Case Study (Floor Sag)
Updated: Jan 10, 2021
I was consulted to review a sag in the first and second floor of a single family house in the south hills area of Pittsburgh.
The first level floor (wood floor) has a noticeable sag (1” over 4ft using a bubble level). Upon further review and evaluation, it appeared that previous home owner cut, notched and modified a load bearing beam (likely unknowingly of the impact); unfortunately these modifications caused the sag and compromised the structural integrity of the house.
What to do next:
Replacing the compromised beam with a new structurally sound beam (LVL) will be necessary to restore the structural integrity of the support.
An LVL beam calculated based on its span as well as the tributary load can be specified as a replacement beam, a steel beam could be an option if it isn't logistically challenging.
The LVL needs to be installed leveled which may require raising the floor joists accordingly, a licensed and competent contractor should be able to handle that easily.
This deficiency is rather common nowadays in some of the flipped houses due to either improperly removed load bearing walls, or doing so without consulting with a professional.
Please contact us to get assistance determining if the wall you want to remove is a load bearing wall or not and also to get a proper sizing for your LVL beam.
It is worthy to note that most jurisdictions require a permit for any structural modification (such as load bearing wall removal).
Picture below shows the improperly modified beam:
Written by Firas Abdelahad, P.E.
Firas Abdelahad has been practicing structural engineering over 15 years working with teams of consultants, architects, investors, homeowners, contractors and subcontractors to come up with solutions for challenges may arise during design and construction phases.