How to Use a Floor Jack in the Basement

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Faulty construction, the age of the building or sinking concrete footings can cause a home's floor to sag over time. Using adjustable steel posts to level the floor is the best method to fix this issue. A floor jack should be used with the adjustable steel post to lower or raise the beam into the right position. Some floor jacks are operated by lowering and raising a handle to drive hydraulic oil under a cylinder. Other types of floor jacks may feature a foot pump or run on a hydraulic pump operated by the push of a button.

Things You'll Need

  • 2x6 or 2x8 lumber for base plate
  • Floor jack
  • 4x4 post
  • 16d nails and hammer
  • Carpenter's level
  • Layer two 2x6 pieces of lumber at least 24 inches long to create a base for the floor jack. Center the base plate under the beam where adjustments are needed.

  • Center the floor jack on the base plate and nail the jack into place using 16d nails. Some floor jacks are equipped with nail holes. Other types do not have holes and will require 16d nails to be nailed into the wood next to the floor jack to hold it in place.

  • Using a saw, cut the 4x4 post so that it fits between the floor jack and the beam. For floors that need to be lowered, raise the floor jack cylinder the appropriate amount and then cut the post so that it fits between the floor jack and the beam.

  • Place the 4x4 post between the jack cylinder and the beam that needs adjusting. Adjust the floor jack so that the beam is snug between the beam and the jack. Use a level to plumb the 4x4 post before raising or lowering the beam.

  • Pump the floor jack handle to adjust the floor beam. Use an adjustable steel post with the floor jack in case of a malfunction or total failure of the jack. This adjustable steel post will be left in place once adjustments are made, to ensure that the beam stays in place.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a hydraulic floor jack that is capable of handling the weight of the home and beam.
  • Use lumber that is straight and free of defects such as splitting, cracking and bowing.

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