Sagging/Bowing Balcony rehab question

15 Replies

I was wondering if anyone on BP can help me with rehab estimates for a property I am running numbers on. I have forwarded the pictures to a general contractor and I'm waiting for a reply but I thought I might get some good feedback from BP members who have worked on something similar.

Pictures 1 and 2 are taken from the back, looking up at the balcony. We don't have a picture from above, but the balcony sinks into the middle portion. 

Pictures 3 and 4 seem to be a separate problem. Picture 3 is taken from the front of the townhouse. Picture 4 zooms in at the loose ceiling panel. 

Thank you for your input!

OMG.  We've had news stories where people were injured from this neglect.

If you don't respond, you could be liable, as your post shows you knew about the problem.

Restrict access on and below the problem immediately and drop everything to get a quick resolution.

@Account Closed Thank you for having a look at the pictures. The balcony from the top looks like it is sagging down towards the middle. The actual structure seems to be bending there. 

Worst case scenario, how much would you estimate for the whole balcony to be redone?

Here is another picture that might help show that it is sagging 

Purely speculation based on those pictures, but Picture 1 looks like the upper balcony has a post in the center, possibly load bearing, but no post directly below.  If that is indeed a load bearing post above, there should be a post directly below to carry that weight, and without that the sag could be the result.

@Arianne L. Thanks for the zoomed out pic; that is the most helpful one of the bunch!  The construction of it does look a bit suspect e.g. are the posts on footings? Is the beam carrying the deck floor undersized? etc.  The follow-up to those questions is: was this built under a permit?  Because if it was, those two items could not (should not!) be true as it would not (should not!) have passed inspection.

 Really the best thing is going to be having the structure examined by a good GC or a structural engineer in person.  I'd go with the latter because you will need his stamp of approval on any repair anyway.  If the worst is true, it will be an expensive repair.

P.S. I don't think the center post is adding much weight itself, since it's under a gable wall but still...

Thank you @Account Closed . This townhouse was constructed in 2001 but the construction company seems to no longer be in business. If this is a structural problem then most of the other townhouses in the development should have the same problem so I'll try and ask around the neighborhood. 

I'll follow your advice and have a structural engineer examine the property. Thanks again!

@Arianne L.

Without getting too deep into it, you might just need to beef up that porch beam that appers to be deflecting but you dont really know for sure unless you uncover the framing and see how it was constructed.  Also, just because this townhouse appears to have issues doesnt mean the others will too. The contractor might of cut some corners on this townhouse and the inspector missed it; anything could of happened really. 

Good call on having a structural engineer take a look; once he does have a look he might be able to give you a ballpark price on a fix so you can decide to move forward or not. 

Good Luck!

Originally posted by @Arianne L. :

Here are zoomed out pictures of the backview and frontview 

Disclaimer: I am not a structural engineer or carpenter. 

I don't see any rain gutters in this picture.  Is it possible that when it rains, water piles up on that second-floor balcony, and drips down onto the sagging beam?  In other words, the beam might be sized OK, but maybe it has been rotted by water over time (if it's wood).

As has been said, either you or the engineer will probably have to take off some of that vinyl siding on the beam to check things out.  If it's a wood beam, looks dry, and is just cracked, then it may have been too small for the load.  But if it looks rotted, water might be a problem.

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