Ceiling joists on wood packers

26 Apr 2014
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United Kingdom
Is it common to find ceiling joists resting on wood packers ?
the wood is 21mm thick and as shrunk in parts from the weight of the joists, not sure what type of wood it is, one of the joists is sitting on a piece of wood that covers about half its width. It looks like the builders never bothered to use mortar on some of the top row of bricks, some of the joists are resting on bricks though which as mortar below them.

This is single brick load bearing wall as well, is this perfectly normal or should i be looking at getting it properly supported

See picture below

http://smg.photobucket.com/user/cpuspec/media/Mobile Uploads/IMG_20150130_094236.jpg.html

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What is that square thing set in the wall? Wood packers are OK if done properly, but these look poorly done. Is that a big crack slightly to the left of centre running down from the top row of bricks?
Hi frank

The square thing set in the wall is a door, it's not a crack which I think your referring to, it is just shoddy brick work which needs repointing, it is mainly the top course of bricks that have been put in uneven and then used wood to pack underneath.

Is it worth trying to mortar the top bricks or should I just pack it with some different material
That all looks totally normal for Victorian/Edwardian build. The half brick wall will take the load so don't get too stressed about it. If you want to prop the joists up and remortar the brickwork feel free- wouldn't bother mortaring the top of the wall though (if this was your plan)- packers can be timber (NOT OSB or plywood or any other manufactured stuff, proper wood) or slate (full width of the joist is always good).


Just realise I made an assumption- I'm assuming that those joists are upstairs ceiling and above them there is roof space and no significant load. If that assumption is untrue then so is the suggestion about propping, mortaring and packing. :D
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Ah I see it now, there is a small (too small) wooden lintel behind the remains of the old door frame, a new lower door frame has been fitted below it. Because the wooden lintel was too thin, the courses of brick work above it has dropped and a builder has packed the joist to keep the floor level.

I would support the joists and replace the lintel. This arrangement will always cause trouble as the Victorian door frame has been removed, there will never be enough support for the floor, repacking the joist would give you a couple of years grace before something else occurs.

The easiest way of doing this would be to support the ceilings/joists, remove all the loose brickwork and replace it with 4" wide wood, say buy a couple of lengths of 4" x 2", cut it up into suitable lengths glue and nail them into a high stack and use that as the lintel and support for the joists. Make sure that the top one is a really tight fit to the joists (without the packing pieces). Small bits of brickwork like this have virtually no strength, but was very quick and cheap when the house was built.
This is the down stairs front room with bedroom above, its a spine wall that goes right through the middle of the property. so would it be best to prop up the joists one by one to bed the bricks on mortar ?

Should i prop the joists as close to the spine wall, this wont cause deflection will it since its the middle of the joist ?
The first thing to do is to go upstairs and see how flat the floor is, if you are going to remortar the brickwork you might as well to it to the correct place. I would put a plank say, 4' across the ceiling and the floor with two acro props, near the ends and a couple of feet away from the wall, this way you will have good access to the wall. Tighten the acros, perhaps to lift the floor back flat.

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