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Thread: floor joists

  1. #1
    kim watson's Avatar
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    Default floor joists

    what would cause a floor joist to bow up about 2 inches from the rest of the floor. there are 2 bowed up about 8 inches in lenght in the hallway and one in the bedroom. they are about 12 inches apart. in the living room there are more beginnig to bow up and the floor looks wavy. someone looked under the house and all the piers look fine but there was moisture under there. im scared i wont be able to affford to fix this. what do i do call the insurance company? the 2 boards bowed up so bad u can trip on them

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: floor joists

    Sounds like a water problem. Find the source and get the crawl space dried out then deal with the damaged wood.

    Jim Luttrall
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    Default Re: floor joists

    Did you get alot of rain lately? How is the soil grade around the house? The ground needs to slope away from the house to direct water away.

    Is this a double wide mobil home?


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    Default Re: floor joists

    One possibility is improper installation orientation of the sawn lumber floor joists. Crown down vs. crown up, becomes more pronounced as load bearing and the lumber ages. Another possiblity includes improper grade selection (materials), location of knots or other defects, etc. The joists may be improperly braced/restrained/supported , there could be a failure (split/crack), problem with supporting structure, pier, beam or post, etc. or soil issues regarding foundation/footings. There are a host of possibilities which could be suggested by the vague description unaccompanied by photographs. An experienced individual on-site having the opportunity to inspect, explore, and review overall would be better able to guide you.

    You might consider acquiring a professional home inspection and WDI (wood destroying insect) inspection to help you identify the potential issues and/or potential contributing factors, and proceed from there.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 08-20-2010 at 09:06 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: floor joists

    I would have to go with Jim and John's ideas about moisture being the culprit.

    For joist to bow all of a sudden it is not going to be related to how they were installed. Dramatic changes usually indicate a recent change in the homes environment or a new problem that is not associated to the visible issue; such as a plumbing leak.

    If it is a plumbing leak that has caused the moisture, then your insurance will most likely take care of it along with the damaged framing and flooring. Keep in mind the once that wood has bowed like you are describing, it will not go back down to the way it was before. It will need to be replaced.

    Call a local home inspector to come out and take a look. You are looking at an hour of billable time for something like this.

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

  6. #6
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    Default Re: floor joists

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    Did you get alot of rain lately? How is the soil grade around the house? The ground needs to slope away from the house to direct water away.

    Is this a double wide mobil home?

    A pier & beam house. We had a bunch of rain a few months ago and the back yard and porch was holding ankle deep water.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: floor joists

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I would have to go with Jim and John's ideas about moisture being the culprit.

    For joist to bow all of a sudden it is not going to be related to how they were installed. Dramatic changes usually indicate a recent change in the homes environment or a new problem that is not associated to the visible issue; such as a plumbing leak.

    If it is a plumbing leak that has caused the moisture, then your insurance will most likely take care of it along with the damaged framing and flooring. Keep in mind the once that wood has bowed like you are describing, it will not go back down to the way it was before. It will need to be replaced.

    Call a local home inspector to come out and take a look. You are looking at an hour of billable time for something like this.

    My daughter and granbabies live in the house and i went over there to look at it and the first time i looked at it it was just the two boards in the hallway and in the bedroom right next to each other. there were 4 crowned in the living room close together and a week later i took someone to look under the house and the hole living room floor is wavy looking now and borads that look to be about 12 incheds apart and 2 inches thick are bowing up the lenght of the living room floor. i checked the water meter and it shows no leak and the ac condensate line ( its in the attic) and its flowing out the drain pipe good. about a year ago the condensate line got clogged and leaked in the closet and got the sheetrock and wood floor in the closet wet. we ripped all the sheetrock out and replaced it. Its in the same hallway where one of the boards is up. could this problem with the boards coming up be from that and just now showing up? I called a home inspector and they want 300.00 to go look at it. should i just call a foundation company?


  8. #8
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    Default Re: floor joists

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I would have to go with Jim and John's ideas about moisture being the culprit.

    For joist to bow all of a sudden it is not going to be related to how they were installed. Dramatic changes usually indicate a recent change in the homes environment or a new problem that is not associated to the visible issue; such as a plumbing leak.

    If it is a plumbing leak that has caused the moisture, then your insurance will most likely take care of it along with the damaged framing and flooring. Keep in mind the once that wood has bowed like you are describing, it will not go back down to the way it was before. It will need to be replaced.

    Call a local home inspector to come out and take a look. You are looking at an hour of billable time for something like this.
    maybe i should call the spot in the bedroom a 2 inch by 6 inch hump.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: floor joists

    So, if I understand this correctly, the foundation area and surrounding was bogged and flooded, the symptoms were first experienced during this wet time, and have become more pronounced as the area has additionally dried over the last few months.This to me sounds like it could be possible washout issues of one or more of the footings from the flooding event, in conjunction with the now excessively dry soil in expansive soil environment.There are of course a multitude of other possibilities not necesarilly exclusvie of one another.The price you quoted is a reasonable one.


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    So, if I understand this correctly, the foundation area and surrounding was bogged and flooded, the symptoms were first experienced during this wet time, and have become more pronounced as the area has additionally dried over the last few months.This to me sounds like it could be possible washout issues of one or more of the footings from the flooding event, in conjunction with the now excessively dry soil in expansive soil environment.There are of course a multitude of other possibilities not necesarilly exclusvie of one another.The price you quoted is a reasonable one.


    Nothing happened when the back yard flooded about 3 or so months ago. The wood just started buckling up in the last 2 weeks


  11. #11
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    Default Re: floor joists

    Quotes from Kim Watson:

    ...there are 2 bowed up about 8 inches in lenght in the hallway and one in the bedroom.
    in the living room there are more beginnig to bow up and the floor looks wavy.
    ...the hole living room floor is wavy looking now...

    I believe we are talking about hardwood floors and not floor joist.

    ...borads that look to be about 12 incheds apart and 2 inches thick are bowing up the lenght of the living room floor.

    I think Kim means 2" wide.

    ...someone looked under the house and all the piers look fine but there was moisture under there.

    This is obviously a moisture issue, but I say it is with the flooring and not the framing.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: floor joists

    I suppose that's possible, I took her descriptions to mean 2x joists. 12" OC, since she titled the post "floor joists", who knows, perhaps 2x subfloor planking.

    She'd have to clarify that for us, otherwise we're just guessing as to what her descriptions are supposed to mean. Pictures from above and below would be helpful to help determine just what she's indicating...but

    She began with the first post indicating that when exploring under home there was moisture present when she looked at the piers.

    Bottom line, a professional home inspector does seem to be her best bet at this point to help identify the next best approach. The price she quoted is a reasonable one for a fully documented inspection.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 08-20-2010 at 08:53 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: floor joists

    Quote Originally Posted by kim watson View Post
    A pier & beam house. We had a bunch of rain a few months ago and the back yard and porch was holding ankle deep water.
    A prolonged period of time (months) of high moisture under the house could easily be the cause, especially if the house is air conditioned.

    The moisture will flow as a vapor from the warm moist place (crawl space) to the cooler dryer place (interior) and saturate the wood on its way.

    Even if you have foundation problems, the crawl space needs to be dried since excessive moisture will cause the ground and foundation to move.

    Most of central Texas has expansive clay soil that moves a great deal when the moisture content changes.

    Pump out any standing water and ventilate the crawl space. Once it is dried out then you can begin finding out what it will take to repair.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  14. #14
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    Default Re: floor joists

    Kim, Before you fix anything make sure you find out what caused the problem in the first place and address that issue also


  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    One possibility is improper installation orientation of the sawn lumber floor joists. Crown down vs. crown up, becomes more pronounced as load bearing and the lumber ages. Another possiblity includes improper grade selection (materials), location of knots or other defects, etc. The joists may be improperly braced/restrained/supported , there could be a failure (split/crack), problem with supporting structure, pier, beam or post, etc. or soil issues regarding foundation/footings. There are a host of possibilities which could be suggested by the vague description unaccompanied by photographs. An experienced individual on-site having the opportunity to inspect, explore, and review overall would be better able to guide you.

    You might consider acquiring a professional home inspection and WDI (wood destroying insect) inspection to help you identify the potential issues and/or potential contributing factors, and proceed from there.

    when i look at the ones that are buckling up bad they are shaped like the side of a board.. does anyone have any pictures of a floor that the floor joists have buckeled. it says there are pictures on here but i cant find them. i will try to take some pictures also.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: floor joists

    Quote Originally Posted by kim watson View Post
    ... does anyone have any pictures...

    Something like this?

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    Default Re: floor joists

    Wood tends to buckle as it dries out. Pier and beam esp. in your geographical area requires frequent inspection. Especially after certain "events".

    Get a professional to inspect.


    "Rebuilding Water-Damaged Homes, A manual for the safe, healthy, green, and low-cost restoration of housing" September 2009, Produced by The Alliance for Healthy Homes for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. PDF file, 105 pages. http://www.afhh.org/flooddamagedhomes.pdf

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 08-21-2010 at 10:00 AM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: floor joists

    Quote Originally Posted by chris mcintyre View Post
    Something like this?

    One looks just like that except its about 4 feet from the wall. what is the problem in that picture?


  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kim watson View Post
    ...what is the problem in that picture?

    There was a shower on the other side of the wall that was leaking. If your floor looks that bad it is something that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

    A home inspector or a remodeling contractor will be able to tell you what is wrong and what needs to be done.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: floor joists

    Quote Originally Posted by chris mcintyre View Post
    There was a shower on the other side of the wall that was leaking. If your floor looks that bad it is something that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

    A home inspector or a remodeling contractor will be able to tell you what is wrong and what needs to be done.

    Thank you. The living room floor 12 x 14 ft has done this in just the past week.. Its been really hot here in the 100's the past 2 weeks and the whole living room floor is looking like that just in the past week. i got someone to come look but they cant look till sept 6th. Im going to take pictures today. I wonder if it safe to be living in the house with it like this? Im scared about it. So far the kitchen and other bedroom next to the living room arent doing it.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: floor joists

    Is your air handler in a closet? Could be leaking condensation water. Sink,dishwasher,tub, shower leak lately?
    For looking at 1 item I can't see a HI charging $300.00 unless his name is Jerry

    Mike Schulz License 393
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: floor joists

    Quote Originally Posted by kim watson View Post
    Thank you. The living room floor 12 x 14 ft has done this in just the past week.. Its been really hot here in the 100's the past 2 weeks and the whole living room floor is looking like that just in the past week. i got someone to come look but they cant look till sept 6th. Im going to take pictures today. I wonder if it safe to be living in the house with it like this? Im scared about it. So far the kitchen and other bedroom next to the living room arent doing it.

    Based on what you have told us it does sounds like you have a leak. If it is a leak you should not wait 2 weeks for someone to look at it.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: floor joists

    Quote Originally Posted by chris mcintyre View Post
    Based on what you have told us it does sounds like you have a leak. If it is a leak you should not wait 2 weeks for someone to look at it.


    how do i post a picture?


  24. #24
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    Default Re: floor joists

    Quote Originally Posted by kim watson View Post
    how do i post a picture?
    After you click on the "post reply" button, a new window appears. The upper section is where you have been typing your replys. If you scroll down the screen you will find a selection that has "attach photos" and "upload photos". If the photos are large, they will be rejected. Make sure that your camera is set to VGA, 640x480 or shrink them so they fit.

    Hope this helps.

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  25. #25
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    Default Re: floor joists

    Yau'll were right. Had a plumber come out today. The problem was the ac is in the attic and the pan that holds the condensation had a rust spot at the fitting to the condensate drain line. It was draining fine to the outside of the house but was also leaking into a closet that was covered up with sheetrock. The heater or something was in the closet at one time. I have a fan down in the crawlspace to get some air going under the floors. Just wondering if I should cut a whole in the closet floor now where it was draining to dry some of it up. Are the boards gonna swell up more as it starts to dry out? or how long does it take to dry out the wood enough to start fixing it. Looks like im gonna be replacing the bedroom floor and some of the living room floor. I called a flooring company and they said since there is stick down tile on some of the floor we need to pull all of it up just to do a moisture reading in the house. Does that sound right?


  26. #26
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    Default Re: floor joists

    Quote Originally Posted by kim watson View Post
    Yau'll were right. Had a plumber come out today. The problem was the ac is in the attic and the pan that holds the condensation had a rust spot at the fitting to the condensate drain line. It was draining fine to the outside of the house but was also leaking into a closet that was covered up with sheetrock. The heater or something was in the closet at one time. I have a fan down in the crawlspace to get some air going under the floors. Just wondering if I should cut a whole in the closet floor now where it was draining to dry some of it up. Are the boards gonna swell up more as it starts to dry out? or how long does it take to dry out the wood enough to start fixing it. Looks like im gonna be replacing the bedroom floor and some of the living room floor. I called a flooring company and they said since there is stick down tile on some of the floor we need to pull all of it up just to do a moisture reading in the house. Does that sound right?
    Contact your homeowners insurance company and file a claim. This should be covered under your insurance.

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

  27. #27
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    Default Re: floor joists

    I wouldn't rush the floor job until I knew everything was dry. Yes, more flooring can twist, shrink, etc. while drying. Maybe you should consider a laminate floating floor for easy removal if need be, or when you first see signs of something start looking for source sooner.
    Be sure to pull the insulation out of the floor in the crawl space. It can trap water and cause mold. This will also help the drying process. Since the above flooring that was impacted will need replaced it should be removed now to also help the drying process.

    Last edited by Mike Schulz; 08-25-2010 at 10:07 AM. Reason: added more
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