Tell us about the worst project you ever attempted, whether or not you finished it.

Here’s mine, so far. I noticed that the second floor of the house was developing a noticeable sag, near the head of the stairway and going into a wall separating 2 upstairs bedrooms. Something had to be done before the living room ceiling collapsed. I can still remember the deep breath I took before sinking the hammer into the ceiling plaster.  Here’s what I found.

CEILING-JOIST1There were 3 successive joists like this.  The span is 10 ft.  One end was over a bearing wall, the other was toenailed into a rim joist running around a chimney. The electric access hole was drilled near the bottom of the joists. (Bad electrician; bad, bad!) The joists were starting to crack below the electric access, and were pulling away from the rim joist as a result. This really was a disaster waiting to happen. Here was my solution.


I slid a new joist over the bearing wall next to each of the old ones. They were then jacked up slowly(!) on the chimney side until they were in place next to the old joists. This took a long time; two turns per week of the jack height adjuster. (Poor Mary had to endure almost 6 months of open living room ceiling. Plus, the basement (laundry space, etc.) had three jacks to hold up the first floor. I don’t think she was very happy about that.) Electricity was moved to the center, and the chimney side were connected using hangers. Then sheet rock & plaster the ceiling, and it looked good as new. Only one small crack appeared in an upstairs wall, easily repaired.

This was a humungous job for one newby handyman, but it worked.







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