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Question DetailsAsked on 6/3/2015

I would like to get my floor reinforced for a heavy piece of furniture. What kind of contractor should I look for?

My home was built in 1953 and has a 2ft crawlspace. I'm going to be placing a heavy piece of furniture in a location where it will run parallel to the floor joists, so I would like to have this portion of the floor reinforced with an extra support. I've contacted some foundation repair companies, but their minimum service cost is restrictive. Is there another type of contractor I should be looking into for an issue like this?

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Voted Best Answer

Handyman or Carpenter-framing should be able to do this, you can also DIY - using precast concrete piers with cast-in post bracket (dug in about 1/3 depth into the ground) like this -

4x4 (should be treated wood for rot and insect protection) post up to 2 metal brackets tying into the floor joist - if adjustable type block bracket is used that can be used to preload the pier under the joist so it is tight, then use strap Simpson or similar metal plates to tie the post to the joists.

Cheap and dirty way would be to just dig a 6 inch hole in the ground at the right place, nail an 8 inch square scrap of 3/4 exterior plywood (for greater bearing area) on the end of a treated (green treated, NOT brown Wolmanized junk) 4x4 post that is cut just slightly longer than the needed height, and hammer it upright into place under the joist and toenail it to the joists. Not the most professional but would probably do fine.

Should be installed so the posts have to be hammered into place tightly - or shimmed - so they are carrying load before the item is put in place so it does not sag under initial load.

Assuming this is a heavy highboy or such, I would use two posts located about at third points of where the item will be. Probably about $100 to maybe $150 for the materials, and depending on difficulty of working under there probably a few hours labor at $50-75/hour typically - about $50 materials and ann hour or a bit for the quick and dirty way. Probably actually less than 2 hours work the right way, but I am allowing an hour to come measure, then go get materials, and come back.

If crawlspace has vinyl vapor barrier or rough poured concrete barrier on the ground, might need to use a bit of levelling sand and scrap of plywood as a base over plastic, or some grout for levelling under the pier over concrete.

If item will be located midway between two floor joists, he could instead put in doubled 2x6 or 2x8 pieces crosswise to the joists (like fire blocking) about at where the third points will be for the furniture, and put the support posts under those cross-pieces. However, if you have true 3/4" plywood (as opposed to particle board or OSB junk) as your underlayment, it should bridge fine between the joists to spread the load for any furniture I can imagine - using the cross blocking justs makes it possible to use 2 rather than 4 posts in that case.

Another DIY method that avoid contractor but might not save a lot of $ would be to get screw jacks the right length like the ones made by Ellis ( available at most home improvement box stores and use them, dug in a few inches and putting a scrap of 2x8 or 3/4 plywood under it to improve bearing capacity. Be sure to fasten to the joists so they cannot come loose with seasonal shrinkage of the wood and fall over - most have screw/nail holes in the top plate to fasten them. Probably a 1/2-3/4 hour job to actually install two.

NOTE - if this item is supported on feet rather than full floor contact, then instead of at third-points put the support piers under the feet areas.

You did not say HOW heavy the item is - certainly if a fully loaded 8 foot wide and high bookcase that might weigh close to a ton would be a good idea to reinforce underneath, but even that old a floor was probably designed for 20 psf floor loading, so if your item is say 16-18 inches deep (so 2 joists are carrying the load) and 8 feet long, that would mean designed to carry up to about 200-300 pounds or so over that area you probably do not have to worry about reinforcing under it.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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