How to Stabilize Bouncy Floors
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Robert in Tennessee on the line who thinks the foundation in their home is not very firm. How do you know? What have you been doing, poking at it? What’s going on, Robert?
ROBERT: Hey. No, it’s just any time the boys or the dogs run through the house, there’s a couple of areas where vases and things start shaking on top of furniture. And we just want to know the best way to shore it up.
TOM: Oh, so you’ve got some bouncy floors.
ROBERT: Yes, sir.
TOM: Yeah. Well, let’s see. A 1919 house is going to have beams that are a little bit smaller than what we would put in today and probably not much in the way of bridging. So you can put in some mid-span support to that. You could add another girder down the middle of the floor joists to kind of half the distance that they’re traveling.
Now, this girder doesn’t have to have the traditional foundation associated with it. Some stiff lally columns would do the trick here, because really what you’re doing is just trying to take the flex out of the floor joists. But that kind of bounce is not really that unusual in an older house and I wouldn’t be too terribly concerned about it. But if it’s bothering you, you could put in a mid-span girder to take the bounce out. Does that make sense?
ROBERT: It does. I have put a couple of them in. I just find that I wonder when the blocks will ever settle that they’re under, because it seems like every other year I have to go back under there and jack them back up some more.
TOM: Tighten them up? OK. So I mean if that’s the case, then you might want to go through the trouble of digging yourself out of footing. It doesn’t have to be 3 foot deep but if you dig out the floor to the point where you’ve got maybe a 2-foot square hole, fill it up with concrete and place the lally column on top of that and make sure that’s under the girder, then I think it’ll be a longer-term repair for you.
ROBERT: OK. Sounds good.
TOM: You can mix it up yourself just with a couple of bags of QUIKRETE or something like that.
LESLIE: And Robert, you can always enforce the speed limit in the house with the kids.
ROBERT: Well, that’s a never-ending problem there.
TOM: I hear you, Robert. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.