Girder Question


I had a house today where the main girder looked like it had all of these pin holes in it for several feet. I’m curious if anyone knows if this is a sign of some sort of insect damage. See pic.

Also, in the second photo, it looks like someone attempted to fix a sagging floor. The house was build in 1948 and even with the shoddy attempt to fix the sag in the floor above, the floor is still sloping quite a bit above. Any ideas on the best way to describe this. The third photo is a floor joist near by that has a chunck of material missing which may have lead to the sagging floor.


Steve :slight_smile:

Oddly enough, that chewed-up joist might still be OK, because all that’s needed near the support is enough material to resist shear, and that’s usually considerably less than what’s needed in the center of the span to resist moment. This is not true, however, for heavily-loaded short-span members. I would like to see the squirrel that chowed down on that joist!! =) Or maybe I wouldn’t…

I have never seen the pitting on the girder that you picture, so I have no comment about that.

Just point out that the floors sag. You should note that it is not unusual to have unlevel or bouncy floors in an older home and additional supports are common. But the pier is unorthodox; the holes are turned the wrong way and there is no footing. The joists were probably 24 inches apart, which was typical for that period and earlier (but not a defect in itself). Defer it to a foundation specialist or general contractor because the floor sags and because of the blocks. I doubt the floor joist has any detrimental effect.

Regarding the holes, they are probably beetle holes. Say there is evidence of previous damage by wood destroying organisms and make a general recommendation that they have the home evaluated by a pest control company prior to the close of escrow and leave it at that.

The joist isn’t “chewed up”. You can see bark there. The board was cut from where the tree got suddenly smaller and they didn’t cut off the bad end of the board.

Thanks Richard, …Here is a better picture of the Harry Homeowner floor jacking effort…

Also, along the outside wall of this old house that was moved to this location, there were only piers put up about every 6 to 8 feet along the length of the house. As you can see, I dug down a little around one of the piers and it looks like the top two courses are motored together, however, from there I don’t believe there is any footing. Looks like those top two courses are sitting directly on top of a third block that’s buried in the ground. Anyone ever seen this before?



Sounds like you’re describing a pier and curtain wall foundation. The piers do all the work and they sound like they are spaced correctly. The brick wall in between the piers only serve to keep the possums out. They do nothing structurally.

I don’t have enough info to comment about the latest photo you posted. You already have enough, with the block piers, to defer the foundation to a specialist. Move on is my recommendation.

Thanks Joe for the excellent advice. The outside curtain surrounding the perimeter of the equally spaced piers appears to be that cement backer board I’ve seen used behind tile jobs.



Now that certainly is an odd curtain wall. All you can do is point it out as unorthodox and say you can’t endorse it. If there is a concern with it collapsing, then include it in your referral to a foundation specialist.