily supporting rotted girder and support posts


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Originally Posted by chiRockclimb View Post
Thanks for the input! I'll check the concrete shortly.


Is this necessary if the temporary supports I'm putting in soon will all come up prior to completing the repair? Again, the intent is simply to mitigate any further sinking; once repairs begin this would all be removed.
To many unknowns for any responsible person to give you advice.

If I came to this work for you I would start with one question.
Do you have the info the engineer gave you.

I might climb all over your house and go ahead with something. We would have to rely on you to give us every detail of info and we would have to ask all those question. Then the job could fail with one miss understanding.

Last edited by Nealtw; 11-16-2017 at 07:32 PM.
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girder repair , jack posts , support beam , support column


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