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MellyNel

10:13AM | 07/29/03
Member Since: 07/20/03
18 lifetime posts
Bvmisc
I just bought a 1982 house whose previous owners knocked out a wall so that the kitchen, dining room and living room are all open. Above these open rooms that take up one side of the house are two bedrooms. I can't figure out for the life of me how these rooms can be supported safely. When I'm upstairs I can feel the floors bounce when my husband walks across the room. It creaks terribly, too. We had an inspector who came out and looked at the house when we put the contract on it and he didn't mention anything wrong. The guy who lived there before was some type of engineer (civil, I think) and he did the renovation himself, I believe. I need some kind of reassurance that my 2nd floor is not going to end up on the 1st floor. My husband thinks I'm crazy for being so paranoid (although he knows nothing about construction or anything home-related really) but it's eating at me. I can't even go upstairs without getting stressed out.

What type of professional can I have come out to the house to look at it? Just a regular home inspector? Like I said, we had one come out, but I'm just not convinced. It's too bouncy and squeaky to be safe.

Any guidance, advice (medication even?) is appreciated. I'm freaking!
Melanie

MellyNel

03:14AM | 08/13/03
Member Since: 07/20/03
18 lifetime posts
k2,
Thanks for checking in with me. I still have not had a chance to get anyone to look at it. It's still keeping me awake at nights. I haven't slept upstairs with my husband for over a week now. He thinks I'm crazy, but it terrifies me. The floors groan and creak so badly when he walks on it that when he gets up in the morning, the noise startles me awake. He swears there is nothing wrong w/ that but the ENTIRE second floor sounds so horrible from downstairs that I just can't believe him. I'm trying to get one of my uncles to come over (they both build homes) but they're so busy right now building that it's hard for them. So, I continue to get drunk every night so I can pass out on the couch. I wish we'd never bought this house. it's not how I envisioned being a newlywed.

MellyNel

05:42AM | 09/02/03
Member Since: 07/20/03
18 lifetime posts
Hey, thanks for checking in on me! I still have not gotten the bouncy/creaking floor situation sorted out. I called a friend of mine over. He is a contractor/builder/handyman. He is going to do some other work for me (replace some exterior siding, tile some floors, etc) so I had him come over and look. He said that he could reinforce some of the beams in the bedroom area. He said he could do this from the room below by taking out part of the ceiling, inserting more beams, and then patching back up the ceiling. I don't know...the whole darn 2nd floor sounds like it's going to cave in. He went upstairs at one point and starting bouncing on the one spot that sounds the worse (this is the high-traffice area of the master bedroom) and I could see it moving with his weight (bulging out) from the room below. That FREAKED me out! I'm waiting for him to get back to me about how much this might cost. I wish I could just tear out the entire 2nd level floor and build a new one. The subflooring is bad too. It's creaky, it's uneven and when my husband walks across it, I can feel it bounce. I just hate this house.

I'll keep you posted!

Bob Jr

04:46PM | 09/17/03
Member Since: 01/19/03
44 lifetime posts
You need a professional opinion. Somebody who will look at the joists and the span and look the numbers up in the books.

Is the floor bouncy or does it just squeak and squall when walking on it?

My house built in 1978 is really squeaky, unfortunately it is a four level split and all the ceilings are finished. Have to tear out the ceiling or floors to get the squeaks out. Gets really bad in the summer when the AC dries out the air in the house and bad in the winter as well. Just a poor job of gluing and nailing the subfloor down.

Bad thing is the house is for sale and I tell my wife not to walk around when we are showing it during open houses. LOL We can hear them upstairs when we are down, etc. We don't move and maybe they won't notice it as much!!!

Piffin

03:52PM | 09/20/03
Member Since: 11/06/02
1281 lifetime posts
Melly,

I'd like to help you out with your marriage problem and let you get some sleep again. something to put you mind at ease is here in what i have to say.

But the bad news first. It sounds to me like the previous owner did not apply his engineering knowledge to his own structure. There are engineers who believe they are above the laws of physics and try to walk on water, so to speak. It is typical, when framing a house, to use engineered flor joists that span all the way across an interior bearing wall or to use solid lumber jost that are slightly longer than half of that and splice them together in the middle over that bearing wall. Obviously the wall was removed and the joists are now overspanned or under-engineered. You'll need a good framing contractor or structural engineer to analyuse and come up with a solution.

Now the good news that should let you sleep at night;
Steel, when it fails because of overload, will collapse all at once with the type of results that you are imagining.
Wood most often does not. It fails in small ways over a long period of time. It shows symptoms along the way of deflecting, groaning, and warping under the loads. You are seeing the ongoing SLOW failure in bits and pieces. A sudden catastrophe is unlikely, unless you decide to buy a waterbed and invite the gymnastics team over for a slumber party on a new moon in Janruary and feed thjem all chicken and dumplings with a keg of beer.

So do take care if it, but don't lose all this sleep over it.

BTW, How big a man is hubby anyways? Did he once play the Hulk on TV

Glenn Good

08:17PM | 09/20/03
Member Since: 09/10/03
314 lifetime posts
I would just like to remind ALL posters on this topic that this issue is a STRUCTURAL related issue and giving advice, other than that of seeking the help of an “on site” professional, is NOT sound advice.

Unless you are a structural engineer and willing to put your license on the line I would advise you that this issue is outside your field of expertise.

Melanie should seek the advice of a structural engineer on this matter and it sounds like she should do it in the near future for both her piece of mind as well as safety issues. The joist sizing needs to be checked against the load and the overall span.

Glenn www.consultationdirect.com

MellyNel

08:13AM | 09/22/03
Member Since: 07/20/03
18 lifetime posts
Thanks to all that responded! Here's an update.

I have a very close, family friend who builds homes and is an all-around handy-man (and who I completely trust!) He came over to look at the problem and didn't see any immediate threat. The said that the beams were not over-extended and that the span was okay. He said that part of the floor was in a very high-traffic area (it is) and that he'd check to see if any of the beams were cracking or rotting. So, he worked from underneath the floor, from the living room below. He didn't find anything wrong with the existing beams. He reinforced them with additional wood beams, every 16 inches or so. Fortunately, I was out of town on business when he was doing all of this. :-) When I got home last week, the ceiling was mostly patched up. He's coming by again this week to finish mudding it. He told my husband that you could put a waterbed up there now, it's so sturdy. When I got home I made my husband walk all over the floor and the horrible creaking sound is indeed gone. It still creaks a tiny bit in a few spots, but I'm convinced that's just a couple loose nails on the subflooring.

So, case closed I hope. I feel so much more comfortable sleeping up there and I don't freak out when my husband walks upstairs and I can hear it from below. Now, I'm being neurotic about other things in the house!

Piffin, interesting that you should ask about my husband's size. He's about 6'3", 260 poundsand no, he did not play a green guy on TV. BUT, and I'm not kidding, I did date a guy for a couple years who looked JUST like Lou Ferigno. People would stop him on the street to comment about the resemblence! Funny...

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