leveling a floor


J

Jeff Thies

I have 1929 house on a stone/concrete foundation and plaster walls.
I'm working on leveling the floor in one of the rooms. It's impossible
to level this just with jacking as it will cause unevenness elsewhere.

I've got a drop of nearly an inch over about 3' I'd like to correct (or
at least minimize). I will be laying laminate (IKEA Tundra) over the
floor. I'm thinking some combination of shims and leveling compound.

Recommendations or ideas?

Jeff
 
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J

Jeff Thies

An inch is a lot, but not uncommon in older houses. Assuming it is sag
and not built with a pitch, I'd start with at least minimal jacking.

I've got three jacks (the new jacks look like junk compared to the old)
under that beam and have been jacking it a bit at a time. The right side
is the foundation wall and my goal has been to level that line and it
nearly is now. If I were to jack more I'd have a slope down towards the
foundation wall, and I don't think I want that. Got a Ryobi self
leveling laser (love it) and I've graphed out the supports and height
differences... The room is about 16 feet long and drops about 2" over
that, it's just the last couple feet I want to fix (refrigerator and
base cabinets on it). My thinking is that house building in '29 was a
little non standard!

Jeff


It
 
J

Joe

   I have 1929 house on a stone/concrete foundation and plaster walls..
I'm working on leveling the floor in one of the rooms. It's impossible
to level this just with jacking as it will cause unevenness elsewhere.

I've got a drop of nearly an inch over about 3' I'd like to correct (or
at least minimize). I will be laying laminate (IKEA Tundra) over the
floor. I'm thinking some combination of shims and leveling compound.

   Recommendations or ideas?

     Jeff
It might be worth your time to consult a competent structural engineer/
architect. He may even suggest some clever rebuilding of the part of
the subfloor to grade as an alternative. The fundamental problem may
be foundation settling, but if it is stable after all these years,
changing something else will be more cost effective.
Good luck.

Joe
 
S

Sonny

If there is an exposed crack in the slab/foundation, you might
consider injecting/pouring some termite control/treatment, in there,
before installing your flooring.

Sonny
 
S

Smitty Two

Joe said:
It might be worth your time to consult a competent structural engineer/
architect. He may even suggest some clever rebuilding of the part of
the subfloor to grade as an alternative. The fundamental problem may
be foundation settling, but if it is stable after all these years,
changing something else will be more cost effective.
Good luck.

Joe
Something odd is happening, if he's got a 1" drop over 3' and a 2" drop
over 16'. Sounds like double trouble to me.
 
J

Jeff Thies

Something odd is happening, if he's got a 1" drop over 3' and a 2" drop
over 16'. Sounds like double trouble to me.
I've given up on jacking up the floor and will just level from the top.
Not that I ever found out how to do that, so I'll wing it.

The house is stable and the floor has been like that for the two
decades I've been here. I just wanted to fix it while I could. The walls
and ceilings are currently being durabonded and plastered, so the time
to add new cracks with jacking is over...

It's a zoo down in the basement.

Jeff
 
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R

RicodJour

I've given up on jacking up the floor and will just level from the top.
Not that I ever found out how to do that, so I'll wing it.

   The house is stable and the floor has been like that for the two
decades I've been here. I just wanted to fix it while I could. The walls
and ceilings are currently being durabonded and plastered, so the time
to add new cracks with jacking is over...

   It's a zoo down in the basement.
You can always wait for the new cracks to appear on their own - no
jacking required.

If something settles normally, you don't get big discrepancies in
short distances - which you have. I agree with Smitty that your
differential settlement problem is odd and worth further
investigation. If the structure isn't sound, there's no point in
building anything expensive in/on it. It sounds like you have a
broken joist, termites or there's a fault in the foundation.

Since you seem to be running ahead before looking both ways, I
wouldn't worry about trying to get perfectly floor level. It's a
pointless exercise. You can address the discrepancy in a couple or
three areas. Level the floor a bit so it's flat, not perfectly level,
with pourable leveling compound. If it's flat and out only an inch or
so, that's fine. The rest of the discrepancy can be addressed by
leveling the cabinets.

It can be done, but until you're sure that the settling isn't
continuing, and what caused the settling, you're kind of pissing in
the wind.

R
 
C

clare

You can always wait for the new cracks to appear on their own - no
jacking required.

If something settles normally, you don't get big discrepancies in
short distances - which you have. I agree with Smitty that your
differential settlement problem is odd and worth further
investigation. If the structure isn't sound, there's no point in
building anything expensive in/on it. It sounds like you have a
broken joist, termites or there's a fault in the foundation.

Since you seem to be running ahead before looking both ways, I
wouldn't worry about trying to get perfectly floor level. It's a
pointless exercise. You can address the discrepancy in a couple or
three areas. Level the floor a bit so it's flat, not perfectly level,
with pourable leveling compound. If it's flat and out only an inch or
so, that's fine. The rest of the discrepancy can be addressed by
leveling the cabinets.

It can be done, but until you're sure that the settling isn't
continuing, and what caused the settling, you're kind of pissing in
the wind.

R
It sure sounds like the problem is localized and has been there for a
while. The IDEAL way to fix it is to remove the subfloor from the
"ski-hill" and cut tapered shims to correct the slope on top of the
floor joists - then re-install the sub-floor.
Another possibility (I've done it before) is to pop the subfloor in
the affected area loose by jacking on a block or pounding from below
with a block, then put a short "sister" joist beside each original,
screwing them to the original joist with the top level (or at least
straight with the rest of the slightly sloaped floor) and refasten the
subfloor to the new raised joist.

This is ASSUMING the slope is at the end of the floor joists.

If it is a situation where one joist is lower than all the rest,
causing the floor to "drop off" from the last high joist, simply knock
the flooring loose and add a strip along the side of the entire joist
at the right height. A 2X4 is more than adequate for a small lift -
like the 1" you are looking at.
I've seen that happen when an original rough-cut "full" 2X8 or 2X10 is
replaced with a newer planed joist, which is smaller. That could have
been done 40 or more years ago, since rough lumber has generally not
been used in residential framing since the late '40s or early '50s
 
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E

Evan

 It sure sounds like the problem is localized and has been there for a
while. The IDEAL way to fix it is to remove the subfloor from the
"ski-hill" and cut tapered shims to correct the slope on top of the
floor joists - then re-install the sub-floor.
Another possibility (I've done it before) is to pop the subfloor in
the affected area loose by jacking on a block or pounding from below
with a block, then put a short "sister" joist beside each original,
screwing them to the original joist with the top level (or at least
straight with the rest of the slightly sloaped floor) and refasten the
subfloor to the new raised joist.

This is ASSUMING the slope is at the end of the floor joists.

If it is a situation where one joist is lower than all the rest,
causing the floor to "drop off" from the last high joist, simply knock
the flooring loose and add a strip along the side of the entire joist
at the right height. A 2X4 is more than adequate for a small lift -
like the 1" you are looking at.
I've seen that happen when an original rough-cut "full" 2X8 or 2X10 is
replaced with a newer planed joist, which is smaller. That could have
been done 40 or more years ago, since rough lumber has generally not
been used in residential framing since the late '40s or early '50s

Umm... That is the worst possible thing you could do to a
sagging floor that old, is to add more weight to the failing
connections on the support beams... They are obviously
no longer being properly supported and that is shifting the
beams and making the joists sag... You need to identify
and correct the structural deficiency before you go fixing
the symptom but not the problem...

You could have anything from rubblestone foundations to
brickwork columns or wooden beams holding up a house
that old... Old wooden beams were literally laid on the
bare ground and the concrete was poured around them...
The wooden beam could be rotten on the bottom and
has settled, the brickwork columns could have
compromised mortar joints and has become compressed
causing everything being carried by it to sink...

To the OP, your floor is sagging because your house
settled unevenly and the beams have been shifted...
To fix this once and for all you would need to beef up
your main carrying beam with new columns on new
footings and sister LVL beams to it and hang the
existing flooring joists off the new LVLs with joist
hangers to stop the shifting and the pitch in the floor...

Cutting shims to build up the joists below the
sub-floor is a temporary fix as the floor will continue
to shift and settle and you won't be able to correct
those without taking up the floor if you ever decide
to actually fix the problem in the future...

~~ Evan
 

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