How to Brace a Shaky Floor
LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Corey. What can we do for you today?
COREY: Yeah, I’ve got a house that was built in the 1920s and the front section actually – we had a five-pound cat and he could run across the thing and the entire living room just shakes real violently. I was wanting to see if there’s any way we could maybe brace that. I’m kind of running on a real tight budget, too. [You guys have anything?] (ph)
TOM: What’s underneath this wood floor? Is there a basement or crawlspace? What is there?
COREY: No, it’s a pier and beam house. It’s just – I guess it could be a crawlspace but the house has settled a lot and so there’s not a lot – there’s not even really enough space to get under there.
TOM: OK. So you can’t get under there at all?
COREY: Not really. No, I’d say there’s probably about a good maybe seven inches, if that.
TOM: Oh, boy. So the floor is shaking but you can’t get underneath the floor to do any reinforcement?
COREY: No, sir.
TOM: Yeah, well I mean that’s the issue. See, if you could get under there and you could take the span of these floor joists and add a support in the middle of that, that would stop that problem. But you’ve got a span issue here and you can’t reinforce it from the topside; you can only reinforce it from the underside. So I think you’re going to have to chalk this one up to old house charm.
COREY: Oh, wow. (chuckles)
LESLIE: (chuckling) We do a lot of that. (Tom chuckles) You know, I have a home from 1920. I do a lot of old home charm in my house. (chuckles)
COREY: Alright, then. There wouldn’t be any way to actually maybe cut a piece of flooring out and then, you know, brace it that way?
TOM: Well, I mean you could work from the top side but it’s pretty destructive.
COREY: Top side.
TOM: You know?
TOM: But really, the way to reinforce this is from the underside. Have you inspected that area? You know, sometimes there are little places where you can get a little bit of a peak. I would make sure I looked at it very carefully; used a real strong flashlight to make sure you don’t have any moisture problems or rot or termites that are contributing to this weakness. But, for the most part, the way to reinforce it is from underneath.
COREY: OK. Alright, then. Well, then I will have to take a look at that then.
TOM: Yep, good thing to keep an eye on.
Corey, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.