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Old 11-16-2015, 11:35 PM   #1
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bump in hardwood flooring?


a little background first is probably important: moved into this house about a year ago. It was built in 1988 but had been recently flipped and looked great. The house had been foreclosed on and had moisture issues in the basement (presumably water in the basement because of no power or sump pump) everything looked fine and our home inspection including a full panel of mold tests all came back great. After a year of living here we have learned that the contractors that did the work did a really shoddy job in a number of places.

about 4-5 months after moving in we noticed there was a gap running lengthwise across the hardwood floor in the dining room between planks with a gap nearly 2 quarters width across. Naturally the question my wife and I keep asking ourselves is "was this really here when we bought the house?" we don't think so but it also doesnt seem to have changed at all. After digging into it a little myself I noticed that the separation runs directly above an iron support beam in the basement. Visually inspecting this from the basement doesn't (at least to me) show anything obvious happening.

The floor is definitely "heaving" upward creating a bump, almost as if two sections of subflooring are buckling upward on that seam.

Today I noticed a much smaller separation happening in the living room which is the same floor that runs into the dining room. There is no perceptible bump here however. This separation also is occurring directly above an iron support beam, and again nothing interesting appears to be happening in this location from the basement either.

So... my question is what in the world is going on here? Is it possible the flooring or subfloor was installed improperly? or is this a sign of something more serious related to the support beams? I have a handful of theories but they all seem more grasping at straws than they are plausible in my mind... help!
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:40 AM   #2
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Post some pictures of the area under the floor.
Without being on site this is a tough one to be 100% sure on.
Just a few things it could be.
Floor was sagging so beam was added or was shimmed and set to high.
No footing under the coloums and the slab is lifting.
Under sized, or over spanned joist.
Flooring buckled because of the high humidity.
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Old 11-27-2015, 06:26 PM   #3
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Here are a few pictures (attached) of the area under the floor. I'm not sure exactly what is useful to see here so I took a bunch of different ones.

I did notice while taking these photos that the top of many of the floorboards between the two supporting beams in question are cracking or splitting where the notch is cut out to set it inside the iron beam.

I have no idea what the proper way to lay a floorboard like that would be, but it seems to me that you would want the actual weight of the floor resting on the inside of the bottom notch of each floorboard rather than the thin sliver of wood at the top of the floorboard on either side supporting any weight.

Is it possible these floorboards were cut improperly and bearing load on the top of the floorboard causing the cracks and ultimately the "bumps" in the floor? If thats the case could I just shim it back in place from the bottom? Just a theory. from someone that has no idea what they're talking about
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Old 11-28-2015, 09:07 AM   #4
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jack up each joist until there is no gap in the joist where it is split. then hammer in a shim where the joist should contact the botttom of the beam.
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Old 11-28-2015, 04:32 PM   #5
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jack up each joist until there is no gap in the joist where it is split. then hammer in a shim where the joist should contact the botttom of the beam.
Thanks, I figured a fix for this would be along those lines. So I assume you're in agreement then that the floorboards were cut incorrectly, cracked and are now causing the flooring gaps above?
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Old 11-29-2015, 07:41 AM   #6
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So I assume you're in agreement then that the floorboards were cut incorrectly, cracked


and are now causing the flooring gaps above?
those are joists. and yes, they look to be cut wrong.


idk, could be. could be they installed flooring worng also.
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Old 11-29-2015, 11:36 AM   #7
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With the cracks in those joists, the support for the flooring is non-existent, allowing it to bulge / separate, and fall apart.

Shimming the joists back to correct should alleviate the bulging in the room .

I have never saw such a crappy build as you have there, that is not the way to cut and install those joists.


You are right when you said that the contractor did some shoddy shortcuts.


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Old 11-29-2015, 05:33 PM   #8
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bump in hardwood flooring?


I think your number one problem is the beam should be below the joists. That is not how you do a flush beam. Are they just jammed in there? The joists likely shrunk a little causing everything to sink. They are cut wrong that's for sure, no right way to do it like that. The bumps are caused by everything sagging, except the little chunk between the steel and plywood.

Last edited by kressman; 11-29-2015 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 11-29-2015, 07:50 PM   #9
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I think your number one problem is the beam should be below the joists. That is not how you do a flush beam. Are they just jammed in there? The joists likely shrunk a little causing everything to sink. They are cut wrong that's for sure, no right way to do it like that. The bumps are caused by everything sagging, except the little chunk between the steel and plywood.
Thanks everyone. I did a bunch of research on how to properly install floor joists in conjuction with a supporting iron beam and couldn't find anything that looks anything like the construction in my house. I guess that's because its the wrong way to do it!

Who knows why it was done that way but the floor joists are just cut with a notch on the top to "hang" on top of the beam and a notch on the bottom to allow the floor joist to sit on the beam. I'm guessing the intention was to bear the load on the bottom notch laying on the supporting beam rather than hanging on the thin piece of wood between the iron supporting beam and subfloor but the contractor cut them incorrectly.

This also completely explains why the floor above feels so springy! I thought I was just not used to it having lived in a home on a slab for the last 6 years but it is not all in my head!

The fix seems simple enough. Slowly jack up each beam, shim, rinse, repeat. ?
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Old 11-29-2015, 08:44 PM   #10
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, no right way to do it like that.
so, how is it done ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveB87 View Post



The fix seems simple enough. Slowly jack up each beam, shim, rinse, repeat. ?

jack up 1 joist. not the beam. why and what, would you rinse ?
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Old 11-29-2015, 09:27 PM   #11
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Might be rinsing their underpants when the thing starts popping and snapping during the lifting process.



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Old 11-30-2015, 07:39 PM   #12
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bump in hardwood flooring?


[QUOTE=Fix'n it;2736393]so, how is it done ? [QUOTE=Fix'n it;2736393]



Well I'm not an engineer.. At the least 2x fastened to the top of the beam and hangers used. You can also bolt double 2x inside the beam and attach with hangers, that way you aren't butchering the joists.

To the OP: Is this work original? I'm surprised the problem is only occurring now. You can straighten out the floor but it would take a lot more work to actually fix this, and prevent future problems. Attaching the joists to the steel would be a good start.
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Old 11-30-2015, 09:37 PM   #13
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[quote=kressman;2739625][QUOTE=Fix'n it;2736393]so, how is it done ?
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Originally Posted by Fix'n it View Post



Well I'm not an engineer.. At the least 2x fastened to the top of the beam and hangers used. You can also bolt double 2x inside the beam and attach with hangers, that way you aren't butchering the joists.

To the OP: Is this work original? I'm surprised the problem is only occurring now. You can straighten out the floor but it would take a lot more work to actually fix this, and prevent future problems. Attaching the joists to the steel would be a good start.
I have asked myself that question more than a few times. I honestly have no idea if it is original or not. I only have two theories (that probably overlap) about why it might be a problem now and it was not when we bought the house.

1 - Something about the rapid and extreme moisture fluxuation associated with a home that in about 9 months went from having standing water in the basement to a consistent 40% humidity with a dehumidifer running caused those tiny slivers of wood holding up the floor to finally crack along the grain.

2 - A much older couple lived in this house prior to us and may have never pushed the limits of what those tiny slivers of floor joist could hold ( I have absolutely no proof this is true, maybe they threw huge parties!)

I plan on very slowly (over the course of a few weeks) raising the joists parallel to the iron support beams with a 4x4 across two jacks and shimming under the joist. Once the floor gap is closed I'll likely leave it alone for a while then evaluate any unshimmed joists to determine if I should find a way to reinforce them. Seems like a sane enough approach?
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