I’d noticed a sag in the floor of the kitchen, over toward the north side and the stairs going down to the basement. It’s not unusual in a ninety-three-year-old house, by any means. Time takes its toll, especially in a house where the framing members are installed before being fully seasoned or are too small for their spacing: 2×6’s instead of 2×8’s, etc.
However, in this house, the floor joists are of proper size and were most likely properly seasoned before their installation. “There has to be some other cause,” I thought. While tiling the floor of the basement laundry room last week, I found it.
The builders had installed five crucial members to support the stair casing that rises from the basement floor all the way to the attic. In other words, three flights of stairs and the walls that connect to them all rest and rely upon those five supports. The north edge of the kitchen floor, the east and south walls of the first floor bathroom, the east wall of the second floor bath, the west wall of the dining and bedrooms and the attic entrance: all of those are anchored by five vertical supports in the basement.
The problem is that two of those five critical supports had been cut out.
You cannot take away the foundation of a structure and expect it to hold secure. Someone had decided that those posts at the bottom of the steps were in the way or they just didn’t like how they looked. So, they got rid of them, without providing some compensating strengthening of the beams that now carry the same weight but without the support.
I can jack the beams back up, I think, and put in new posts to hold them in place. There will be some cracking and buckling and some plaster patching to do, but I should be able to get the floor back in the neighborhood of level. Wish I could do something about the effects that our culture’s ridicule of purity, decency and holiness is having.