How to Repair Load-Bearing Posts in Your Home
by TRP Ready Mix on January 8, 2018
Concrete Contractors Offer Tips to Repair These Essential Posts That Support Your Home
If your floor is sagging, don’t ignore it. There is probably something wrong with the load-bearing post underneath, and if left unrepaired, the damage will only get worse leading to more costs. Load-bearing posts and beams that are rotting, undersized, and sinking can lead to further problems throughout your home.
Along with sagging floors, poor support beams and posts can also lead to cracks in your walls, as well as doors that won’t close properly. If you notice any of these symptoms that could be caused by poor support in your home, consider these tips from concrete contractors for help with repairs.
Determine the Damage
For posts in direct contact with the floor, probe with a screwdriver to determine if there’s any rot. If it’s not rotting, then the concrete footing is likely sinking or deteriorating. You will have to saw through the floor to get to the footing.
If the footing is undersized and sinking, you will need to pour a new concrete footing. And if the post is rotting, you will have to cut off the bottom rotten part, or replace the post, and elevate the wood post with plinth blocks so it won’t come in contact with the moisture in your basement floor.
Consult With Professionals
A lot of factors play into the structural integrity of your home, and if you’re like most people, then you’re likely not an expert in structural engineering. For issues related to the structural integrity of your home you should always contact the pros first. Structural engineers, building-code officials, and experienced contractors will be able to determine the exact cause of damage and the appropriate solution depending on various factors in your home.
Raise the Beam
After consulting with the professionals, acquiring any necessary building permits, and hiring help for the project, the load-bearing beam can be lifted to repair the post and/or footing. But before you raise the beam, make sure to release any lines connected to the beams in the basement—i.e. electrical, heating, plumbing, and gas lines—and support them with lumber.
You will need a hydraulic jack and a 4×4 post to raise the beam, along with an adjustable steel shoring post. Use two weight-spreading boards underneath the jack and the shoring post to prevent them from cracking your basement floor.
Once the jack and shoring post are in place, cut the 4×4 to height so it fits snug between the beam and the top of the jack.
Pump the jack slowly, in short strokes, raising it no higher than ½ to 1 inch. Measure from the floor to the beam to determine the beam’s rise. Your helper should raise the shoring post as firmly as possible to the beam to provide extra load support. Once the old post is loosened, remove it and label it for reuse—i.e. top and bottom.
Install Concrete Footings & Plinths
For undersized footing, you will have to excavate, remove the old footing, install steel reinforcing rods, and pour fresh concrete. If you plan to install a plinth block as well, place it on the wet concrete footing once the concrete can support the block’s weight.
After the concrete has cured properly, you can install wood posts cut to the appropriate length and in their original positions under the beam. To prevent moisture between the post and plinth, apply sill sealer or galvanized sheet metal between the two.
When finished, lower the jack very slowly, and install metal straps and T-braces to connect the plinth block, post, and beam together. Lastly, reinstall supporting strapping for all lines you released before raising the beam.
If you don’t have experience with this type of work, you’re better off leaving it to the pros to avoid further damage to your home. Contact concrete contractors for advice and help pouring concrete footings. Repaired posts and appropriate concrete footings will adequately support the load-bearing beams and maintain your home’s structural integrity.