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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I went to look at a cheap house. It's the right size of house in the right school district, has the right location, etc. I found out why it's so cheap. There are many issues with the house. Most are cosmetic. The basement floor and basement block walls all seem to be in decent shape aside from one crack in one corner. There are wall that are out of plumb, not square with the room throughout the house, etc. Drywall needs replacing, flooring, lots and lots of stuff. Almost overwhelming, but not quite. The thing that my decision to pursue or not is going to come from the one glaring issue I found. The previous owner cut a hole in the middle of the first floor to install basement steps. It has engineered joists. They were never supported properly. The first floor floors all tilt inwards toward that area. Some more than others. The roof line looks ok. The exterior walls look ok. My question is, how do i go about fixing the issue? I was under the impression that you cannot jack up under an engineered joist. Is this something that i can sister/plate the ends that need supported at the stairwell and put a beam and jacks under? The joists are the truss type, not the plywood composite center type. I am returning to the house tomorrow evening and will be able to upload a picture to better help with understanding. Thanks in advance.
 

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Pictures will also help if there's any way you can see a name plate on the trusses so you know who manufactured them that would be great. The manufacturer of the trusses will be able to give you a better repair plan than anybody else can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Is there anywhere specifically on the joists that they would be stamped? Bottom plate, side of top plate? Or are you talking a general ink stamp that could be in many places?

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Here is the link to my photobucket album with the pictures.

http://s595.photobucket.com/user/dstover71/library/House%20Joists%20-%20Misc%20April%202016

After another visit it looks like they've sistered the joists with a laminate. If I was looking at it as the novice I am I would say that I need to move the support wall under the last vertical truss connector and not out on the flange like they currently have it. Would that be sufficient? It's currently sitting out about 6" away from that last vertical connection of the truss which almost looks like they are bowing upwards; allowing the truss to show a slight bow right at the end where it is currently supported by the wall...
 

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If I understand your situation, you have not yet put in an offer on the house. I recommend that you hire an experienced engineer, architect or contractor to fully examine the structural issues with the house, and prepare a written report with estimate to make the necessary repairs. You can then add a factor of safety to the estimate, and make an offer consistent with you making the needed repairs, if you decide to go ahead with the purchase.

Be sure to add sufficient cost to cover your inconvenience in making the repairs. Under no circumstances would I allow the owner to make the repairs, as they have every incentive to cut costs, and no real incentive to make the repairs correctly. There is simply no way anyone on an internet chat forum can definitively tell you what the problem is, how to fix it, or what it might cost, based on a series of photos, no matter how good the photos are. This is a hands on project.
 

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Personally I would walk . Floors all sloping to the interior, all walls out of plumb so you notice , and other issues indicate a house that was modified without due consideration of structure. You may be walking into a giant money pit that will cost many times over the price you are paying for the house. Take the others advice, hire a structural engineer to look at it and make recommendations. If you put an offer in, make it contingent on a structural inspection and a cost of repairs not exceed what you can afford. I don't think at this point simple adding a support here or there is going to work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
What I'm mainly looking for are opinions based on experience with these types of truss type joists. I am not looking for someone to say, yes, buy the house. I wanted to see if anyone out there that works with these types of joists would be able to say that what needs to be done can be done and/or what's been done so far is at least on the right track with the sistering of the laminated beams. I wanted this information from the group so I would be better informed moving forward whether or not the money would be well spent pursuing an engineer.
 

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If you are interested in purchasing the house, then absolutely money spent on an engineer to evaluate the problem would be money well spent. I cannot tell from the photos exactly what was done to reinforce the joists, and without detailed drawings of the repairs, neither can anyone else. It is always possible to repair any structural damage, the issue is how difficult will the repair be, how much will it cost, and in the end is it worth it. Certainly the joists and the associated framing can be repaired. But only a hands on investigation by a qualified professional can tell you the cost and difficulty, and whether the previous repairs are useful or need to be torn out and redone.
 

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That should be a huge red flag. I have seen very nice homes basically destroyed by homeowners doing this very same thing. Learn from what I am telling you, save the money on an engineer.
I test my ideas by imagining myself telling my wife. Honey I found a good deal on a house, the homeowner did some minor structural damage to the house but it is very cheap. Her angry level would be in the very high range.
 

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"Truss" type joists are never to be cut. They are designed for the space and ca not and should not be cut with out an engineers plan to make them support properly again. I have worked on these types of joists and can not, along with will not, tell you they can be fixed. There are reasons why engineers are in business and this is one of them. I can not, using photos, tell you where new bracing and support structures need to be put. Have an engineer check it and give you the detailed fixes and then find a contractor that can handle the work.

I would not touch that mess with a 10' foot pole. If they did that, what else is hidden in the house that you are not aware of.
 
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