How to Fix a Sagging Joist

Filed in Home Improvement by on April 15, 2007 2 Comments

I don’t think I mentioned this before…I know I took some pictures though. A few weekends ago, I added a bunch of lights in the basement. I rewired the whole thing for a total of 8 high efficiency 100w (equivalent) fluorescent light bulbs. They only use 23 watts each. Now, the whole basement glows like a Christmas tree when I turn the lights on. Nice! I like being able to see the dark corners.

Girder Beam - Temporary Lally Columns

Anyway, here is the reason for this post. The other day, I was upstairs walking in the dining room. We recently added a little shelf/table thing against the wall. When I walked near it, it shook. I started softly bouncing on the floor and the shelve shook more. Also, there was a slight dip in the floor in that area. I could tell that I had a slightly bouncy joist. “Hmmmm”, I thought. “How the heck am I going to fix this bouncy joist…that sags as well?” I knew the answer, but as usual, I looked all over online. I found the typical solutions; add cross braces, sister the joist with a new one or add a post. Well, let me just tell you that adding cross braces doesn’t do a damn thing. You should add them when you build the house. They offer a slightly stiffer solution, but did nothing in this case. I added four of them between three joists (really tight) and it may have added a little more bounce. Hard to believe, I know. Also, the sagging was there more than ever. This was two weekends ago. (I am not sure that “sagging” would be the correct term…more like a slightly warped joist.)

Last weekend came and I said to myself, “I am going to tear this sucker apart. I am going to take down all the insulation, cross braces and wires and sister up two joists. That will stiffen it up.” Well, I went downstairs, took one look at the joists and had a flashback. I remember sistering up about 20 joists right after we moved in to find that they did absolutely nothing. Perhaps if you have a really old cabin in the woods or something, sistering joists would help, but not in this case. I wanted a hard, stiff floor that I could jump on. I like to party.

This weekend came and I was on a mission. Yesterday, I used an extra piece of 6×6 that I had laying around and my 20 ton bottle jack. I jacked up the one joist that I thought was the culprit. I put some good pressure on it and walked upstairs. Well, low and behold, I could walk on that area of the room and go nuts. Stiff as a board…to say. I knew that a 6×6 would look just look like some wacko fix down in the basement. I am really trying to keep this place from looking like it was pieced together. Having that happen is way too easy when you are trying to run a clean ship like this. I needed an excuse to put a board there. I called Tim next door over and we both agreed that a two foot wide wall wouldn’t be a bad idea. I could hang stuff off of it and all that.

Wall Joists in Basement

So here is what I did. Sorry for the dust spots in the photo…I just swept up the floor. While the joist was jacked up, I cut a 2×6 nice and tight. I hammered that sucka right in there. Then, I put the rest of the puzzle together. I let the jack down and there we have it…perfect. I tested it out upstairs and everything feels great. Now, all I need to do is to get some 3/4″ plywood to box it in and I am good. I’ll get a few hooks or something and hang a few things off of it to make it look like I put it there on purpose.

I think that was pretty damn creative. The moral of the story is, when you have a bouncy floor or a sagging joist, you gotta use a post. Don’t try to get around it, just do it. I’m outta here.

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Comments (2)

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  1. John DuBois says:

    Seen the same problem with sag on a exterior porch roof.
    thinking of adding perlines or braces inbetween the roofing joists-raftors! the joists are straight from the end walls where supported. its about a 10 foot span–width- wise!
    thinking–not sure–? putting in perlines about every 2 1/2 foot instead of just in middle to slowly bring out the sag in the middle! probably in this case–going to have to replace the sagging members anyway–but just a thought that might work???
    possibly going to jack up the members slightly and then experiment to see if every 2 1/2 foot from end walls actually brings out the sag in middle! adding post bracing in middle in this case–just would not look good! also going to have to replace facial which is sagged pitifully in middle.yes–middle braces-perlines should have been thought of when the porches were initially built on the 10 foot span–but unfortunately not!

  2. Sharon says:

    Excellent the way you fix things, keep these posts coming! Any chance you’re doing something on showers as mine is broken?

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