I am in the Boston area, and I recently had some contractors look at a
situation in my house, and I would like the common man's opinion about
the information I have received, so here goes:
We live in a ~105 year old house that has a dip toward the center. You
see, the main beam was (and really still is, save for some adjustable
posts we put there for now) supported only in the center by a brick
column that has shrunk (or has lowered with the floor, as it were).
As a result, we can feel the dip toward the center of the house in all
rooms, but in the back of the house more (apparently there's heavier
stuff there, like the kitchen, which caused just a bit more droop on
that side). There's also a bit of bounce in the floors, basically
limited to the very center between each beam span on either side of the
existing brick column.
What we have been looking to do is to add support columns for the beam
and possibly to jack up the beam to a somewhat more level position than
it is now. My primary concern is not getting things level per se,
because I know I can do that with flooring (although leveling it
somewhat would be great if it's feasible). My bigger concern is to rid
ourselves of the bounce.
One estimate (the most recent) was for about $2900 (or 3200 with some
cosmetics to touch up the brick column that's in unsightly condition).
While talking with the crew, they mentioned that they might need to cut
a small vertical line in the beam over the center column in order to
give it room to squish together as it goes back to level. Although I
know these guys are professionals, I have hestiations about that for a
1. Has anyone ever heard of doing this?? Everything I find in research
suggests that the jacking needs to take place slowly -- not by cuttin
out a slim v-shaped slice and basicly bending it on its hinge back
2. I am convinced in my heart that if I do this, when we go to sell the
place a home inspector will point out this cut in the beam as some sort
of "serious structural issue with the beam" and frighten off potential
3. Well, I guess my gut makes me feel like it's quite crazy to allow
someone to cut into the main support for my house, plain and simple!!
Does anyone have any experience with work like this? As for the rest of
the scope of work in the estimate, it included:
* Digging and pouring footing to a depth of up to 4 feet (sounded
really deep to me, but what do I know)
Making any adjustments to heating duct or other pipe placement that
may need to be rerouted to accomodate the work equipment, etc.
* Manufacturing steel plates to put above the two new columns and to
serve as a shim above the shrunken brick column.
the other, usual ancillary items
I would love to hear from anyone who has been through a job like mine.
Thanks in advance for your opinions. By the way, if you live in the
Boston area, too, and would like to recommend whoever did your work,
drop me a private line. : )