Sunday, January 09, 2005

Beam says Thankya Big Big!

Took it a little easier today. We still have the remnants of a 10 inch snowfall in Chicago, and as I crushed through slush on the way over, I came up with a plan to tame the possibility of making the dirt airborne again. Snow! So I filled up about 10 buckets worth of the white stuff and pushed it around in the basement.

The snow did a decent job of solidifying the dirt, and I pushed it towards the floor drain. Lots of squeegeing later, I had a black lake forming where the floor drain once was. The drain worked when I tested it earlier with a cup of water, but it drained really slow once the slush melted on top of it. Looks like we might have to get John to rod it out someday.

Afterwards, I unpacked the house jacks and set them up under the main wooden beam between the existing wood posts. The sagging that had been going on for decades had become quite extreme, especially under the kitchen. It almost looked like each length of the wood beam was smiling. So while visions of denistry danced in my head, I ruined each smile by making each jack snug underneath the beam.

We didn't want to bring the beam back to level right away because we figured since it took the house 90 years to settle, it probably wouldn't be too happy if it went back to straight in 9 minutes. Our plan is to let the house adjust and turn the jacks a little bit each week until the floors on the first floor are corrected. Then we begin sistering the joists.

In any case, after the jacks were all in place I took a step back and it already looked like things were better. In fact, upstairs there seemed to be less bounce going on. To help spread the structural loads, we may just need to build a partition wall in the basement under the entire beam once it is level.