||01-17-2012 04:56 PM
Sagging 2nd Story Floor After Main Floor Load-Bearing Wall Altered Below
I suspect I already know the answer to this whole thing, but seeing as you are probably all quite a bit more knowledgeable about this stuff than I am, I thought I would ask over here!
We have a 1930s, 2 story, semi-detached home. I would say it's an updated home with many original features, such as original hardwoods throughout. Have lived here for about 9 months. We recently had a reno done in our house (done by a professional carpenter who has outstanding references and has done similar jobs in the past). The job included removing the majority of a load-bearing wall between two rooms on the main floor. A beam was put in place to bear the load. As I said, I am not very experienced when it comes to renos, but the beam seems comparable to what I have seen others using when I've Googled this (I believe it was 2 LVLs, maybe 2x8 or 2x10 each... not 100% and my photos are very limited, but I have attached one pic that I happen to have from when the reno was in progress).
Almost immediately after the reno was done, I noticed a gap of about 3/4" between the baseboard and the floors in the two rooms directly above where the wall was removed. The thing is, this is an older home, and there are some gaps and cracks around already... so even though I really think I would have noticed it if it were there before the reno, I have to admit that I am not 100% sure if the gaps were there or not before. But my gut is telling me that even if they were there before, they are significantly worse now. Noticing the gap led me to check the floor a little more carefully. Again, since the reno, I had noticed what seemed to be a little sag in the floor, but I can't 100% for sure say that it wasn't there before, too. There is definitely a sag in both rooms toward the spot where the beam is below, and it's not insignificant. At least an inch, quite possibly more. The door frames are also off, and one of the bedroom doors doesn't close properly. Again, this door closing was an issue before the reno. But it is definitely worse now.
From what I can tell, this is the only spot in the home where there is sagging like this going on. And the fact that it is right above the new beam where the wall was removed below, and that I only recently noticed the sag, makes me think that it was caused by the reno. My knowledge is limited, but I feel that the beam itself may not be the problem, but that maybe it was not positioned close enough to the floor above, if that makes any sense.
We are obviously planning to call the person who did the work back in to discuss this with us. He is a nice, honest, fair guy, but I seriously doubt he will step up and offer to fix our floor sag problem for us for free (who in their right mind would!). We also can't really prove that the sag was caused by the removal of the wall below, but the sag aligns exactly with the removed wall, so I can't see how they could not be related. So how exactly should we approach this with him? And, whether is does fix this or not, do you believe it should be his job to fix this. What are the chances that this was caused by something unrelated to the reno? Like natural settling, or something?
Also, on a related note, if a good part of a load-bearing wall is removed, and a beam is put in place, does a post also need to go in the basement to support this new wall? I have noticed that we have a steel post in our finished basement. The post does not sit directly below the upper post that is holding the new load-bearing beam. However, I believe the post is part of what is holding up the main beam in the basement, and the upstairs post seems to align itself with that beam. Is that most likely sufficient support in a smallish old house? Or does there need to be a support post directly below the load-bearing post above that is holding the beam?
THANK YOU so much for reading all of this... I appreciate any and all input!