Open Door

Open Door
Indianapolis, Indiana

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Bungalow Structural Resolution - Part 1

From almost the first time we were in the Bungalow it was apparent that there was some sort of issue with the floors/structure. I assumed that it was just that the house had settle over the years it had been there, but then we found out that it has originally been built on the Northwest corner of English Avenue and Emerson Avenue. In the 1950’s it was then moved to its current location, so some sloping of the floors would not be unexpected. But, the floors also seemed to “bounce” a bit when I walked through the living and dining rooms, so I determined that the wisest course would be to ask the experts (our new contractor, Jacoby) what they thought of it.

So, one day we headed down to the basement to take a look. We hadn’t been down there for five minutes when Greg said that I had been right to worry and we had a fairly significant problem. If this house were being built today, the black lines in the following picture would be actual beams. As it is they are just 2x6’s laid flat and butted end to end. It’s nowhere near enough support for this type of house, unless there are concrete walls underneath them. When the house was moved there were a few jack posts put up, but that was all.
 If you could look through the first floor of the house, this is what you would see. The black lines are the "beams" and the green lines are the floor joists supported by the "beams." It's not to scale, but a close approximation.

Now, you might wonder why we never noticed this issue ourselves. The reason for this was that when we purchased the house there were walls that ran directly under the 2x6’s. They were not supporting anything, but simply obscuring the issue. 

It’s not often I’m thankful for things like broken ankles, but in this instance I am very thankful that Eric did break his. It caused us to not be able to begin work on the Bungalow as rapidly as we otherwise would have and with that and a couple of more recently broken windows there ended up being mold issues in those walls. Because of this Dad and Tristan (a friend’s son) had to remove those walls and by doing so they exposed the problem. A very good thing for us, as I am going to begin holding the family Thanksgiving and we have between forty and sixty people show up for those!

We talked with Greg at Jacoby about what they would do to make the fix and the ideal solution is to replace the 2x6’s with the proper size and strength of beam. As can be seen in the pictures below, the thing that complicates this is that the main beam runs through the mechanicals, so they would need to be temporarily moved to complete this. And while Jacoby gave us an extremely reasonable price for this work, we made the decision to use an alternate method and do the work ourselves. The main reason for this is that all three of our houses have  work that needs to be completed ASAP and with the additional medical bills I have incurred we need to stretch our available funds much further than we had planned to.

These pictures were taken from approximately the middle of the basement, looking first towards the front wall, then the back. In the top picture, you can see that the "beam" (circled in red) is fairly accessible, and in the second, you can see that the "beam" runs directly over the furnaces. It stops just behind the stand pipe where it meets the other "beam" that runs crosswise.

The other complication brought on by this project was that Greg recommended that we halt all work on the house until this was addressed. We agreed that this was the more cautious approach and waited for Eric to do the appropriate calculations before we began. After Eric looked things over and created a plan, we headed to the hardware store Saturday morning to purchase the needed materials…

As it is getting very late, and this is getting very long, we will leave off here for tonight and post more tomorrow.


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