Floor beam, old, cracked. Need Advice

Hi All.
I could use some good advice here :)
My house is 80 years old and has one or two cracked and sagging main floor beams. The joists are mostly ok, but the beams are bad. Apparently there had been a water leak for few years, and termites got a section of each of the beams. Termites are gone, these days.
The house has had sagging floors for a long time, I guess, since the bottom of one of the bathroom doors is cut at about a 15 degree angle to acccommodate the slant of the floor.
The man that inspected the house told me that it would cost about $1000 to get the one beam replaced. That sounds good to me. Is that reasonable?
The next thing is that the walls were all plaster at one time, but we think that when the floor sagged, the plaster cracked up, and all the plaster got replaced with paneling, which we are anxious to get rid of ;)
It seems pointless to do the walls before the floor. Or get the fireplaces restored before the floor, or to do anything before the floor. We want to put tiles in the bathroom, but of course, that would pointless before leveling the floor :)
We want to keep the oringinal hardwood flooring.
So what would be the best course of action? Like I said, most of the floor joists seem ok...it's just the main beam(s).
The house is 1900 square feet and has 10 foot ceilings and a large attic, if that matters.
Obviously, this is my first house-restoration project.
Thanks, Dan ----------------- www.Newsgroup-Binaries.com - *Completion*Retention*Speed* Access your favorite newsgroups from home or on the road -----------------
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misterpaslow wrote:

I think you are on the right track all the way around. Clearly you start with the bones of the house and work out from there. Don't forget to think about plumbing, electrical and HVAC before you get started.

--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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Absolutely look at the other systems in the house before you start to hopefully find any potential trouble or necessary updates. You may still find previously hidden problems as you work, just be prepared to find surprises in an older house. As for the floor beams, get a few quotes from contractors and compare them in writing. What scope of work are the contractors quoting: clean up & removal of jobsite debris, installation, materials, labor, etc.? That way, you'll hopefully get an apples/apples comparison of pricing and can go from there. Also ask how they plan to do the work. You may or may not have an idea how it SHOULD be done, but the contractor should have a good plan in mind before they quote. If they just plan to do a seat-of-the-pants job, you might want to avoid them.
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"The man that inspected the house told me that it would cost about $1000 to get the one beam replaced. That sounds good to me. Is that reasonable? "
That's impossible to say without seeing it, how accessible it is, what's around it, what materials are needed, and if the scope of work extends beyond the beam itself. You should definitely start with this, before doing other work. To replace this correctly, the house will have to be jacked up in the locations that have sunk. This will very likely create problems above that need to be addressed too. Having paneling will help limit wall problems, but you will have other problems, like the doors that are trimmed to 15 deg. They will no longer fit and have to be addressed, you may may have ceilings that crack, etc.
As suggested, I'd get at least 3 quotes from decent contractors recommended by friends with references, etc
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On 7 Dec 2005 08:08:55 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:
:"The man that inspected the house told me that it would cost about :$1000 :to get the one beam replaced. That sounds good to me. Is that :reasonable? " : :That's impossible to say without seeing it, how accessible it is, :what's around it, what materials are needed, and if the scope of work :extends beyond the beam itself. You should definitely start with this, :before doing other work. To replace this correctly, the house will :have to be jacked up in the locations that have sunk. This will very :likely create problems above that need to be addressed too.
Leveling your floor is definitely apt to introduce some problems, while solving others. I'm in a 95 year old house with sagging floors, but in my case I'm unaware of failing beams or termite damage. The sag seems to be due to a settling foundation.
The problems you can expect (explained to me by various contractors), include cabinets no longer closing, doors too, cracking plaster. In my case, I'm quite certain that leveling my floors by jacking up the foundation in certain places will necessitate some major adjustments if not pretty much a remodel of the kitchen. There's a tradeoff when leveling, so weigh the benefits versus the penalties before making a decision on leveling and if you want to try to get things as level as possible. Since you have beam damage, you probably have to replace those beams, in any case.
:Having paneling will help limit wall problems, but you will have other :problems, like the doors that are trimmed to 15 deg. They will no :longer fit and have to be addressed, you may may have ceilings that :crack, etc.
The paneling you refer to belies further problems. My house had a whole lot of paneling on the walls and I've removed much of it. They put on the paneling to conceal problems, notably cracked plaster, but who knows what I'll find underneath the remaining paneling when I get around to removing it. : :As suggested, I'd get at least 3 quotes from decent contractors :recommended by friends with references, etc
I'd get way more than 3 quotes. Follow up on the references. Call previous or even current customers, talk to them, make sure of a contractor before you sign.
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And be sure they are bonded/insured/licensed. Somehow have it mentioned in the contract that they are.
: Absolutely look at the other systems in the house before you start to : hopefully find any potential trouble or necessary updates. You may : still find previously hidden problems as you work, just be prepared to : find surprises in an older house. As for the floor beams, get a few : quotes from contractors and compare them in writing. What scope of : work are the contractors quoting: clean up & removal of jobsite debris, : installation, materials, labor, etc.? That way, you'll hopefully get : an apples/apples comparison of pricing and can go from there. Also ask : how they plan to do the work. You may or may not have an idea how it : SHOULD be done, but the contractor should have a good plan in mind : before they quote. If they just plan to do a seat-of-the-pants job, : you might want to avoid them. :
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How much is it sagging, in inches.What is the beam length, size, how many support colums are there, is there sign of removed columns. 2 or 3 story house. Is wood deteriorated or beam just cracked and bowed, how much is it bowed. What is basement floor dirt or concrete. The reason its much cheaper and safer for the house to keep the beam and add to it. 1000 for a new beam is to cheap to do it right if sagging is great. Ist you jack the house up over weeks apx 1/8 a few days with multiple jacks, after its level then comes replacement or a second beam and support jacks. Likely support posts were removed at one time. When you jack it likely joists will crack, something you must address right away and know to look at every day. Jacking a house is not what many people know or care about doing right, many will want to do it in a day, possibly leaving you with a bigger mess, plumbing, electric, unoperable doors and windows. You can do most of it yourself and should.
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misterpaslow wrote:

My only suggestion is to get some jacks and start jacking now, a por is goin to do it in one day,you would rather it take months at least
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:> ----------------- :My only suggestion is to get some jacks and start jacking now, a por is :goin to do it in one day,you would rather it take months at least
If you can, this sounds like very good advice. Old wood that's been bent a long time won't want to bend back to the shape you want. If you do it over a period of time (a month+, like recommended above), things are going to work out a lot better.
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