Slight sway in kitchen floor, I Removed a divider wall in a basement and discovered the previous homeowner had removed a staircase and filled in the entryway by adding 2"x 12' joists that are only supported by hangers.

This has Resulted in a distinct dip and sway along the effected area. I have a 9 ft span that needs support in order to level.

Looking for advise on support beam size and if I can support the beam with two steel basement style columns.

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  • Welcome. Unfortunately, it's not going to be possible to answer based on what you've shown us. What exactly is sagging? What will the beam rest on? You can't simply enlarge what's there because it's hanging on two common joists not designed for that load. We also can't see what the beam itself would carry.
    – isherwood
    Apr 2, 2020 at 19:33
  • Be advised that you can't drop columns willy-nilly. They need a proper footing to support them. A slab doesn't qualify. Granted, a good slab on good soil will do the job, but no one is likely to endorse that approach over the internet.
    – isherwood
    Apr 2, 2020 at 19:40
  • Ok - joist on the right go to proper rim support. The sag is where the joist on left meet the “pink” piece of lumber. That pink piece is 9 ‘ in length and has no support under same. The house was built in 1956 and the basement floor is 18 - 20” thick - discovered when we had a basement drainage system installed. Even the installer was stunned by the thickness of the floor slab.
    – Cispook
    Apr 2, 2020 at 19:58
  • Was the divider wall that you removed under that pink piece of wood? Or was it across where the ends of the tongue and groove ceiling boards are visible? Did the sway and sinking on the kitchen above start as you took out the divider wall?
    – Michael Karas
    Apr 2, 2020 at 20:28
  • It was across the two end where you see ceiling has been removed. Sway was slow in coming - actually took a few years for it to be noticeable. The divider walls weren’t supporting anything - I removed the in less then an hour They were decorative to sep laundry from rest of finished area
    – Cispook
    Apr 2, 2020 at 20:55

2 Answers 2


I had a similar situation, only it involved removing some load bearing walls. The wall framed what originally was the furnace (boiler) room in the house. Inside that room was a ~3'x6' entry into the attic. So the wall on two sides of the room provided the support for the ceiling joists, similar to the way your floor joists rested on the old wall for the stairway.

When I removed the furnace room and it's walls, I had to provide a new support beam for the ceiling joists, which are also the floor joists for the attic above, to replace the load carrying walls that were removed.

I cut back the existing joists enough so I could get a doubled up 2x12 glulam up there. Then I fastened the existing, cut back joists to the glulam beam with joist hangars. I also had to provide required posts back in the two wall that the beam rested on, which carries the load down to the foundation. Note that I had to do this two times because I did not want to move the access to the attic, and had to provide the beams on both sides of the attic opening. Here are some pictures:

First shows the existing joists cut back to provide room for the beam.

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Second shows one of the two beam in place and the joists attached to it-

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Here's a view of both beams. Note the double or tripled-up 2x4 posts added in the existing wall to carry the load from the beams.

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And yes, the flowered contact paper is still on the hatch covering to the attic. Wife thinks its whimsical.

I can put together an overall sketch if people think that will help

EDIT 1 - Added sketch of joist layout

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I would probably put some temporary support and start slowly jacking the floor back to level. It took time to sag and moving quickly can really play havoc with the rest of the structure (even roofing shingles if a load bearing wall is above). Once jacked back into place; I would eliminate the pink scrap board and sister all of the Joyce’s.

18” concrete may have been a perimeter or even footings built in I have done this and if the footings were cut? ? ? We cannot recommend a beam with knowledge of both the concrete below and the structure above , load bearing, single floor , 2 story even with jacking and sistering you will probably still need support but it is possible depending on the span that might fix it.

We know a wall was there when the stairs were there if sistering won’t work a wall will. Depending on the span & sistering with your final layout we may have more ideas but a wider view of the area in the basement is needed, information on the kitchen and the walls up there , if a single story probably look at the attic and if the room was widened was the original wall a load bearing wall that was moved with similar issues to come later if not properly supported or reenforced.

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