The final part in this little series (for now at least)

We’ve talked about some of the big ones already, like termite damage, dry rot and water damage, which are actually destroying the structure of the home and require repair. However, this only makes up about half of the structural repairs that we make. 

So what other problems need to be solved? 

Sometimes, people do things to the house that damage or modify the framing, which leads to needed repairs. These modifications are commonly made to make space for something or to pass something through the framing. You should be thinking about drain lines and HVAC ducts in this category. Sometimes, that framing is just in the way, and big holes and notches are made, which weaken an area and require integrity to be re-established. 

In other instances, the loads in the house are modified, causing the framing to no longer be able to support them as intended, leading to dips in the floor. For these types of issues, we tend to see something like a really big fish tank (water is 8lbs a gallon, meaning a 500-gallon fish tank weighs 4,000lbs), a water bed, a big safe full of heavy metal things, adding a tub to a bathroom that didn’t have one, or new stone countertops to replace laminate ones. Other times, people move walls and change load paths that way. 

Lastly, sometimes the house just was not built to support the live loads (people and animals moving about) and dead loads (the house itself and the furniture and things in it) for the next 100 years. This is common in older homes that were built before there was a building code in use, but we see it in newer homes that are built right up to the edge of what the code allows. This type of “just not quite enough support” issue tends to take 10-20 years before the symptoms get to the point that they are noticeable. Most common theses show up as dips and bounces in the floor or mild towards a wall. 

What can be done about these issues? 

When framing has been modified, additional framing needs to be added to restore the strength that was meant to be there. These repairs can look like adding more lumber and reinforcing connections or adding supports that extend to the ground. For areas where new loads are added, additional support needs to be added to accommodate. Where things are just dipping because they are old and tired, additional support can be added to restore the original support.