Time for a level playing field
Most houses will sag and settle over time, and our 1849 house is no different. In some rooms we had floors that sloped over three inches in multiple directions. The main cause was a crumbling brick wall in the basement under a primary support beam. Additionally, the foundation itself gave way in a couple of places. The brick wall likely began to fail when a large hole was cut out of the wall to allow for a heating duct to pass through. After removing the subfloor upstairs, we discovered the joists running into that beam were notched and irregular, causing additional problems beyond the floor simply sagging where the beam sat.
Often times when we level a floor we are able to put a single temporary beam under all the joists and jack them up together. Because these joists were irregular, we had to set each joist individually. We set up a temporary beam and with part of the crew upstairs, and part in the basement, we got to work. Each joist was lifted and blocking was placed on top of our temporary beam to hold the joist in place. This was done for each joist on both sides of the beam.
With the weight of the joists sitting on our temporary beams, we repaired the crumbling brick wall. Once all the joists were in the correct position, we attached them to the original beam using joist hangers. Finally, we removed our temporary beams. With everything complete, we were able to get the entire first floor within 3/4 of an inch. Considering some rooms varied by as much as three inches when we started this home remodel, we will count that as a major success.
We began leveling the second floor once the first floor was complete. First, we put in two beams to support the outer walls. Next week we will be adding more beams to support the middle of the second floor.