Sagging floorceiling -Real Estate Archive

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  • Sagging floor/ceiling?

My offer on a foreclosure is going to go through. This house is in fairly decent shape, has a lot of window replacements and what appears to be a fairly new kitchen, but I have one concern. I think it will be an easy fix but want some opinoins. The big problem is right near the center of the house, the second floor is sagging. On the second floor all the door frames and window frames are slightly cocked, obvisouly fromt he sagging. Now, on the first floor from one room into another, there is a huge archway. This is where the sag from above is most notable. I am half guessing that this huge archway used to be a smaller door and the supporting wall was taken out to create the arch and hance the sag. From the basement, there is no sagging and it appears that there is a concrete support right underneath where the sagging occurs on the second floor. I think either the supporting wall was removed, or the archway used to be partitioned by a support of some sort. I am thinking that I can just get a house jack or one of those steel jacks usually found in the basemnet and use it to slowly get the floor back up and then just cover the steel jack with some trim work. Anyone in anyone else done this type of work? Anything I should look out for or be aware of? Other then this, the house is in good shape and I do not see any signs of deterioration in the basement. Chris

  • re:Sagging floor/ceiling

    Chris, I personally have never done this but I believe that after you jack it up you can usually replace the jack with a certain type of cinder block. I don’t know exactly which one but thats how I have seen it done / read about it. Don’t know if that will help.

  • sagging floor/ceiling

    Can you make a header across the archway ( after you have jacked it up to level ) and just frame it in straight across the opening. Of course, make sure you have the proper headroom left under the header.

  • re:Sagging floor/ceiling

    Something like this I wouldn’t take a chance and do it on my own. I’d get someone licensed to know exactly at what points to place structural columns or wall. That way you protect yourself too — if you do it, sell the home, have kids jumping around, or heavy furniture, or something that breaks through and falls on someone and they get hurt or worse — you’re liable. Depending on how severe it is I say it won’t cost more than a couple thousand. If house is otherwise in good shape you’re still making out and providing a safe structure. Maha

  • re:
    Sagging floorceiling -Real Estate Archive

    Hey Chris- Depending on the width of the opening and the ceiling height, a laminated header could do the job only if the jack studs are supported in the basement. Otherwise, you could use a heavy column or covered steel post directly over the existing basement support. Keep in mind that the old wall that was removed was supporting the second floor completely across the width of the current opening. Even is you add a post, you may still need a sufficient header above it to support the floor evenly. Also, depending on the deflection, you may want to pay extra attention to the integrity of the roof. Anytime you move support under the roof, you could create areas susceptible to water infiltration.

  • Sagging Floor/Ceiling

    The first thing I would check is the sill plate at the foundation around the entire perimeter of the house,sometimes a fault in any part of the sill plate due to termites,ants, wood bores, water damage or rot due to elemental exposure can cause sagging in places you wouldn’t believe. The framing of the entire structure can act like a counter point piviot system altering your square, level and plumb lines in places one wouldn’t expect. From there I would check the beam in the basement (is it level?) especially where it ties in at the foundation. Then at each post (have any of the posts/blocks/stone columns sunk, colapsed, shifted? Make sure each is plumb and the beam is level. If not, can it be shimmed? replaced? sistered w/ the existing material? This whole process may seem complicated, but to a trained eye and good four foot level only takes about 15 to 20 minutes. If all of that is good I would continue on to your area of concern, and your probably right, the archway. #1- Make sure the archway is actually a «load bearing» wall. #2-If it is, remove the plaster/lath/sheetrock etc. down to the walls frame. #3- Is the header secure? properly jacked(does it have two 2×4’s on each side?)? Is it the proper header for the span (two 2×10″s or 2×12’s side by side)? #4- Have the existing jacks (two 2×4’s on each side) sunk into the existing floor any? #5- If any of it needs to be jacked up then do so making sure it is level and properly supported when completed. Here is how to do it- Get a 5 ton Hydrolic Bottle jack, they’re easy to find and only cost about $20 at Kmart, Walmart,etc. or borrow one. This type of jack allows you to make elevation changes in small increments w/ steady pressure. You’ll need to use a 4×4 cut to the length you need on the top of the jack to get to whatever elevation you need. After you get to the elevation you need whether it’s one side at a time or lifting the whole thing simultaneously,cut and install your new header and side jacks(header supports) then remove the bottle jack. After this step and before finishing the walls w/ sheetrock,paneling,etc. go through the entire property and check ALL your plumbing for any leaks, especially if you have a Bathroom on the second floor. And then check your electrical connections. Make any repairs, if needed, finish wall/s, reset windows w/shims, reinstall trim. Check roof for any leaks, but that is seldom a problem,unless it’s slate which fractures easily. All of this is really contingent on your purchase and exit strategy. Are you buying the property as is? If your getting a loan on the property whether a hard money or standard rehab they will more than likely want this remedied before your final draw. If your wholesaling then leave it alone. If your rehabbing then it will have to be done right to pass your buyers appraisal, unless you have a cash buyer then it’s up to you and your conscience. If it’s a buy and hold (renters) then I would fix the structural problems and leave the windows alone, as long as they work, and if it’s not a top dollar area. I have encountered this many times over the years here in Baltimore and the surrounding areas where I work due to the age of the housing in the area, and when I started over 20 some years ago w/ Historic properties it was a very common problem. I recently had this same problem w/a property in Fallston on a house that was built in 1962, which is young in that area. Peace be with you. Scott Hagan

  • Re:Sagging floor/ceiling?

    Hi Chris, You got great advice already. It can be fixed, and it won’t cost that much.

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