Repairing Sagging Floors – Part 1: The Handyman

While working in the House 1’s kitchen area for its remodeling, during all the walking back and forth we started to notice that the floor was not level and sagged significantly in certain areas.  This is indicative of structural issues possibly due to the floor joists and beams being overloaded.  Since we will be using granite countertops as part of our kitchen remodel, we would only be compounding on top of the existing problem if we left it unaddressed.

So we put the brakes on the kitchen remodel and turned our attention to getting the sagging floor issue addressed.  Since this issue was structural in nature and not something I had experience with, I decided to consult with a professional on the scope of the problem and the proper course for remediation.

First I consulted with my general handyman who assured me that he could do the work and had addressed similar issue in the past.  He quoted me $645.62 to jack up and shim the center support beam for the house, as well as add two additional 12-foot support beams and 6 pillars.

In the course of his work, several things led me to believe he was way over his head. He was unable to jack up the house using his new pillar footers since they kept sinking into the dirt. He was not using dug-in, poured concrete footers and was trying to get away with just laying 16 inch x 8 inch x 4 inch concrete blocks stacked on the surface of the soil.These were clearly inadequate for the job given that they were repeatedly disintegrating from the weight of the house during the jacking.

Worst of all, his crew jacked the center beam without sandwiching a piece of wood between the jack and the beam. The pressure from the jacking caused damage to the unprotected beam. This type of mistake is something you would expect from a clueless homeowner, not someone who works in the construction trade for a living.

Seeing all this, I called my handyman and his crew off the job and explained to him I was going to farm the job out to foundation specialists. I offered to pay him for his materials and labor up to that point but he declined. Ultimately, I think that was fair given the damage his crew did to the center beam which could not be easily fixed.

So that returned me back to square one. Once again, I regretted hiring out to a “professional” and considered tackling this job myself.  Ms. DIY Landlord disagreed given the magnitude of the weight and risks involved with lifting up a house.  Reluctantly, I agreed to consult some foundation specialists in hopes of getting the job done well.  In the next post, I will discuss my experience farming the job out to foundation specialists.

Mr. DIY Landlord

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