Hearth Extension Dislocated Off Pier/Support

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New Member
Dec 20, 2023
]yhgb54edppppWhat a mess...

I know that this topic has been covered: https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/hearth-extension-is-not-supported-nor-attached.198982/

However I believe my situation is more dire and with unique variables and circumstance.

The house is a 1920s, balloon-framed Tudor which was relocated to an adjacent lot in the 1980s. A daylight basement foundation was poured and the house was set on top of it and that's about it. Nothing is tied down. As in the subfloor isn't tied to the joists because the joists came with the move. Because of its age, the walls aren't really even tied down to the sub or even finished floors. And on and on...a mess as I've stated.

To make matter worse, when the house was lifted and moved, the chimney, running through the middle of the home, collapsed. Once relocated, the home ended with two fireplaces; one on the main floor and in the basement. Each is vented by two large metal stacks running through the wood-framed chase that is under built to say the least. Later the fireplace in the basement was sealed along with the cinderblock ash pit and a wood stove was installed in front of the ashpit but vented through the former fireplace stack. The fireplace on the main floor received a gas log insert and it's own exhaust ducting, which runs alongside the now unused stack. Upon purchasing the home, I learned that the neither the gas log nor the wood stove were installed to code or with a permit and wood stove is not certified. Surprisingly these factors are the least of my worries as I've discovered that the framing of the chase itself is rotten. And most recently it appears that the hearth extension support which also serves as a support for the former fireplace stack located on the main floor has come off it's cinderblock pier-creating a dangerous situation. In short, the entire chase itself readily moves resulting in a swaying of the entire home as the stacks are free to move with wind or other shear forces. Fortunately, wen have a steel I-beam running parallel to the failed support and the former carrier beam (which was cut and supported on either side to make way for the basement ash pit) is still intact and supporting the load at the rear of the home.

So my questions to the good people of this forum is as follows:

1. From the photos I've uploaded can you ascertain rather or not if my analysis is correct that the stack support and hearth extension have partially collapsed? This is evidenced by displaced pans around the stacks in the finished attic crawlspace.
1.a. And if my analysis is correct, does it appear that the support fell free from on top of the third ciderblock of the pier, or was the pier cantilevered and the support fell free of the second cinderblock?
2. Again from the photos, can you tell me if the joists holding the stack belongs on top of the supports on either side of it or if it is supposed to hang freely from the joist hangers?
3. Lastly, if my analysis contains errors or inaccuracies due to ignorance or otherwise, please inform me where my thinking error occurred or what I might be missing.

Also, for the readers of this post who are quick to say the obvious which is that a structural engineer is needed, please save your comment. Over the course of a year, I've hired three individual engineers-all of which failed to identify this issue for one reason or another. The fourth is on retainer but is unable to assist until after the New Year. I'm simply doing my homework (no pun intended) prior to their visit. After paying nearly $10K for structural analysis that resulted in nothing whatsoever, I'm trying to help determine issues prior to the visit from the newest engineer and another $2K wasted.

Thanks in advance and happy holidays. Also please note that my replies might be delayed as we are parents of young children and are displaced staying in a hotel until these issues are resolved and we feel comfortable living at the home. Needless to say with the displacement, everything is disheveled.

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