I have a damaged joist, it supports the 2nd floor of my house. My husband
severely notched it to get a piece of furniture up the stairs. He tried to
repair it by bolting in another piece of wood, but now it also has a crack
in the same area, and Im afraid it will get worse. Also, he cut out a much
smaller piece of the same joist in the bathroom (near where the joist meets
the wall), on the bottom of the joist, so he could put a pipe in. Im
worried about all of this. I'd like to bring in someone to fix it. Who do
I call? Carpenter? General Contractor? Is this really expensive to repair?
Not sure if you know what "sistered" means here so I just wanted to make
sure. When a major joist cracks or sags it can be put back in the
original position and then a longer board/joist can be attached to it
giving it the original support strength. What's new today is that you
can use a metal piece (much thinner) then the original joist with the
same strength. The "sistered" board must be the same width or stronger
to give it the needed strength for support or else you'll get another
crack or failure.
Uhm, why would you cut through a JOIST to move furniture? It's a little
known fact that they tend to hold up your house...
You NEVER want to notch a joist. You can drill holes in them, near the
center of the width, without losing much strength. But if you notch them
they lose the majority of their strength. For example, a 2x10" with a 4"
notch would only have the spanning capacity of a 2x6" board...
Not sure how to tell you to fix it without knowing more about your
situation. Is the entire joist exposed? If so, you can "sister" a new one
next to it (but you'll have to move that pipe). If not, you'll need to talk
to a general contractor, or structural engineer, or at least post some
pictures that we can look at.
Is the crack in the new board from stress, or from bad installation
practices (like split from the nails?) If it's a stress crack I'd forget
posting on the internet and call someone NOW...
call structural engineer, contractor might see dollar signs and run up
i have a friend who removed a load bearing wall, he said i will support
it from above later.....
people do the saddest things
Might I make a suggestion for next time? Please don't buy furniture that
you to partially disassemble your house to fit it inside (unless it's a tub and
you're remodelling anyway).. Get a different piece of furniture -- it's much
I wonder if they gave any thought to whether they might want to move to a
new house someday, and how interesting it'll be when they explain to the new
buyer that the furniture is included, forever, like a bullet in the head.
After sistering a joist to the damaged one, run 1/2" inch bolts tying
the two joists together, and really get them tight. Don't just sister
with screws or nails, as it won't do much. Space the bolts ever 1.5"
or so. After that, it should be fine. I'm not an engineer, but I
wouldn't call one for such a small problem. That would be pretty
If you can't get a long joist in there (I'd go at least 3 foot on
either side of the crack), get yourself a nice 1/4" steel plate and
sister with that. The plate will need to be the width of the joist and
maybe only 2' long. Throw some 1/2" bolts thorugh that, and tighten it
down. You'll be good after that
Yeah, he's not an engineer. But you'll be good. Trust him. Engineers are
expensive you know. And if he's wrong and your house falls down, or
develops a much more major structural failure, well, at least you didn't pay
an expensive engineer!
In order for "sister" beam / joist work work properly, one need to
relieve the load on the damaged member during ths sister member
Other wise the only way the sister will take load is for the
1) the system receives additional load
2) the damaged bmember to suffer additonal stifness loss
as to "whacking" the damaged member....I was assuming nail gun
installation or pilot drill & drive screws
metal plates are also a good method of restoring stiffness but I
suggest aluminum over steel...much easier to work with.
Oh Damn, sorry. I meant 1.5' not 1.5". 1.5" bolt pattern is insane.
No I'm not an engineer, but my brother IS a structural Engineer in
Montana. He designed the rafters in my garage that I rebuilt that span
25' with no post. When I purchased my house, it came with a huge 25' x
30' garage. The roof and rafters were all rotted due to neglect. The
top chords were all rotted, but the bottom chords were fine. I wanted
a rafter design that would suppport a lot of weight for a future
workshop on the 2nd floor.
We ripped out the rotted wood, sistered 2x6's to the existing 2x6"
bottom chords and used 1/2" bolt rod every 1.5'. We staggered the
bolts throughout the legnth of the joist. One 1" from the top, one 1"
from the bottom. After that, we installed the top two chords of the
rafters, and used three cross braces to tie the top chords to the
bottom chords, an then a brace between the top chords to keep them from
sagging. All the braces were tied in with 1/2" bolt rod. The rafters
were spaced 24" OC. Cost me about $70 per rafter to rebuild. Much
cheaper and stronger than trusses. I have no posts on the first floor
supporting the second floor. And a 16' wide room on the second floor.
Let me tell you, this is STRONG. So Strong that 4 rafters easily
supported the cab of my salvage title 2004 F-150 truck when I put a new
frame on it. They actually supported the weight of the whole truck for
awhile, because we struggled to get the cab off. The joists didn't
move. We jacked up the truck, attached the cab to the rafters and
lowered the truck while we worked to get the cab offf. If anyone wants
pictures of this, let me know.
So I do know a little something about how to fix your problem. Yes, I'm
not an Engineer, but I have done a lot of construction, and most of
all, I have common sense. Common sense will tell you that you don't
need to hire an engineer to fix your one problem with one joist.
BTW..My wife and I will just finish roofing in a 25' x 32' three floor
addition this week that we started this spring. We dug it out, poured
the footers, poured the basement floor, framed the 2 floors above it,
framed the attic with 4 dormers, framed the roof, ripped half of our
exiting roof off and rebuilt it to tie into the additon. All the work
was done by ourselves and very little help from friends. The only
thing we didn't do was the block wall foundation, but I did reinforce
it with rebar and concrete. We also didn't lay the shingles, because I
hate that work and its hunting season. Now I'm struggling to get that
job done right by the sub. I estimate that we saved about 40k+ doing
the work ourselves. And I KNOW its done right. If you want pictures
of this, let me know. We're breaking for the winter, and will pick it
back up in the spring. We plan on doing the rest of the work here on
Back to your problem, a 6' sistered joist with 1/2" bolt rod spaced
every 1.5' should be way overkill to fix your problem and you'll have a
stronger joist than before. Better way overkill than underkill. Just
make sure your joist isn't sagging now due to the damage. If it is,
jack it back up in place. It would take you about 1 hr and $15 to fix.
1 - 6' - 2x6,
7 - 4"x 1/2" bolts with washers and nuts.
Now if you want to pay $500 to hire an Engineer that will design you a
cheaper, less labor intensive solution using nails and glue...go for
it. Then if you want to hire a professional framer to properly install
your designed solution for another $500 do it. Actually, let me know
and I'll get your my brother's information, and mine. I could use a
couple bucks to pay for this addition. ha
I believe standard framing nails have a sheer stregnth of 500lbs so
they should work with a decent nailing pattern. If it were me, I'd use
bolt rod because I KNOW that works.
Also, one bad floor joist is not going to make your house fall down???
I have noticed that people on message boards tend to over-react to any
small problem that gets posted on them. Then people spend way more
money fixing or building something than they should.
Its not a big deal, but you do want to fix it right. And stop cutting
into your joists? BTW. How do you plan on getting that furniture out
of your house? ha ha
Well, common sense SHOULD tell you that anyone who is inclined to cut their
joists, particularly a critical one right over a stairway, to move FURNITURE
of all things, isn't likely to do a proper fix on their own, no matter how
much advice they're given on how to do it right. Having the advice come
from a non-professional, from a distance, who hasn't even seen the issue
themselves, only compounds the problem.
It might cost a few hundred dollars to bring in a pro to do a proper fix.
Isn't that money well spent in knowing the problem is solved?
Well, ring or spiral-shank nails are fine. You probably shouldn't
use common nails in this application.
I was under the impression that the normal nailing schedule for this
would be every 8", along the top and bottom edges.
What the hell for? Just find anyone who's ever done any work
as a carpenter, and have them look at it. If they tell you
that the problem isn't as simple as it looks, *THEN* call
I agree, you didn't notch your IBeam, you notched one floor joist.
Speaking of which, I saw a basement one time that had 2-3" notches in
the middle of each floor joist in running down the legnth of the
basement so they could install a gas pipe. WOW!!
You need to attach a "sister" board, which it sounds like he already
did, badly. I had to do this to a joist in my garage where the builder
installed a defective truss.
Put a jack under the weak joist to take some weight off of it. Glue
another board to the side of the joist with construction adhesive and
bolt it together tightly with carriage bolts. The sister board should
extend several feet on each side of the damage. If you have a nail gun,
shoot some 16d nails into it to help keep it from moving. If the joist
is cracked (like mine was) I would also put a steel mending plate on the
other side right over the crack. When it's all bolted together tightly,
you can remove the jack.
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