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  1. #1
    michael coffey's Avatar
    michael coffey Guest

    Question how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    The house I just bought has some serious floor joist issues. first of all the footprint of the house is about 30X60. There are pillars running every 10' or so that break the crawlspace up into two seperat 15X60 areas. The center beam of the house spans these pillars. The joists run 15' from the main support beam to a brick pocket in the foundation wall. Each of these pockets is just big enough for one joist to fit into.

    Now the problem is that this house had water damage in the past and about 30 of the floor joists are rotted at the outside foundation wall. Thankfully there was no plate in this design, so the rot was confined to the floor joists, but the floor joists have rotted so much in these brick pockets that the joists have crumbled and the floor has fallen 2'' in some places.

    I would sister new joists onto the old ones but there is no room in the pocket to support a second joist. A friend told me to cut all the bad joists back three feet to the good wood, then add a three foot section of new joist from the pocket up to the old joist, by sandwiching both the new and old joist on each side with long metal plates using 12 to 16 bolts.

    Will this work or will it sag? I tend to think it will sag. If i'm right and it won't work, how do i fix the problem? The joists are only 2X8 and they are on 16'' centers. I really don't want to have to add another support beam at the seam of the old and new joists.

    Please help this poor idiot.

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  2. #2
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by michael coffey View Post
    The house I just bought has some serious floor joist issues. first of all the footprint of the house is about 30X60. There are pillars running every 10' or so that break the crawlspace up into two seperat 15X60 areas. The center beam of the house spans these pillars. The joists run 15' from the main support beam to a brick pocket in the foundation wall. Each of these pockets is just big enough for one joist to fit into.

    Now the problem is that this house had water damage in the past and about 30 of the floor joists are rotted at the outside foundation wall. Thankfully there was no plate in this design, so the rot was confined to the floor joists, but the floor joists have rotted so much in these brick pockets that the joists have crumbled and the floor has fallen 2'' in some places.

    I would sister new joists onto the old ones but there is no room in the pocket to support a second joist. A friend told me to cut all the bad joists back three feet to the good wood, then add a three foot section of new joist from the pocket up to the old joist, by sandwiching both the new and old joist on each side with long metal plates using 12 to 16 bolts.

    Will this work or will it sag? I tend to think it will sag. If i'm right and it won't work, how do i fix the problem? The joists are only 2X8 and they are on 16'' centers. I really don't want to have to add another support beam at the seam of the old and new joists.

    Please help this poor idiot.
    Pictures????????????


  3. #3
    Bob Spermo's Avatar
    Bob Spermo Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    If the joists are still structurally sound except for the areas in the pocket why not add a ledger board (2x10 or 2x12) to the concrete foundation. This ledger would have the joists attached to it (the required 1 1/2") on top. Attach the ledger board to the foundation by drilling holes into the concrete then put epoxy in the holes and then insert threaded steel rods into. Drill holes in your ledger and place it on the rods and bolt it tight. If water can get to the ledger board separate from the foundation. It is kind of like building a deck! If you wanted to cut the ends of the joists you could raise the ledger board and use joist hangers for the joists. Now you have at least one idea!


  4. #4
    michael coffey's Avatar
    michael coffey Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Bob,

    I'a afraid that the joist are rotted about two feet back. They are only crumbling in the pockets because that is where the pressure is.

    I did however just get the idea to knock out a brick in every pocket so there is room to sister. Is this the best option? Still trying to find the right way to do this.

    I don't have pictures but I will try to get some.

    Michael


  5. #5
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by michael coffey View Post
    The house I just bought has some serious floor joist issues. first of all the footprint of the house is about 30X60. There are pillars running every 10' or so that break the crawlspace up into two seperat 15X60 areas. The center beam of the house spans these pillars. The joists run 15' from the main support beam to a brick pocket in the foundation wall. Each of these pockets is just big enough for one joist to fit into.

    Now the problem is that this house had water damage in the past and about 30 of the floor joists are rotted at the outside foundation wall. Thankfully there was no plate in this design, so the rot was confined to the floor joists, but the floor joists have rotted so much in these brick pockets that the joists have crumbled and the floor has fallen 2'' in some places.

    I would sister new joists onto the old ones but there is no room in the pocket to support a second joist. A friend told me to cut all the bad joists back three feet to the good wood, then add a three foot section of new joist from the pocket up to the old joist, by sandwiching both the new and old joist on each side with long metal plates using 12 to 16 bolts.

    Will this work or will it sag? I tend to think it will sag. If i'm right and it won't work, how do i fix the problem? The joists are only 2X8 and they are on 16'' centers. I really don't want to have to add another support beam at the seam of the old and new joists.

    Please help this poor idiot.


    You should use 2x10's for that span.
    Most all floor system repairs should be done with treated lumber, especially since rot was the original problem.

    The metal plates are too expensive and too much trouble, plenty of other good ways to do it.

    I would install the ledger as Bob said and use 2x10's with joist hanger brackets. The other end should attach to the main beam with hangers or ledger also. Then the old 2x8 can be sistered on or removed.

    Make sure you use temporary jacks to bring everything back close to level unless it is an old house then you should be careful with stressing the structure.


  6. #6
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by michael coffey View Post
    Bob,

    I'a afraid that the joist are rotted about two feet back. They are only crumbling in the pockets because that is where the pressure is.

    I did however just get the idea to knock out a brick in every pocket so there is room to sister. Is this the best option? Still trying to find the right way to do this.

    I don't have pictures but I will try to get some.

    Michael
    Michael: Bob's idea is sound if the foundation wall (perimeter beam) is. If you use the ledger make certain that it is pressure-treated lumber and properly attached to the perimeter beam. Sister new pressure-treated joists onto the old ones, cut out the rotted sections and add new pressure-treated material in the cut-outs. Use galvanized joist hangers to support the new joists on the ledger.

    Obviously, the undercarriage will have to be otherwise temporarily supported during this whole affair. Do not attempt to extend the new material into the perimeter beam pockets - the cause of the problem in the first place.


  7. #7
    Jon Randolph's Avatar
    Jon Randolph Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Why is sistering not an option?

    Keep in mind that if you have joist damage like that, you most likely have sill plate and rim joist damage and all should be repaired at the same time.

    Attached are some pics of a before and after repair that I made on a home. You need to use lumber that is equal to the size of the joists that you are repairing, but I don't know about the 2X8 joists that you said you have. They may be a little undersized, depending on your span. I recommend that you refer to a span chart to see what the allowable span is on your joists, you may need to install a series of columns and girder(s) to properly support.

    As far as the repair, a full length joist from support to support would be best but depending on plumbing, hvac, etc. this is not always possible.
    I used lumber 4 X's as long as the damaged area and through bolted them to the floor joists. 2 sets of bolts at the rear section of the sister and one set as near the end as possible but still in good wood. This should pull everything together and make it act as though it is one joist. I'm not an engineer and recommend that you seek advice from an engineer to determine what is best for your situation.

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Jon, he doesn't have the top plate to run the sistered board onto, is what I'm getting from the post. There is a joist pocket, but only wide enough for the existing joist.

    I would go with the ledger board and then sister all of the way back to the main beam with a 16' board, either 2x8 or 2x10. If the stem wall won't hold a ledger board, then you've got more problems. Maybe a new footer inside the crawl space? Won't be much fun for either option.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  9. #9

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Jon,

    I see that repair quite often (and it seems to work quite well), but can't remember seeing a credible source saying that it is allowed, installation details, etc. . Where can I find documentation showing that as a proper repair?

    Thanks....


  10. #10
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Can you just add some footings and a beam to support the newly created splices? That would be most 'low-tech' and easiest way. Sistering and using metal plates gets complicated. The sistered portion (or metal plate) would have to be about 3/4 as long as the span to be effective. There's engineering rule of thumb here that is eluding me.


  11. #11
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    Jon, he doesn't have the top plate to run the sistered board onto, is what I'm getting from the post. There is a joist pocket, but only wide enough for the existing joist.

    I would go with the ledger board and then sister all of the way back to the main beam with a 16' board, either 2x8 or 2x10. If the stem wall won't hold a ledger board, then you've got more problems. Maybe a new footer inside the crawl space? Won't be much fun for either option.
    Jim: No problem with that either. Just add another ledger or angle iron support below the joists at the stem wall.

    Aaron


  12. #12
    Brandon Chew's Avatar
    Brandon Chew Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by michael coffey View Post
    The house I just bought has some serious floor joist issues. first of all the footprint of the house is about 30X60. There are pillars running every 10' or so that break the crawlspace up into two seperat 15X60 areas. The center beam of the house spans these pillars. The joists run 15' from the main support beam to a brick pocket in the foundation wall. Each of these pockets is just big enough for one joist to fit into.

    Now the problem is that this house had water damage in the past and about 30 of the floor joists are rotted at the outside foundation wall. Thankfully there was no plate in this design, so the rot was confined to the floor joists, but the floor joists have rotted so much in these brick pockets that the joists have crumbled and the floor has fallen 2'' in some places.

    I would sister new joists onto the old ones but there is no room in the pocket to support a second joist. A friend told me to cut all the bad joists back three feet to the good wood, then add a three foot section of new joist from the pocket up to the old joist, by sandwiching both the new and old joist on each side with long metal plates using 12 to 16 bolts.

    Will this work or will it sag? I tend to think it will sag. If i'm right and it won't work, how do i fix the problem? The joists are only 2X8 and they are on 16'' centers. I really don't want to have to add another support beam at the seam of the old and new joists.

    Please help this poor idiot.
    It will either sag or bounce like a trampoline when you walk across the floor. There are two problems that you need to solve. One is that the ends of the joists have rotted in the foundation wall pockets. The other is that 2x8 joists on 16 inch centers are undersized for a 15 foot span. 2x8s are good for about a 12 foot span.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    You should use 2x10's for that span.
    Most all floor system repairs should be done with treated lumber, especially since rot was the original problem.

    The metal plates are too expensive and too much trouble, plenty of other good ways to do it.

    I would install the ledger as Bob said and use 2x10's with joist hanger brackets. The other end should attach to the main beam with hangers or ledger also. Then the old 2x8 can be sistered on or removed.

    Make sure you use temporary jacks to bring everything back close to level unless it is an old house then you should be careful with stressing the structure.

    Yep, you need 2x10s if you are going to keep that 15 foot span. If you don't want to mess around with adding a beam and piers to reduce the span, then I'd use 2x10s and do it the way Bruce suggested. Remember, you have issues with rot AND over-spanning. So you need to do this for all of the floor joists that span more than 12 feet, not just for the rotten ones, and for the spans on both sides of the center beam. It will be a big and expensive job. You're essentially replacing the entire floor framing if you do it this way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Randolph View Post
    Why is sistering not an option?

    Keep in mind that if you have joist damage like that, you most likely have sill plate and rim joist damage and all should be repaired at the same time.

    Attached are some pics of a before and after repair that I made on a home. You need to use lumber that is equal to the size of the joists that you are repairing, but I don't know about the 2X8 joists that you said you have. They may be a little undersized, depending on your span. I recommend that you refer to a span chart to see what the allowable span is on your joists, you may need to install a series of columns and girder(s) to properly support.

    As far as the repair, a full length joist from support to support would be best but depending on plumbing, hvac, etc. this is not always possible.
    I used lumber 4 X's as long as the damaged area and through bolted them to the floor joists. 2 sets of bolts at the rear section of the sister and one set as near the end as possible but still in good wood. This should pull everything together and make it act as though it is one joist. I'm not an engineer and recommend that you seek advice from an engineer to determine what is best for your situation.
    Michael, as much as you don't want to add new beams and piers, I think it's likely the best way to go, in conjunction with a fix similar to what Jon has posted. The difference from Jon's photos is you'll have beams supporting where the old and new joists lap each other, and you probably won't need all those bolts. You'll be solving both the rot and the span problems, without replacing the entire floor framing.

    I'd lean toward installing a ledger along the foundation wall to support the ends of the new 2x8 joists at the foundation, adding a beam and piers (on both sides of the center beam, at least 3 feet in from the foundation wall) to reduce the span and to support the splice of the old joists to the new ones, and lapping the ends of the cut old joists and the new joists over the new beam. If you add the new beams (so that you have a total of three that run parallel to each other for the entire length of the house), then the only wood you need to cut out and replace are the rotten joists. The remaining joists will be adequately supported by the new beams.

    All of the above work would need permits and needs to conform to local codes and rules, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    Jon,

    I see that repair quite often (and it seems to work quite well), but can't remember seeing a credible source saying that it is allowed, installation details, etc. . Where can I find documentation showing that as a proper repair?

    Thanks....

    Yep, it'll work. You'd most likely find that documentation on a set of drawings that have a P.E. stamp on them.


  13. #13
    Jon Randolph's Avatar
    Jon Randolph Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    Jon, he doesn't have the top plate to run the sistered board onto, is what I'm getting from the post. There is a joist pocket, but only wide enough for the existing job.

    I guess that I didn't see that


  14. #14
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by michael coffey View Post
    Bob,

    I'a afraid that the joist are rotted about two feet back. They are only crumbling in the pockets because that is where the pressure is.

    I did however just get the idea to knock out a brick in every pocket so there is room to sister. Is this the best option? Still trying to find the right way to do this.

    I don't have pictures but I will try to get some.

    Michael

    Michael, where in TN are you located. If you are not far from me I might be able to take a looksee or advise you of someone else who might be able to help.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  15. #15
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgeta Danila View Post
    My husband and I want to renovate the our condo. The floors are not level, they are noisy. We are thinking to sister the joists. Can you guys describe which is the proper way to sister the joists?
    GD: Sistering probably is not your best choice. What will be needed to repair your floors depends on many things:

    (1) Main floor with crawl space, or 2nd floor?
    (2) Span ans spacing of joists?
    (3) Species and grade of joists?
    (4) Any special live load factors?


  16. #16
    Georgeta Danila's Avatar
    Georgeta Danila Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    GD: Sistering probably is not your best choice. What will be needed to repair your floors depends on many things:

    (1) Main floor with crawl space, or 2nd floor?
    (2) Span ans spacing of joists?
    (3) Species and grade of joists?
    (4) Any special live load factors?
    I read this: Calculating Deck Floor Joist Spans - Part 1


  17. #17
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgeta Danila View Post
    Hello A.D.,

    I don't understand your professional language. We live on the third floor. The kitchen, dining and a bit of the hallways floors are not level. I read that the best option is to sister the joists.
    GD: If you live on the 3rd floor and do not have access to the joists from the 2nd floor, you will need to be prepared to remove the flooring from your residence in order to add the joists you desire.

    You will most likely use the method on the left in the graphic. Simply add a joist of the same size to the side of each existing joist. Use contruction adhesive between the sistered joists and bolt them together as shown.

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  18. #18
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgeta Danila View Post
    Are you sure that I have to go on the second floor to sister the joists? Why can't a sister the joists from my floor?
    GD: If you will actually READ my post you will see that I did not say that. What I said was, that if you did not have access to the 2nd floor ceiling, you would be required to remove the flooring from your residence.


  19. #19
    Georgeta Danila's Avatar
    Georgeta Danila Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    GD: If you will actually READ my post you will see that I did not say that. What I said was, that if you did not have access to the 2nd floor ceiling, you would be required to remove the flooring from your residence.
    I apologize. I am still sleepy. Yes, we want to remove everything.


  20. #20
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgeta Danila View Post
    I apologize. I am still sleepy. Yes, we want to remove everything.
    GD: No problem then. Simply remove the floor covering and sub flooring and add the new joists beside each of the existing joists. Be certain to use joists of the same dimensions. The better the grade of lumber the more support you will achieve from it.


  21. #21
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    GD: Also be certain that, if there is someone occupying the space below you (2nd floor), you inform them that some minor cracking may occur in their ceiling. It depends on if they have a drywall ceiling of plaster, but can happen in either event.

    Additionally, you may have to do some rewiring, in order to add the new joists which will also inconvenience any downstairs neighbor.

    Buy them a case of wine before you begin - to assuage their anger . . .


  22. #22
    Georgeta Danila's Avatar
    Georgeta Danila Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    I found this:

    No. 1 (Construction)
    Moderate-sized tight knots. Paints well. Used for siding, cornice, shelving, paneling, some furniture.
    No. 2 (Standard)
    Knots larger and more numerous. Paints fair. Similar uses as No. 1.
    No. 3 (Utility)
    Splits and knotholes present. Does not take paint well. Used for crates, sheathing, subflooring, small furniture parts.
    No. 4 (Economy)
    Numerous splits and knotholes. Large waste areas. Does not take paint well. Used for sheathing, subflooring, concrete form work.
    No. 5 (Economy)
    Larger waste areas and coarser defects. Unpaintable. Applications are similar to No. 5.


  23. #23
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgeta Danila View Post
    I found this:

    No. 1 (Construction)
    Moderate-sized tight knots. Paints well. Used for siding, cornice, shelving, paneling, some furniture.
    No. 2 (Standard)
    Knots larger and more numerous. Paints fair. Similar uses as No. 1.
    No. 3 (Utility)
    Splits and knotholes present. Does not take paint well. Used for crates, sheathing, subflooring, small furniture parts.
    No. 4 (Economy)
    Numerous splits and knotholes. Large waste areas. Does not take paint well. Used for sheathing, subflooring, concrete form work.
    No. 5 (Economy)
    Larger waste areas and coarser defects. Unpaintable. Applications are similar to No. 5.
    GD: Yep, that's right. Use No. 1 or No. 2. The rest are for dog houses.


  24. #24
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
    chris mcintyre Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Georgeta,
    With all due respect, after reading through the above post, I would strongly recommend that you call a licensed builder for your project and do not attempt this yourself.

    Last edited by chris mcintyre; 02-28-2010 at 08:55 AM. Reason: forgot the key words "do not"

  25. #25
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by chris mcintyre View Post
    Georgeta,
    With all due respect, after reading through the above post, I would strongly recommend that you call a licensed builder for your project and attempt this yourself.
    CM: If everyone bought into that comment, what would happen to Home Depot, Lowes, and all of the thousands of DIY TV shows, books videos, etc.?

    Of course, they will be hiring an electrician for the wire relocation, but why do you need a license to sister joists in your own residence? Maybe in New York, but it is not required in Texas.

    Next you will be requiring certifcations to hang pictures on drywall.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    CM: If everyone bought into that comment, what would happen to Home Depot, Lowes, and all of the thousands of DIY TV shows, books videos, etc.?

    Of course, they will be hiring an electrician for the wire relocation, but why do you need a license to sister joists in your own residence? Maybe in New York, but it is not required in Texas.

    Next you will be requiring certifcations to hang pictures on drywall.
    Maybe I've been reading Peck too long but when seeing CONDO my first thought is that the resident does not own the structure of the building and would thus be prevented from modifying the subfloor and joists.
    In any case, get your permits and clearances before you start ripping out flooring!

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  27. #27
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
    chris mcintyre Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    ..... and all of the thousands of DIY TV shows, books videos, etc.?
    A big part of the problem.

    ...but why do you need a license to sister joists in your own residence? Maybe in New York, but it is not required in Texas.
    No license needed here in S.C. for this either, just permits.
    Beyond electrical and the people living below are the walls that will have to be worked around, and under, blocking and sealing for the underlayment before installing the new. We haven't even started with the "floors not level" issue.


  28. #28
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    CM and JL:

    For you two resident "lawyers", understand that I was answering the lady's question. What she does with that information is up to her, not me, and certainly not you two. She, of course, will be researching the HOA covenants and receiving the proper authorization before she proceeds. Give her some credit.

    Both of you may know more about remodeling than I do after I did it for 20 years, but I doubt it. If you have better advice on sistering the joists - which was the question - then give it. Otherwise, butt out. Go back to watching Law and Order . . .


  29. #29
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    CM and JL:

    For you two resident "lawyers", understand that I was answering the lady's question. What she does with that information is up to her, not me, and certainly not you two. She, of course, will be researching the HOA covenants and receiving the proper authorization before she proceeds. Give her some credit.

    Both of you may know more about remodeling than I do after I did it for 20 years, but I doubt it. If you have better advice on sistering the joists - which was the question - then give it. Otherwise, butt out. Go back to watching Law and Order . . .
    My husband and I want to renovate the our condo. The floors are not level, they are noisy. We are thinking to sister the joists. Can you guys describe which is the proper way to sister the joists?
    Hello A.D.,

    I don't understand your professional language. We live on the third floor. The kitchen, dining and a bit of the hallways floors are not level. I read that the best option is to sister the joists.
    AD, sometimes it is the question that is not asked that is the most important. Given that the OP did not understand your "professional language", forgive me if I err on the side of caution in thinking she might not understand the more important parts of the puzzle. If you have to ask about sistering joist and grades of lumber then there just might be some trivial parts of the process like not destroying something that is not really yours that might at least be mentioned.

    Kind of like when someone in with a cigarette in one hand and the pump nozzle in the other asks where you put the gas in their new diesel Mercedes. There might be a couple of things I would mention first! Either that or just run for the hills.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  30. #30
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    CM and JL:

    For you two resident "lawyers", understand that I was answering the lady's question. What she does with that information is up to her, not me, and certainly not you two. She, of course, will be researching the HOA covenants and receiving the proper authorization before she proceeds. Give her some credit.

    Both of you may know more about remodeling than I do after I did it for 20 years, but I doubt it. If you have better advice on sistering the joists - which was the question - then give it. Otherwise, butt out. Go back to watching Law and Order . . .
    AD, I do understand that you were just answering the questions, and doing so in a very clear and easy to understand manner. That is why after several of the OP post it was clear that she was thinking about starting a project that was way beyond (IMO) the novice diy'er, I am worried about the safety of the tenant, the neighbor and the building.


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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Maybe I've been reading Peck too long but when seeing CONDO my first thought is that the resident does not own the structure of the building and would thus be prevented from modifying the subfloor and joists.
    In any case, get your permits and clearances before you start ripping out flooring!

    Jim,

    You are absolutely correct.

    She will need to have her contractor run the plans through the condo association board, which probably has an architectural review committee, which should, upon realizing what is being done, should say 'NO WAY - THAT IS OUR STRUCTURE and YOU are not allowed to do anything to it. Not only do WE become liable for any and all alterations to the structure, but the floor/ceiling structure is a fire-resistance rated structure and serves as fire separation between dwelling units.'

    Then, after enough convincing, they will probably give in, but only after there are permits, inspections, more inspections, and - oh yeah, insurance and bonds to guarantee the work will be done and be done properly.

    And, of course, there is that 2nd floor dwelling unit owner and occupant who will definitely want a say on what goes on with regard to their ceiling ...

    The best course of action would be to advise the condo association of the problem, then work it out with the condo association to actually do all the contracting out and for her to pay the condo associations costs (plus whatever the condo association adds) for the structural repairs. Done any other way and I can see nothing but potential legal liability problems down the line, from immediately, to in the future with the same owners, to further in the future with different owners owning the two units (2nd floor and 3rd floor units). Doing structural repairs to common property should only be undertaken by the owner of the structure ... the condo association.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  32. #32
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    CM, JL, and JP: I would really hate to have you guys as neighbors! You'd all three likely be on the HOA architectural committee, and constantly filling the monthly newsletter and people's mailboxes with dire warnings about what will happen if one:

    (a) allows vines to grow on one's house

    (b) does not re-paint their house precisely the same shade as it was originally

    (c) leaves a lawn chair facing in the wrong direction

    (d) whistles the wrong tune while carrying out the trash

    (e) hangs pictures without a laser level

    (f) even thinks about changing a light bulb

    (g) even dreams about the theory of remodeling one's own property




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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    CM, JL, and JP: I would really hate to have you guys as neighbors! You'd all three likely be on the HOA architectural committee, and constantly filling the monthly newsletter and people's mailboxes with dire warnings about what will happen if one:

    Aaron,

    Not me ... I have extreme dislike for those types of people who think they can run everything on those boards.

    BUT when someone comes in with a question asking what and how to do something which COULD AFFECT THE STRUCTURAL SAFETY AND FIRE RESISTANCE of a structure THEY DO NOT EVEN OWN - yeah, *I* will definitely point that out for respect OF ALL THOSE WHO DO OWN that structure and ALL THOSE ON THE OTHER SIDE of the common walls and ceiling/floor systems.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  34. #34
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Not me ...
    JP: The OP asked in part: "Can you guys describe which is the proper way to sister the joists?" I did, and had two tire-biters fall on me instantaneously! And you made three!

    What's a mother to do?


  35. #35
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: The OP asked in part: "Can you guys describe which is the proper way to sister the joists?" I did, and had two tire-biters fall on me instantaneously!
    Aaron,

    First and foremost, it was not "instantaneously", and they were not "tire-biters" falling on you, they were advising the poster that doing what they were going to do was not the correct way to go about it.

    Yes, you simply answered her question.

    Likewise, they simply stated that, while she could do well with that knowledge you gave her, she should not apply that knowledge on that structure which they do not own.

    See the difference?

    And you made three!
    And *I*, after all the above had been said and done, went into further detail in expanding on JIM'S POST, not related to your post at all, offering further knowledge of WHY they should not be doing it.

    What's a mother to do?
    Read the posts as given and not automatically try to read into it that people are jumping on your back about stuff , even though you frequently encourage it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  36. #36
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    even though you frequently encourage it.
    JP:

    Moi'?


  37. #37
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgeta Danila View Post
    How do you know that I don't own the place? We just bought the condo....
    GD,

    If you purchased a Condo UNIT you purchased just that and nothing more.

    If you purchased an entire Self-Contained, free-standing Condo BUILDING which contains multiple Condo Units, that's a "horse of a different color".

    A Condo Unit owner owns JUST the inside of the unit, and may additionally have exclusive use or access to certain LIMITED common elements.

    Generally, that includes the floor coverings, but not the structural floor underneath, the wall coverings (i.e. paint, paneling) but not the actual perimeter wall covering (i.e. plaster, gypsum), nor the perimeter wall studs. The entry door may or may not be "yours" (it might be a "limited common element").

    In other words (IOW) you purchased what is inside an egg shell - begining at the membrane lining on the INSIDE of the egg shell itself, and everything else within. The "egg shell" itself and everything outside is not yours - it is the Condo Organization's. Some are "common elements" and some are "limited common elements" to the Condo Organization.

    Check with your real estate attorney, and your Individual Unit Owner Condo Insurance Policy Agent as well as your organizational documents for more information. Furthermore, your HOA's (Condo Organization's) MASTER Insurance Policy (& Underwriter) may have additional restrictions as to even IF an individual Unit Owner may "control" or "allow" such work as REMOVING STRUCTURAL SUB-FLOOR, let alone alter the structural joists.

    A wall or floor which SEPARATES what is "yours" and what is either the Condo Organization's OR what is "someone else's" is NOT owned by "you" in a "condo".

    Controlling jurisdictional laws, codes, and specific Condo documents (such as covenants, restrictions; bylaws; rules & regulations, etc.) control what you may and may not do, and most always, when it comes to alterations beyond the scope of what is expressly permitted, requires advamce permission and/or approval of the Condo Assocation. This oftentimes includes such things as removal of cushioned carpet from the floor and not replacing it with something equal to cushioned carpet from the floor.

    You indicated your location is NY. NY has myriad of laws, rules & regulations which "control" what you may and may not do, in addition to the restrictions your HOA may have.


  38. #38
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    GD,

    If you purchased a Condo UNIT you purchased just that and nothing more.

    If you purchased an entire Self-Contained, free-standing Condo BUILDING which contains multiple Condo Units, that's a "horse of a different color".

    A Condo Unit owner owns JUST the inside of the unit, and may additionally have exclusive use or access to certain LIMITED common elements.

    Generally, that includes the floor coverings, but not the structural floor underneath, the wall coverings (i.e. paint, paneling) but not the actual perimeter wall covering (i.e. plaster, gypsum), nor the perimeter wall studs. The entry door may or may not be "yours" (it might be a "limited common element").

    In other words (IOW) you purchased what is inside an egg shell - begining at the membrane lining on the INSIDE of the egg shell itself, and everything else within. The "egg shell" itself and everything outside is not yours - it is the Condo Organization's. Some are "common elements" and some are "limited common elements" to the Condo Organization.

    Check with your real estate attorney, and your Individual Unit Owner Condo Insurance Policy Agent as well as your organizational documents for more information. Furthermore, your HOA's (Condo Organization's) MASTER Insurance Policy (& Underwriter) may have additional restrictions as to even IF an individual Unit Owner may "control" or "allow" such work as REMOVING STRUCTURAL SUB-FLOOR, let alone alter the structural joists.

    A wall or floor which SEPARATES what is "yours" and what is either the Condo Organization's OR what is "someone else's" is NOT owned by "you" in a "condo".

    Controlling jurisdictional laws, codes, and specific Condo documents (such as covenants, restrictions; bylaws; rules & regulations, etc.) control what you may and may not do, and most always, when it comes to alterations beyond the scope of what is expressly permitted, requires advamce permission and/or approval of the Condo Assocation. This oftentimes includes such things as removal of cushioned carpet from the floor and not replacing it with something equal to cushioned carpet from the floor.

    You indicated your location is NY. NY has myriad of laws, rules & regulations which "control" what you may and may not do, in addition to the restrictions your HOA may have.

    Thanks. I am aware of everything. I knew "your advice" before buying the condo.


  39. #39
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgeta Danila View Post
    Thanks. I am aware of everything. I knew "your advice" before buying the condo.
    Apparently NOT, as you

    1. Asked the questions you did.
    2. Propose to invade for a series of construction "phases" the condo's limited common elements to your condo unit.
    3. Made references to doing the demo yourself.
    4. De-construct fire separation walls and floor-ceiling assemblies during the adjacent occupancies of other units.
    5. Responded the way you did, especially when other's pointed out that "you" DO NOT "own" the structural "floors" (including "floor joists") when "you" purchase a "Condo" unit, your response was inappropriate.
    6. Noted reference to removing a wall without any reference to remediating the structure to accomodate the missing wall.
    7. Your "plans" don't have any specifications or references regarding fire/draft blockiing/stopping, specifications for the "drywall" for ceilings, and "unit" perimeter walls, duct/vent containing sofits, etc.
    8. I notice plywood followed by wood floor, followed by tile floor (tile guy) in both the kitchen and dining. Seems excessive to have two layers of finished floor - and doubtful a hard finish would be allowed in separate dining room of multistory condo bulding.
    9. This is not a DIY site.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 02-28-2010 at 04:40 PM.

  40. #40
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgeta Danila View Post
    How do you know that I don't own the place?
    Because of what you just said, and repeated below:
    We just bought the condo....

    "Condo"

    That means you bought "the space" "within" the structure, but *not* "the structure" itself.

    "The structure" itself, in condos, apartments, and the like, are owned by the association. The association is made up of all "unit owners" who own their own "unit", which is the space enclosed by the structure surrounding their unit. Condos are typically owned as "paint to paint", you don't even own the drywall for the structural walls, ceiling, or the sub-floor under the carpet or wood as all of those are part of the structure and the fire-resistive rated assemblies separating one unit from other units and from common areas.

    What you do own, in most cases (but not in all cases) are interior non-load bearing partitions and which you can usually (in most cases) take down and move around as you so desire as long as you do not get into the structure and its fire-resistive rated assemblies, which includes the drywall covering those walls and ceilings.

    If the condo is the type which is constructed of concrete with concrete slabs for the actual structural and fire-separation ceilings/floors, then any drop ceiling assemblies are usually within your realm to remove and move around.

    However, you stated wood floor joists, and if those are the wood floor joists between your unit and the unit below, they are structural and not yours to do anything with, neither do they belong to you and the person below you, they belong to "the association".

    In fact, in many two-story condos (where the unit is two-stories and may be within a multi-story building) the floor system within the single condo unit may well be a structural aspect of the structure and not owned by the unit owner.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  41. #41
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgeta Danila View Post
    How do you know that I don't own the place? We just bought the condo....
    You also just answered that in your next post: (bold and red are mine)

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgeta Danila View Post
    The condo belongs to us and the management company is responsible for the structure.
    That is exactly what I was explaining.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  42. #42
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgeta Danila View Post
    Thanks. I am aware of everything. I knew "your advice" before buying the condo.
    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Apparently NOT, as you
    If I had read H.G.'s response before responding myself I would not have needed to explain it all over again.

    Hopefully, between H.G. and myself you will begin to understand the very limited ownership structure you have when you buy a condo - you basically own "paint to paint" ... that's it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgeta Danila View Post
    Thanks. I am aware of everything. I knew "your advice" before buying the condo.
    There are floor leveling compounds that you apply over the existing subfloor. The subfloor is the stuructural wood that is below your finished foor. The subfloor is what is below the hardwood, vinyl or tile flooting.

    The leveling compound can be used to level floors and filling in low spots without having to mes with the structure. The finished floor is then installed on top.


  44. #44
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Hronek View Post
    There are floor leveling compounds that you apply over the existing subfloor. The subfloor is the stuructural wood that is below your finished foor. The subfloor is what is below the hardwood, vinyl or tile flooting.

    The leveling compound can be used to level floors and filling in low spots without having to mes with the structure. The finished floor is then installed on top.
    Thanks, Robert!


  45. #45
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgeta Danila View Post
    Please read carefully my questions....
    I have.

    Please point out the part I have missed.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  46. #46
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgeta Danila View Post
    The floors are not level, they are noisy. We are thinking to sister the joists.
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Hronek View Post
    There are floor leveling compounds that you apply over the existing subfloor.

    That will address the not level part, but not the noisy part.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  47. #47
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgeta Danila View Post
    Guys,

    please try to read carefully my posts.
    Georgeta,
    Per your request, I went back to see if I had read something wrong or taken it out of context. I see you have deleted a post, hard to read them after you delete them.


  48. #48
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Hey guys,

    I'm Mihai Danila, Georgeta's husband; I've read your posts and although some misunderstanding happened I realize you're all trying to help with your notes. Thank you for all your good points.

    Both my wife and I realize we're not knowledgeable enough to renovate our own apartment. We also know vaguely that there are a myriad of rules and regulations that we have to abide by and we're trying to get a grip on the starting points for this process to understand what needs and what doesn't need to get done. We kind of know that the non-level floor is a structural problem, due to settling in this building (made in 1925). We're hoping not only to get approval from the condo association to fix the structure in order to make the floor level, but also to get them to fund part or all of the work. After all, it is their property that is broken, one could argue.

    In any case, we're going to be spending a lot of money, so we want to understand as much of the process as possible. We even want to know whether our contractor will fix the floor the right way, or whether they would trick us. Hence my wife's question above.

    Originally, we had wanted to tile kitchen (this will be a kitchen renovation including small adjacent dining room), so "mud floor" was the two words most contractors used with respect to processing the floor. A mud floor was apparently required to support the tile, and, as a bonus, the mud floor would also be constructed leveled, fixing our leveling issues. The downside is additional weight pushing down on the structure.

    In the meantime, we've changed our minds and decided we can maintain wooden floors just fine, so we want wooden floors, not tile. For this reason, a mud floor suddenly sounded like a bad idea and we were left with the unanswered question of how to level the floor. Yeah, we'll have to change it to remove the squeaking and to add the wooden floor in the kitchen, but that alone doesn't sounds like it will level anything.

    To level, we understand, we would need to either (a) sister joists, or (b) do something called "shimming". Initial reading has led us to believe shimming is the less preferable option in terms of durability. So we'd like to go with sistering the joists. We don't want surprises in 5 to 10 years.

    I'll try to give you guys more background on the structure. The blueprints are old and don't include a clear section through the floor. What we know is that the 900ft approximately square area of our condo includes no internal structural walls, that is, we can take any internal walls down. We know there are brick walls all around, as well as metal beams running underneath. One of these beams runs through the middle of the condo, and there are apparently 2x12 joists under there. We don't know how they run or how evenly spaced they are. The blueprints show a thin floor, thin sub-floor, a wide space in which there is a girder and two beams, then the ceiling below; one of the layers in that ceiling below is sheet rock. We've heard that the ceilings were dropped later (possibly by about 8"), presumably due to all sorts of issues (either acoustic or cracking caused by pounding, I didn't get that part from the super).

    A.D. Miller: do you feel that sistering the joists is not something that gives us leveling? The drawing you attached shows sistering that adds no leveling, but merely increases the sturdiness of existing joists. Is there a form of sistering that pushes parts of the floors up?

    You also indicate that our work may create cracking in the ceiling of the floor below us. That's problematic as I don't think we have the tools to be nice to our neighbors, nor do we want to pay to fix their ceiling. But certainly people have renovated condos before and I don't think our neighbors can prevent us from renovating our condo because of cracking. Also, if cracking is only due to the structural work, sounds like it's the association's responsibility to fix any cracking. Maybe since the ceilings were dropped there is a smaller chance of cracking?

    Thanks to all for the answers so far and sorry for such a long message -- I sure don't usually read this long a message.


    Mihai


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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    I'll reply to a few section to keep it short, and allow others to reply with their thoughts too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mihai Danila View Post
    We're hoping not only to get approval from the condo association to fix the structure in order to make the floor level, but also to get them to fund part or all of the work. After all, it is their property that is broken, one could argue.
    That approval would be required. To get them to participate in "improving" the structure for your comfort may be hard to do due to the age of the structure and that the structure, while no longer having level floors, is not failing and in need of repair from that aspect.

    The downside is additional weight pushing down on the structure.
    Yes, a mud floor does add weight, which needs to be considered in an older structure with already sagging floor joists.

    In the meantime, we've changed our minds and decided we can maintain wooden floors just fine, so we want wooden floors, not tile. For this reason, a mud floor suddenly sounded like a bad idea and we were left with the unanswered question of how to level the floor.
    You could float the floor out with gypcrete, which would also add additional fire resistance to the floor, but, alas, that too will add weight to the already sagging floor joists. Gypcrete is self-leveling and thus would make the floor level, it would not likely stop the squeaking unless the added weight kept the subfloor in place (it is likely either the subfloor is rubbing against itself or moving on the floor joists, either of which can cause the squeaking).

    Gypcrete - Good and Bad
    Gyp-Crete 2000®/3.2K Gypsum Floor Underlayment - Maxxon


    To level, we understand, we would need to either (a) sister joists, or (b) do something called "shimming". Initial reading has led us to believe shimming is the less preferable option in terms of durability.
    Sistering joists can be used for leveling in that the existing sagging joists would be left sagging as they have attained that shape over the years and the ceiling below has become sagged with the joists, so the sistered joists would simply be new joists set next to the existing joists, or set completely independent from the existing joists to attain a closer spacing for the same size joist, closer spacing equals a stronger floor, which would be more resistant to sagging and squeaking.

    we can take any internal walls down.
    That is likely a true statement as long as those walls do not penetrate into the fire-resistance separation, or, if they do, the fire-resistance separation is repaired to equal or exceed what was there prior to any work.

    one of the layers in that ceiling below is sheet rock. We've heard that the ceilings were dropped later (possibly by about 8"), presumably due to all sorts of issues (either acoustic or cracking caused by pounding, I didn't get that part from the super).
    Any work you do in your unit will necessitate you NOT causing ANY damage in the other units, including the unit below, and you would be responsible for repairing any damage to the unit below to the condition it was prior to you starting work - make sure you have an inspection done in the unit below to document its pre-work condition, with photos, drawings, and other documentation necessary to establish the existing condition to which you would at least need to return it to (resulting in you probably returning it to a better condition as it is next to impossible to return something to a cracked condition).

    A.D. Miller: do you feel that sistering the joists is not something that gives us leveling? The drawing you attached shows sistering that adds no leveling, but merely increases the sturdiness of existing joists. Is there a form of sistering that pushes parts of the floors up?
    See above, sistering can be used for leveling.

    You also indicate that our work may create cracking in the ceiling of the floor below us. That's problematic as I don't think we have the tools to be nice to our neighbors, nor do we want to pay to fix their ceiling.
    See above, that WILL BE your responsibility.

    But certainly people have renovated condos before and I don't think our neighbors can prevent us from renovating our condo because of cracking.
    No, but your neighbors CAN EXPECT that any work you do does not negatively affect their unit.

    Also, if cracking is only due to the structural work, sounds like it's the association's responsibility to fix any cracking. Maybe since the ceilings were dropped there is a smaller chance of cracking?
    If the structural work is undertaken at your request, your association will likely require you to cover any and all repairs needed as a result of that work - which only makes sense (unless the structural work was "required" versus "wanted" for your comfort and enjoyment).

    Owning a condo severely restricts what you can do, and greatly increases your responsibilities for what happens when you do whatever you do.

    Regarding your original thoughts of installing tile floors - without knowing what type of floor is there now, installing tile would increase the noise level transmitted down to the unit below and many condos would (most will, and all should) require an acoustical separation between the subfloor and the tile to dampen the noise created by the installation of the tile.

    Wood floors are not as noisy as tile, but are still noisier than carpet, with vinyl being between the two as it is softer than wood but thinner than carpet - tile is solid and unforgiving and sound travels much better through solid material than less dense material.

    Keep in mind that you only bought "the air space between the layers of paint", not the actual structure.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  50. #50
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Now that's what I call a thorough answer.

    So sistering can level floors -- that's good, cause we've been talking about this with several contractors for the last couple of weeks or so.

    About the difference between "improving" and "fixing structure in need of repair" is clear, isn't there a case for fixing if I have a sagging floor with a difference of over 1" over a 3' distance at it worst? The one metallic structure that I know runs through the middle of our apartment is "in our face", I mean it's easy to see and feel the height difference as you walk around that area. I would think that with all the rules and regulations you just can't have certain inclinations in a house in the 21st century. What do you think?

    That's great advice, documenting the state of the neighboring apartments before doing any work! But how should we approach the neighbors about an inspection? Isn't it the case that they could refuse to let an inspector enter their place?

    Good points about the insulation... we'll put an acoustical insulation sheet if it's not too expensive, but we won't get crazy about this detail. We know that carpets are mandatory in all apartments, but we've already seen a few condos breaking this rule. And then, there's the fireplaces which already make the noise so much more hearable across units. We'll check the rules of the condo, but the bylaws seem to mention nothing other than the mandatory carpets and certain quiet hours, like Sundays etc. And after all, we are fixing the squeaking in the floor (which I think does get heard below, because I can sometimes hear squeaks from the apartment above us), so if anything we're reducing the noise pollution.

    What do you think about the clause in the association's capital improvement form along the lines of "if owner sells or transfers unit, association may require that owner restore unit to state prior to renovation"? Does this suck or what? Can't they make up their minds ahead of time about whether our changes are go or not?


  51. #51
    Georgeta Danila's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    We have:

    - (1)steel girder (it runs through the middle of our apartment)
    - joists 2 x 12 x 16" o.c.(perpendicular to girder)
    - bridging 2 x 9 ( perpendicular to joists. I am not sure if its blocking. I read the blue print and it seems blocking rather than the bridging.)


  52. #52
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mihai Danila View Post
    About the difference between "improving" and "fixing structure in need of repair" is clear, isn't there a case for fixing if I have a sagging floor with a difference of over 1" over a 3' distance at it worst? The one metallic structure that I know runs through the middle of our apartment is "in our face", I mean it's easy to see and feel the height difference as you walk around that area. I would think that with all the rules and regulations you just can't have certain inclinations in a house in the 21st century. What do you think?
    There is nothing clear-cut about what you describe, at least not without seeing it first hand.

    That is one of those issues which may well rest in the hands of a judge after all the attorneys have presented their side ... i.e., that answer may not come easy or cheap.

    That's great advice, documenting the state of the neighboring apartments before doing any work! But how should we approach the neighbors about an inspection? Isn't it the case that they could refuse to let an inspector enter their place?
    Ask the management company to allow your inspector in and to have the management company accompany the inspector - if they refuse then make the request in writing, and let them refuse in writing, then request again and state that the association is accepting the responsibility for any and all work needed due to lack of documentation as to what WAS NOT pre-existing. Hard to make that stand up in court, but that may make the association get off their butts and allow the documentation inspection - which is all you want to do, and keep in mind that you want to DOCUMENT EVERYTHING because what you miss will be presumed as not having been there - document every little crack ... EVERYTHING ... which is why high resolution digital photos should work well, you want to be able to show that 'that crack was already there BEFORE we started our work'.

    but the bylaws seem to mention nothing other than the mandatory carpets and certain quiet hours, like Sundays etc. And after all, we are fixing the squeaking in the floor (which I think does get heard below, because I can sometimes hear squeaks from the apartment above us), so if anything we're reducing the noise pollution.
    Yes, but when push comes to shove ... you will not have the mandatory carpets installed, and if you cause your downstairs neighbor a problem by not making suitable repairs (even after documenting the damage/cracking/etc was already there) they can make your life miserable by complaining about the noise and ... you will not have the mandatory carpets installed ... I am sure you understand where I am going with this.

    What do you think about the clause in the association's capital improvement form along the lines of "if owner sells or transfers unit, association may require that owner restore unit to state prior to renovation"? Does this suck or what? Can't they make up their minds ahead of time about whether our changes are go or not?
    That is where I would submit a plan on what you are going to be doing, and include in there about leveling the floors, and ask that it be reviewed and accepted. If they refuse, state that you do not want to be held liable to make the floors unlevel and unsafe again - which should get them off their butts again.

    They should gladly accept your interior alterations as long as the noise factor is reduced and the unit is improved, but as for the structural repairs ... I can see potential problems with getting them to agree to allowing you to do that, even with all work permitted and inspected, and even with you paying for it all ... asking them to pay for it is (in my opinion and based on your description) asking for them to refuse to allow you to do the work.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  53. #53
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgeta Danila View Post
    We have:

    - (1)steel girder (it runs through the middle of our apartment)
    - joists 2 x 12 x 16" o.c.(perpendicular to girder)
    From your descriptions (and with me filling in the blanks) it seems to me that the joists were likely cut to fit into the girder, resting on the bottom flange of the girder, with the bottom of the joists compressing over the years, allowing the joists to drop in relation to the top of the steel girder, which is still pretty much where it was in 1925 - that would account for your description of the unlevelness (at least as I am envisioning it).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  54. #54
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mihai Danila View Post
    . . .

    What we know is that the 900ft approximately square area of our condo includes no internal structural walls, that is, we can take any internal walls down.
    You may find a few surprises hidden inside those non-load-bearing walls, e.g. plumbing piping, wiring, etc.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
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  55. #55
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Georgeta and Mihai:

    As you can see, the folks on this forum are much more interested in arguing with each other than they are with providing you with answers to your questions. There are other, perhaps more appropriate, forums that you could visit with more encouraging results.

    The folks here are so paranoid about litigation that they will direct you to cover your asses with everyone from the Latino blowing the leaves in your yard to the Department of Homeland Security, before you even consider changing the locks on your doors.

    After that, they will bury you with hyper-detailed, jargon-encrusted blather to the point that even the most competent general contractor would run from your job wringing his hands and chanting in tongues.

    Best of luck with your project!


  56. #56
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by michael coffey View Post
    The house I just bought has some serious floor joist issues. first of all the footprint of the house is about 30X60. There are pillars running every 10' or so that break the crawlspace up into two seperat 15X60 areas. The center beam of the house spans these pillars. The joists run 15' from the main support beam to a brick pocket in the foundation wall. Each of these pockets is just big enough for one joist to fit into.

    Now the problem is that this house had water damage in the past and about 30 of the floor joists are rotted at the outside foundation wall. Thankfully there was no plate in this design, so the rot was confined to the floor joists, but the floor joists have rotted so much in these brick pockets that the joists have crumbled and the floor has fallen 2'' in some places

    I would sister new joists onto the old ones but there is no room in the pocket to support a second joist. A friend told me to cut all the bad joists back three feet to the good wood, then add a three foot section of new joist from the pocket up to the old joist, by sandwiching both the new and old joist on each side with long metal plates using 12 to 16 bolts.

    Will this work or will it sag? I tend to think it will sag. If i'm right and it won't work, how do i fix the problem? The joists are only 2X8 and they are on 16'' centers. I really don't want to have to add another support beam at the seam of the old and new joists.

    Please help this poor idiot.
    Michael,
    There are several posts on doing this repair that will work but if you are going to go thru all of the pain of making the repair you should identify what species of lumber that comprise the joist system because you are most likely over spanned. The only species of 2x8 spced at 16" o.c. and spanning 15' would be Douglas Fir SS and generally is not available east of the Mississippi. Would hate to see you do the repair and still end up with a sagging or bouncey floor


  57. #57
    Michael Garrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    "and generally is not available east of the Mississippi"

    Are you sure?


  58. #58
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    AD, sometimes it is the question that is not asked that is the most important. Given that the OP did not understand your "professional language"
    Quote Originally Posted by chris mcintyre View Post
    AD, I do understand that you were just answering the questions, and doing so in a very clear and easy to understand manner. That is why after several of the OP post it was clear that she was thinking about starting a project that was way beyond (IMO) the novice diy'er, I am worried about the safety of the tenant, the neighbor and the building.
    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: The OP asked in part: "Can you guys describe which is the proper way to sister the joists?" I did, and had two tire-biters fall on me instantaneously! And you made three!

    What's a mother to do?
    For clarification, the OP was michael coffey, who hasn't participated in this topic thread since his second post back on January 14, 2009.

    This topic thread was resurected by "Georgeta Danila" who instead of creating a new topic asked her own questions, was responded to, then proceeded to respond inappropriately in some cases, and in others, apparently thought better of having been rude, etc. and having shared "certain information" on the world wide web about her plans to have structural work, plumbing work, remodeling to parts of the Condo, (perhaps exposing to liability, and having been warned all too clearly of this posibility) and thus not only derailed the topic thread, but went and intermittantly deleted almost a dozen of "her" posts making the remainder of the topic thread basically useless - then the "husband" persona made an appearance .

    Now the thread reads about as clear as mud, since when not logged in one doesn't even KNOW that there were many posts in between and except the little bit of what was preserved by directly quoting "her", most everything that was asserted and has been contributed in the last few days makes little to no sense an "outside" of the conversation "reader".

    As far as the actual "OP" he is long gone. The arguments on who is the smartest by those who cannot identify just WHO the OP really was on this thread are rather like the "pot calling the kettle black".

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 03-01-2010 at 02:17 PM.

  59. #59
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgeta Danila View Post
    Mister " Wagon" is right. What ca we do?
    Enough already! You've just made the consider to-be ignored list.


  60. #60
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    For clarification, the OP was michael coffey, who hasn't participated in this topic thread since his second post back on January 14, 2009.


    As far as the actual "OP" he is long gone.
    OOPS!!

    I guess I should have said 2010 MotTP (middle of the thread poster) but I guess that is useless at this point.


  61. #61
    Georgeta Danila's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Georgeta and Mihai:

    As you can see, the folks on this forum are much more interested in arguing with each other than they are with providing you with answers to your questions. There are other, perhaps more appropriate, forums that you could visit with more encouraging results.

    The folks here are so paranoid about litigation that they will direct you to cover your asses with everyone from the Latino blowing the leaves in your yard to the Department of Homeland Security, before you even consider changing the locks on your doors.

    After that, they will bury you with hyper-detailed, jargon-encrusted blather to the point that even the most competent general contractor would run from your job wringing his hands and chanting in tongues.

    Best of luck with your project!

    You are right. I can't believe how frustrated and rude are those people. I am glad that I don't know them. I asked a very simple questions and they started to attack like in the second war.


  62. #62
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgeta Danila View Post
    You are right. I can't believe how frustrated and rude are those people. I am glad that I don't know them. I asked a very simple questions and they started to attack like in the second war.
    Quite to the contrary, we tried to warn you of starting a war by doing structural work on a structure you do not own.

    You want to pick that fight with the condo association and your neighbors ... nothing we say here can stop you ... but at least we warned you and gave you the reasons why you should not start that war.

    You asked how to shot yourself in the foot, Aaron was explaining how to do that, we stepped in and tried to explain that shooting oneself in the foot is not a good idea.

    It is, after all, your choice on whether to lock and load, then let the hammer down ... we are just advising against it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    www.AskCodeMan.com

  63. #63
    Georgeta Danila's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Quite to the contrary, we tried to warn you of starting a war by doing structural work on a structure you do not own.

    You want to pick that fight with the condo association and your neighbors ... nothing we say here can stop you ... but at least we warned you and gave you the reasons why you should not start that war.

    You asked how to shot yourself in the foot, Aaron was explaining how to do that, we stepped in and tried to explain that shooting oneself in the foot is not a good idea.

    It is, after all, your choice on whether to lock and load, then let the hammer down ... we are just advising against it.
    I asked a very simple question about the joists. Nobody asked you guys about the management company or something else. You started aggressive, rude and a bit impolite. You guys started to give me advice without me asking you. My husband came in the picture later and explained it very nice what we have in our minds. We don't want to fight with the neighbors, with the management company or somebody else. You guys see a fight in every detail. We want to understand the terminology, to understand where our money goes. We want to hire a contractor and an architect.

    Everybody tells us how bad is going to be, but nobody has a good advice. How should we level the floors? So many words from you but nothing smart. You are extremely negative.


  64. #64
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgeta Danila View Post
    I asked a very simple question about the joists. Nobody asked you guys about the management company or something else.
    Which was a very obvious "lack of knowledge" indicator showing that you lacked the knowledge to ask the questions which needed to be asked ... so WE OFFERED UP THAT KNOWLEDGE with the hopes that you might gain some knowledge, but ...


    ... it seems you do not want to learn ANYTHING ABOUT WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE, or, more importantly, WHAT SHOULD NOT BE DONE ... you only wanted confirmation on how to do it wrong - and we did not give you that confirmation.

    Everybody tells us how bad is going to be, but nobody has a good advice.
    Actually, if you had an open mind, you would realize we gave you excellent advice.

    How should we level the floors?
    Read this very carefully - "by going through the association" and "not by working on a structure YOU do not own" - THAT is "how" YOU should level the floors.

    One can lead a horse to water, but cannot make it drink, sometimes one drowns the horse trying.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  65. #65
    Georgeta Danila's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do i fix floor joists when sistering isn't an option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Which was a very obvious "lack of knowledge" indicator showing that you lacked the knowledge to ask the questions which needed to be asked ... so WE OFFERED UP THAT KNOWLEDGE with the hopes that you might gain some knowledge, but ...


    ... it seems you do not want to learn ANYTHING ABOUT WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE, or, more importantly, WHAT SHOULD NOT BE DONE ... you only wanted confirmation on how to do it wrong - and we did not give you that confirmation.



    Actually, if you had an open mind, you would realize we gave you excellent advice.



    Read this very carefully - "by going through the association" and "not by working on a structure YOU do not own" - THAT is "how" YOU should level the floors.

    One can lead a horse to water, but cannot make it drink, sometimes one drowns the horse trying.



    Unbelievable! I told you that I am going to hire a contractor and an architect. Do I speak Chinese? I told you from the beginning that I am going to work with the management company, with the contractor, with the architect. FYI I know a a lot of things about construction, architecture. I am from Europe and English is my second language. I asked the questions to understand the terminology in English. I know what means grade lumber in my language but not in English. Now I know. ...I know about the joists, the lath, the bridging, the blocking, ....but I am still learning the English terminology. You guys came like hyenas and jump over me and A.D. I am disgusted about your behavior.


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