View Full Version : I have to brace the floor under the house!
05/18/2006, 08:19 AM
ok so several people have told me that with a 240g glass tank and it sitting over a crawl space I'm going to have to brace the floor.
So I thought I'd put some pictures up of the crawl space and ask for people's opinions on how to brace it AND solicit some volunteers to help me do it.
The tank will sit in the corner of the house just above the entrance to the crawl space, so at least we wouldn't have to go very far to add supports. That's one good thing. It looks like they have supported the house with some kind of pilon (sp?) and then shims. My friend says we need to do the same thing, which will involve jacking up the house a little bit. This seems insane to me but I am pretty sure that's what I'm going to have to do. Can you guys give me some opinions about it?
Oh and the space is only about 2-3 feet at the most and under that black plastic is some gravel.
Here's the pictures:
When I had to have my parlor jacked (a fool installed a concrete shower slab on the second floor and cut the stringer beam, and this fool bought the house not knowing this) the chap I hired brought in truck jacks, put three of them under beams (with 4x4s to bear the load) and very slowly cranked them up to get the ceiling bowed in the opposite direction. In your case, all you have to get is enough height to tap a short support in atop a footing. Getting the footing set, then jacking, you should be able to get it in: I'd use the heaviest treated timber you can find with no knotholes, maybe wrap it about with some binder like strapping if you want to be double-sure it doesn't crack.
I'm no architect or engineer, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
Most houses are built to withstand the weight of a waterbed. With a crawlspace though, that may be a little different. Is the tank sitting perpendicular or parallel to the crossbeams?
Is that piping in the way?
Me personally, I can't see going through the effort to jack the house and do all that. I would measure the height to the support beams, cut a couple of 2x4s as the top braces and then wedge 4x4s underneath all around the outside area of the tank wher the weight will be.
But it's not my house, so you may want to see what everyone else has to say as well.
05/18/2006, 11:31 AM
Hi guys, thanks for the responses. I think that Brent is pretty set on having to support the floor (if for nothing else except his own mental well-being). He is also fairly set upon the idea of jacking up the house a little bit just to make sure the fit is tight.
Fred, the piping isn't really in the way because it's not going to be continuous supports, but more like several carefully placed ones. The length of tank runs parallel to the beams underneath, so that's not as good as if it were perpendicular I know.
I can't believe none of these engineer guys want to weigh in about it! hah hah.
05/18/2006, 12:06 PM
A typical loaded bookcase-style entertainment center can run as big and heavy as a 240G tank, so I think we worry a little much at times. If I were you, though, I would get two 4x4s to run the length of the tank and four jackstands to support them (like the kind they install when there is termite or structural damage). You could use cinder blocks or paving stones on the dirt below to keep them from sinking. This is basically what is reenforcing the house I bought last year after termites got in the main beam.
Keep in mind that my brand of engieering is electrical. I could install a receptacle or add a light to your structural supports and feel good about it. Structural design is not my profession. :)
P.S. Of course I say all this, but I have yet to brace my 75G tank in my dining room -- and it rocks forward slightly when you walk by it.
05/18/2006, 12:58 PM
We put supports under the 95 before we set it up. First look to see if there are any cracks in the walls. This means that the house has settled after the foundation was poured. Second get a long level and simply see if everything is level. Third the tank should be perpendicular but since you cannot do that ignore. Go to home depot and either buy 4x4's or 2 2x12s and in the construction section you can buy floor jack posts (this is not the correct name) but they are near the cement and rebar. They come in a box and are $20 each. There are 2 metal posts and one sides in the other to adjust for height. They have holes to slide a bolt through and a bolt and plate on top. With a wrench you can tighten it until everything is snug. Since joists are usually 16" on center you can cut the wood long enough to include 3 joists. You can also go to the garden section and buy some rectangular concrete blocks to put the posts on.
Figure out where the tank is going to go and cut a line in the black plastic and remove the gravel until the hit bare earth. Level the ground with a small shovel or even a screw driver. Place the posts on top and put the wood above and tighten securely. When you are finished check to make sure the wood is level and won't slide. Put the plastic back down for a mositure barrier (that is why you cut a slit rather than a hole).
The jacks are rated at 12000 - 20000 lbs each. You really are not jacking anything up rather preventing shifting. Do this before the tank has water! Search here, I have seen threads about this before.
05/18/2006, 01:08 PM
Thanks!! I don't understand half of what you guys said, but I will talk to you about it at the meeting (for those of you that will be there at least) and when Brent gets back on sunday I will get him to check this out!
05/18/2006, 02:08 PM
Don't worry the only reason I know is I have done it myself twice. The first after I laid new tile in the bathroom and it was uneven. The floor had sank half an inch. You can only tell if you are barefoot but it still makes me mad. This is acutally a very easy DIY home project to do. It will only take an hour or so and only 1 trip to HD or Lowe's. The number of trips is the actual determining factor of DIY's not time or cost.
05/18/2006, 02:19 PM
hah hah. That's funny Mike.
Scott I can't believe that your tank rocks and you haven't done something about it!
05/18/2006, 03:41 PM
I had to brace under mine before setting up a 55 in addition to the 40 that was already set up... With just the 40H, getting off the couch meant the tank would sway about 1.5" front to back.
Jacks are probably the easiest way. I went the brute force and ignorance way, which seems to prevail in my way of thinking (though less and less as I work smarter). I dragged cinder blocks under the house. It is set up much the way yours is with black plastic and a layer of gravel. I had to flatten the gravel out the best I could to secure a level block. I ran about 18 feet of bracing, so it was quite a job. I looked like gollum moving around on all fours with cinder blocks in hand. Essentially with an unloaded floor (no tank yet), I set up the cinderblocks about 2 foot from the main joists. I lucked out and one of the main floor joist sections ruins along the wall I wanted to brace. Once I had them level(ish), I used whatever sized wood I could cram between the floor joists and the cinderblocks. This meant wedging smaller shim type pieces in all over to get the support fairly consistent across the 18' span. Be sure to use plastic sheeting between the wood and your floor joists (I didn't...). You'll notice that the supports now likely have plastic between them and the wood. This is to help keep termites off the wood (though looking at your pics, it looks like there is no plastic sheeting there, either). Run the wood/shims perpendicular to the joists and you should be in good shape. It's not fun work, though... HTH.
05/18/2006, 04:11 PM
ok pics are nice but i need to see it first hand and then i will weigh in on this mel
You'll need to check floor levelness and not over-jack the floor as it could result in the floor going out-of-level. Place near a load-bearing wall if possible, but it sounds like you've got that covered. You'll want to consult with a mechanical or civil engineer, and I don't think we have any in the club.
05/18/2006, 06:37 PM
I'm currently working for a handyman (earning money before I move next week) and he charges pretty reasonable rates. We are currently working on supporting & raising a house that has sunk a little in the middle. There's a lot more to it than I would have guessed at first. If you would like his contact info I could PM it to you. Otherwise, I can try telling you what I've learned in the process.
05/19/2006, 03:43 PM
I will talk to you guys about this at the meeting, and Larry...maybe one day we could go over to the house and have a look?
Maybe next weekend sometime? I get back from out of town late friday night, so saturday or sunday would be ideal! Let me know if you can come by.
05/19/2006, 09:07 PM
anytime you need me to look i can do just let me know
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