Structural support column cracking

pascal666November 13, 2008

Just had the furnace replaced in my Sears house (circa 1920?). Uncovered the center support column for the house. Cracked from top to bottom, but not continuous. Anything I need to worry about? Pictures at link below. Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: 4 pictures of center support column

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I have the same situation. Luckily, I also have a structural engineer in the family. FWIW....In my case, I was told not to worry. I was also told that there are metal bands that can be wrapped & tightened around the support to strengthen the split.

Of more concern on my supports is the fact that they run into the concrete floor & below that dirt and one has rotted.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 12:56AM
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I would certainly want to address it, let an experienced person take a look, and at the very least get some of those bands around it - better than just assuming it'll be fine!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 6:12AM
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Cracks running with the length are called surface checking; they don't run all the way through from one side to the opposite side. Checking is generally acceptable in vertical timbers; it is expected and doesn't by itself compromise the structural integrity. A check that ran diagonally from edge to edge may raise an eyebrow, as it would suggest that the grain of the timber was unsuitably weak to begin with.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 9:28AM
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Basement supports should be steel. Wood will eventually fail enough in one way or another to allow settling of the house frame.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 8:19AM
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Wood shrinks with age, and it is expected for splits to open, like you see on your support column. This also happens with horizontal beams made of wood. The column is weakened by the split, but it continues to support the floor above because it is still stronger than it needs to be. The split is caused by internal stress generated within the wooden column due to aging, it is not due to the external load on the column. If your floors are sagging, or if they seem to be springy when you walk on them, then you should have the house, including the column in question, inspected by someone who is qualified. If it were my house, I would leave the column as is, but keep an eye on it.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 5:29PM
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