My floors pitch in the same spots as they do on the 1st and 2nd floors.

My home was built in the 1890's. I have some soft spots in the basement joists and added 4x4" posts to each side of the main support beam in the basement. I jacked up the floors and realized I have a load bearing wall, or at least I think I do, that doesn't line up with a joist or any support beam in the basement.

The wall I think that is load bearing, has a heating duct that goes up it, would that still be considered a load bearing wall? I am fairly new to handy man work.

The image attached depicts my main support beam (orange) and joists in the basement (pink) (stone foundation), the green lines are the 4x4" posts we put in place. The blue line is where the load bearing wall is. enter image description here

The joists are 2x7", 13' long on each side of the main beam, about 19" apart - there is a lot of piping, wires, so sistering would be a huge project.

I noticed a couple weeks after we put the posts up (green lines), the floor near the blue line pitches more than before, the same in the 2nd floor and there is a small hairline crack running along the edge of the ceiling, about an inch from where the ceiling meets the wall, this runs perpedicular to the load bearing wall, as seen in the sketch below. The blue line is the load bearing wall, which leads into the laundry room, and the black line is the outline of the living room (where I see the hairline crack in the ceiling), around the corner is a hallway that leads to the stairs to go upstairs. The orange line is the hairline crack in the ceiling, I believe it is plaster.

enter image description here

I am going to try and slowly jack up the load bearing wall with more posts, its not pretty, but I don't mind a series of posts in the basement at this point for peace of mind. I had a company quote me for $9300, that would involve what I did with the two posts (green) I ran parallel to the main support beam and installing a steel beam in the 1st floor ceiling to support the joists above it. I thought I'd try to see if I could it myself, I know when to defer to a professional, if I don't see much improvement after I jack my load bearing up with support, then I will bring in a professional.

What are some things you would recommend at this point, do I not try and jack up the load bearing wall slowly, etc...?

  • This is a good question, but I wonder what the original builder was thinking by putting wall that bears the load of the second story in between two basement joists that are spanned too long anyway? Commented Feb 7, 2013 at 15:50
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    Is the second floor an addition? Not that it's important, I'm just curious.
    – Tester101
    Commented Feb 7, 2013 at 16:10
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    A century ago building your own house wasn't uncommon. Lots of people who only vaguely knew how to do anything beyond swinging a hammer kludged their homes together. the result was instead of the previous owner idioting up minor repairs or a renovation the entire structure is riddled with WTFs. Commented Feb 7, 2013 at 19:16
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    You haven't presented evidence convincing me it's a bearing wall. The cracks and deflections may be due to the wall being attached to adjoining structures. A bearing wall supports the spans of floor and ceiling joists and roof rafters in any combination. In modern structures, it may resist lateral loads without supporting any vertical loads at all. It may also contain embedded columns supporting beams. Investigate what it's supporting before worrying about how to support it.
    – bcworkz
    Commented Feb 7, 2013 at 21:29
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    I am also not convinced that you have a load bearing wall there. It is in a strange place and only spans half of the house. Very unlikely a wall that short and perpendicular to the center support beam that is not on an outside wall is load bearing. Commented Feb 7, 2013 at 23:02

2 Answers 2


If it is indeed a load-bearing wall, you either build another wall or place a beam and posts under the wall.

The only problem is you need to add footings under any load-bearing posts or walls you put in.

Good luck.


I suspect this wall is not load-bearing because it is parallel to the joists. The joists above probably don't rest on a wall section that doesn't rest on the joists below (because the joists in a house of that age are attached to studs that likely run the full height of the building), so the wall section you're asking about probably doesn't have much weight resting on it. The cracks may be caused by wood shrinking and sagging as it aged. The ceiling crack is probably a result of that sag, because the underside of each level becomes slightly longer than the top side when that happens.

That said, Dan Neely is correct about older homes often being kludged together, so it would be best to treat the wall as if it is load-bearing until you are absolutely sure it is not. Added support shouldn't hurt anything and it might help, so give it a shot.

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