Nothing but wood talk here when I says sister, sister.
A technique for strengthening or shoring up wood framing is to "sister" another board beside the one you wish to strengthen.
However, it pays to attach the two firmly and permanently with some form of bolt. Nailing the two together is temporary at best.
One problem very common to old construction is structural damage, particuarly from termites. This house is 127 years old, and there have been many years, and many owners, where diligence needed to be applied to insure protection against termite infestation.
The wood floor in the lower level of this row house was extremely wavy.
It was soft and smooshy as we walked around.
Even before going into the cellar I knew we were in for a mish mash of structural "repairs" from racking and termite-infested joists.
Many of the joists were indeed riddled with termites, but not recently.
And they were sistered with repairs.
This repair is very homeownerish.
It is a board merely nailed to a failed board, and coming loose.
It barely extends beyond the termite-damaged wood.
And the other end was worse!
Looking at it from the other end it is obvious why this is such an inadequate repair!
There are only two nails into the end of the original joist where it is damaged the most!
And look at how the end is resting on the beam.
Barely touching! Notice how the sub floor is missing above that joist. You are looking directly at the underside of the hardwood flooring above.
The engineer came after I had been down there pointing things out to the clients. I am matter of fact, not alarmist with my information when things like this crop up. They did not like what I had to say! They were hoping the engineer had better news!
Alas, he did not. But he was not unusually excited either! He said, "This is what you get down here!" And he went about making a plan, which was to virtually replace the lower level structure and flooring. Well, I knew that was coming.
Overall the repairs were not as expensive as the buyers imagined! And it was fun to see that the engineer said pretty much what I had.
My recommendation: everything can be expected in older homes. There is typically a mish mash of everything - electrical, plumbing, structure - you name it. But, can it be lived with? And that's where the decisions are made!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560