Structural Sag Caused by Improper Remodel

Level Engineering was asked to investigate a two-inch sag in the ceiling by a homeowner. 

What’s the story behind this sag?

The homeowner had once had a wall removed between the kitchen and the living room during a remodel. Their contractor explained that the wall wasn’t load-bearing and that the new beam would only be holding up ceiling framing. Since the contractor believed the wall wasn’t load-bearing, they chose to forgo an inspection from a structural engineer.

The homeowners went ahead with the remodel and removed the wall, placing a small beam to pick up only the ceiling framing. Over time, with multiple, heavy snow loads on the small beam, the ceiling began to sag.

When our engineer arrived, she observed that this beam was originally a load-bearing wall. Now there was a two-inch deflection, with no snow load.

Our engineer surveyed above the house she found that they had built a new roof on top of the original 1982 double-wide modular roof. This means that the load of this new roof combined with that of the old roof and any snow load was resting on the undersized-beam above the kitchen, installed during the remodel.

Our engineer then inspected the crawl space to determine the modified load-path; she found that there was no foundation supporting the beam. The posts at each end of the beam were resting on the modular floor framing, which consisted of cantilever floor joists. This is an unstable support system.

In the end, the cost of this repair is more than $12,000. This repair will include a 25-foot steel beam, columns, and a new foundation system to support the beam.

Level Engineering provides common-sense solutions for a myriad of residential structural changes, challenges, and failures. We can offer you peace of mind by evaluating your existing building’s state of repair.

For more information about Level Engineering’s full range of civil and structural engineering services, give us a call at 720-408-0119.

Our experienced team will work with you to determine the best solutions for you and your home. Contact us today!

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