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Still settling?

Posted by sapphire69 (My Page) on
Tue, May 29, 12 at 12:12

I am having a problem with some of my interior doors. If I don't keep them closed, they will reach a point where they won't catch the latch to close. I've been told it's because the house is settling but after more than a hundred years, shouldn't it be settled by now? Is there a way that I can tell if that's really the problem?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Still settling?

If that house has not settled after a hundred years, you must be sitting on a fault line or something.


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RE: Still settling?

I'm not sure I understand the problem. If you keep the doors closed, then they open and close fine? If you keep them open, they won't catch the latch to close?


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RE: Still settling?

Old houses sometimes have a bit more spring in the floors. Many old houses were understructured by todays standards. My house is 26 feet wide and is a single room wide on the third floor. During renovation downstairs we moved all the books into one bedroom on fourth floor and lined them up along the wall which happened to cross the span about halfway across.

The door in that bedroom stopped latching after few months of being left open most of the time, and the wall (1960ish) separated from the ceiling (1840) above it (the tape pulled away). The floor sagged because of all the books. A LOT of heavy books, being piled in one spot. When we moved them you could actually hear the sag "un-sagging". But the door needed to be rehung.


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RE: Still settling?

That is exactly the problem, palimpsest! It also explains why everything jiggles (not just on me!) when I walk through the kitchen, the library and the dining room because those rooms have the heavy furniture in them. Should I be concerned about that long term? Is there anything that can be done to fix it?


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RE: Still settling?

That is exactly the problem, palimpsest! It also explains why everything jiggles (not just on me!) when I walk through the kitchen, the library and the dining room because those rooms have the heavy furniture in them. Should I be concerned about that long term? Is there anything that can be done to fix it?


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RE: Still settling?

That is exactly the problem, palimpsest! It also explains why everything jiggles (not just on me!) when I walk through the kitchen, the library and the dining room because those rooms have the heavy furniture in them. Should I be concerned about that long term? Is there anything that can be done to fix it?


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RE: Still settling?

Sorry about the triple post. The 'Back' button is not for navigating here.


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RE: Still settling?

You can address the flexibility of the floor by sistering the joists with thicker lumber and installing blocking in between those joists. But, you will want to get an engineer's report about the whole home's structure first. It may be missing some structural element that a PO removed (like a wall or post) that is contributing to the problem.


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RE: Still settling?

Thanks a lot, hollysprings! I'm going to have someone come over and take a look. I go down there and I get so turned around I can't remember which room I'm under! But I will go down there tonight to see if there is anything obvious that I can see.


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RE: Still settling?

In many cases you do not need to sister with the same height of joist.

Even a 2x4 on the side of a 2x10 joist may add more then enough stiffness.

Finding how much needs to be added depends on what is there and the span it is used at.

Old wood is also commonly rough cut and not surfaced.

That means 2x lumber joists measure a full 2 inch thickness, making them 33% stronger than a modern 2x that is only 1.5 thick.


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RE: Still settling?

Thanks, brickeyee! I have been told that I have the rough cut wood that measures the full two inches so maybe that will help. I hope to get someone over relatively soon to take a look and let me know what's needed. My concern is that I am causing serious damage that can't be corrected. Not to mention, I would love for it not to sound like sleigh bells every time I walk through the dining room because all of my china starts bouncing up and down!!


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