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1827 Home - Joist To Beam Separation


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I had the privilege to inspect an 1827 home this week and have a question regarding an observation. The joist to beam joints were exposed in one of the rooms and it appears that these joints have separated. How tight were these joints typically designed to be? How tight should they remain. Is this typical separation after 180 years? The stone foundation had typical settlement issues with step cracks in the brick walls transmitting up across the walls, but repairs had been made (not all that professional), and the building seemed square and plumb. I've rarely observed tight joints, but I'm curious regarding what is typical, what should be called out, and how should I call it out? Any shared wisdom or helpful web links would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

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It wasn't built loose and things have moved since then. The home is likely an Adam/Federalist style with the joists running perpendicular to the roof drip edge. Roof settlement has splayed the exterior walls and pulled the ceiling joists with them.

I be sure to tell the client that the problem should at least be stopped at its current state and joist hangers installed. The ceiling framing was never intended to be exposed. The house isn't rustic; it has really nice millwork moldings (that look later than 1827 to me). Aesthetically and historically I'd also suggest the ceiling be plastered or drywalled and skimcoated.

At least the moldings are still painted.

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Hey Chad, you fellow balding skeptic.

How do you know it wasn't built loose? I hope people 100 years from now don't think that about today's structures.

Just looking at the layout, I am guessing that the drip edges are perpendicular to the direction that would cause splaying of these particular walls. (Need more information)

BTW, wouldn't you like to have a little global warming? My Easter eggs were all frozen and covered with snow.

Chad writes:

It wasn't built loose and things have moved since then. The home is likely an Adam/Federalist style with the joists running perpendicular to the roof drip edge. Roof settlement has splayed the exterior walls and pulled the ceiling joists with them.

I be sure to tell the client that the problem should at least be stopped at its current state and joist hangers installed. The ceiling framing was never intended to be exposed. The house isn't rustic; it has really nice millwork moldings (that look later than 1827 to me). Aesthetically and historically I'd also suggest the ceiling be plastered or drywalled and skimcoated.

At least the moldings are still painted.

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Chad - I was thinking the less academic architectural style - Vernacular. It was pretty eclectic pulling characteristics from many styles.

(Architect was Samuel Lewis) You pegged the run of the joists. Maybe those multiple layers of wood and composition shingles (180 years worth) contributed to the spread. Good call on the joists hangers and finishing...what I was planning. I'm over 14 hours into my report writing now...whew...I may pass the next one of these on to you......I wouldn't have taken this one....but for the stocked trout pond.

Thanks everyone.

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How do you know it wasn't built loose? I hope people 100 years from now don't think that about today's structures.

Time was a whole different thing back then. They hand tinned nails prior to nailing terne coated steel roofs. The same guy that fitted the mortise to the tenon didn't do a good job on width and then screw up every ceiling joist tenon length.

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Just looking at the layout, I am guessing that the drip edges are perpendicular to the direction that would cause splaying of these particular walls. (Need more information)

The house is egg shaped. The center of the wall spans are wider from front to back than the gable ends. As the roof continues its quest to become one with the earth the walls yield to its desire.

BTW, wouldn't you like to have a little global warming? My Easter eggs were all frozen and covered with snow.

Rochester, NY welcomes global warming.

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Originally posted by Chad Fabry

Time was a whole different thing back then. They hand tinned nails prior to nailing terne coated steel roofs. The same guy that fitted the mortise to the tenon didn't do a good job on width and then screw up every ceiling joist tenon length.

Absolutely! Didn't you see my cheek being poked out by my tongue?

The house is ovular. The center of the wall spans are wider from front to back than the gable ends. As the roof continues its quest to become one with the earth the walls yield to its desire.

That, I didn't know. I've looked at many old homes in Buffalo, but haven't seen anything like that yet. Thanks for the info.

Rochester, NY welcomes global warming.

Buffalo too. We might have the best climate around in a couple of hundred years. Can't wait.

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