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yoshokun 12-16-2009 12:48 PM

Do I need to jack up this beam?
5 Attachment(s)
Hello everyone, newbie here!

My mother-in-law has a 1950s era non-end unit townhouse that we're looking at modernizing. When poking around in the basement we saw a beam that supports the first floor that had cracks running through it (see photos attached). We're not sure how bad these are. It is the only beam that shows these cracks.

The beam is next to a double beam that seems to be where all of the weight for the 2nd floor is being placed. There is no support column under the double beam - all of the weight is being carried on the sides of these very old wood beams that are embedded in concrete on the side foundation walls. We were surprised that the entire weight of the house was not being supported by a column below it as all of the 2nd floor weight seems to come down on a single point in the center of the house. All walls you see are non-weight bearing and for a partial finished basement.

So, the question is, is this beam as bad as it looks? Can we just jack it up or do we need to add a footer under the jack to support the weight?


GBR 12-17-2009 10:47 PM

The checks in that beam are fairly long. I suggest hiring a Structural Engineer to evaluate it and give you a paper that it's OK. Or adding a post, someone looking at it, not on the internet.
be safe, Gary

handyguys 12-18-2009 11:23 AM

Yeah, they are checks, not cracks. Best to have it checked out. It may not be an issue.

Trivia - Anyone know why those beams are white?

inspectorD 12-18-2009 04:11 PM

But I won't spoil your usually happened in a certain era...:cool:

Trim Plus 12-18-2009 06:03 PM

From the pics, these look like floor joist not beams. If its a joist and it doesn't look like its sagging just add a new piece of lumber next to it and nail them together 16"oc with 3 12p nails. If its sagging jack it up level and then do the above. This is from what I see in photos.


handyguys 12-18-2009 08:29 PM


Originally Posted by inspectorD (Post 37858)
But I won't spoil your usually happened in a certain era...:cool:

Look at the basement walls for another clue.

Oh, and I learned this from a home inspector!

yoshokun 01-15-2010 03:15 PM

I'm curious myself (for my own trivia!) about the walls and the beams being white. Frankly any sort of insight into how why they did the floors this way w/o a post to support it in the center boggles my new construction matchstick house owning mind.

And yes, they are floor joists, not what I was calling them before. My bad. There is no evident sagging.

What is the difference between a check and a crack?

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