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-   -   Self Leveling Concrete, Or Replace Sub Floor (http://www.diychatroom.com/f15/self-leveling-concrete-replace-sub-floor-140870/)

paulalkema 04-20-2012 01:39 PM

Self Leveling Concrete, Or Replace Sub Floor
 
Hi,
My kitchen floor is on a slant. The flooring slopes about 2 inches from one side of the kitchen to the other as does the ceiling. The house is over a hundred years ago so my guess is the foundation sunk some.

I've had my house inspected and they said that it wasn't anything structurally we needed to worry about, we just had a slant. (this was 3 years ago)

I'm actually in the middle of re-modelling my kitchen now and I'd like the slant to go away. I've considered using self leveling concrete but if there was anything structurally of concern, I wouldn't want to make it worse by pouring heavy concrete on it.

A friend of mine mentioned replacing the sub flooring and putting shims under the subfloor to help level things out. Good idea? Bad idea?

I want your opinion. :)

cortell 04-20-2012 02:19 PM

With no disrespect to your friend, it's a terrible idea. That's one hell of a band aid for what's likely a serious foundation problem. Do you know how much effort it's going to take to rip up the subfloor, shim the joists level, and reinstall the subfloor...and for what, so the problem can return five years from now?

There are very few quick fixes to big problems, and tons of bad ones. My advice to you is to pend some money to hire an engineer to evaluate what's going on with your foundation, then figure out options from there.

paulalkema 04-20-2012 04:08 PM

A friend of mine originally suggested this yes, however this technique is not unheard of, in fact DYI Network has a tutorial on a very simular technique except they never actually remove the old subflooring. I would personally rather remove the old subflooring instead of floor over it as I don't want the ceiling to be smaller. (Worth noting, at no point does it say hire a structural engineer).


Also, as I stated before, I did have a home inspector come who took a look at everything including this area. He actually climbed under my basement and inspected all of the joists down there. He said this type of thing sometimes just happens with old houses.

I figure, if it's gone down 2 inches in 100 years that's not to bad right? :)

Has any of you guys ever used self leveling concrete and what was your experience with it?

cortell 04-20-2012 04:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by paulalkema (Post 903222)
A friend of mine originally suggested this yes, however this technique is not unheard of, in fact DYI Network has a tutorial on a very simular technique except they never actually remove the old subflooring. I would personally rather remove the old subflooring instead of floor over it as I don't want the ceiling to be smaller. (Worth noting, at no point does it say hire a structural engineer).


Also, as I stated before, I did have a home inspector come who took a look at everything including this area. He actually climbed under my basement and inspected all of the joists down there. He said this type of thing sometimes just happens with old houses.

I figure, if it's gone down 2 inches in 100 years that's not to bad right? :)

Has any of you guys ever used self leveling concrete and what was your experience with it?

I've seen some pretty short-sighted advice on cable shows, so an onine tutorial or tv segment on a practice does not alone give it credibility in my mind. Think about it. Not only did you say your floor is unlevel, but also your ceiling. Have you checked to see if your walls are plumb? My guess is that they're not. And if they're not, you're going to produce a level a floor that sits next to unplumb walls. Good luck installing cabinets.

Also, inspectors are not structural engineers. Be weary of any inspector that says "this sort of thing is normal for old homes".

Anyway, I'm sticking by my recommendation. I would hire a structural engineer to assess the situation. I would not pursue a band-aid solution unless he said its was prudent to do so.

CrossWorks 04-21-2012 07:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by paulalkema (Post 903222)
A friend of mine originally suggested this yes, however this technique is not unheard of, in fact DYI Network has a tutorial on a very simular technique except they never actually remove the old subflooring. I would personally rather remove the old subflooring instead of floor over it as I don't want the ceiling to be smaller. (Worth noting, at no point does it say hire a structural engineer).



Also, as I stated before, I did have a home inspector come who took a look at everything including this area. He actually climbed under my basement and inspected all of the joists down there. He said this type of thing sometimes just happens with old houses.

I figure, if it's gone down 2 inches in 100 years that's not to bad right? :)

Has any of you guys ever used self leveling concrete and what was your experience with it?

In spite of Cortell's strong stance with his point of view, I happen to disagree. In fact, last summer I dealt with the very identical situation. The house is close to 100 yrs old and all the settling that should happen HAS happened over that period of time. I had a 3/4" hump in the floor at a doorway opening in a 4' span to deal with and if I had not dealt with it, the base unit cabinets at that corner would had to of been cut to fit. So, by eliminating the hump which is not so appealing to the eye OR walking onto when going into the kitchen for that matter I repaired the floor framing prior to installing the sub-floor. http://www.crossworksme.com/Falmouth%20Kitchen.htm [<<< don't ask me why she wanted 2 different color cabinets!...lol. I don't argue with the customer]

As for the ceiling slanting and the floor now being level, this will only be seen when the upper cabinets have been installed. If your going to leave a space between cabinets and ceiling, that taper will not be so obvious. However with a soffit in place that becomes more evident. You decide.

I would make the floor right while you have things opened up.

This is no different then when a customer wants new siding and with 25yr old windows place decides not to install new windows. You either do both or don't replace the siding. Imo....In the end it just costs more, to neglect the obvious.

cortell 04-21-2012 02:02 PM

Crossworks, we both agree that the floor should be addressed as part of the kitchen remodel. The question is whether you should pursue a band-aid fix with significant shortcomings or instead bring in an engineer to determine if a serious foundation problem is at play, and/or if the foundation slant can be properly addressed such you end up with a kitchen that is fully level and plum.

Also let's be clear that a hump or dip in a floor is likely to be a less serious problem than the floor steadily dropping 2" from one wall to another.

CrossWorks 04-21-2012 06:36 PM

Well yah there is no telling if there's a serious foundation issue even after 100 years. I know here on the East coast, once a house has settled, it's pretty much done moving in most cases. I guess it would depend on the ground and location of the house.

I suppose it certainly wouldn't hurt to get an engineer though to look things over just to make sure.

Daniel Holzman 04-21-2012 07:18 PM

Pretty interesting to have such a discussion when the OPS has not even indicated where they live, how long a run the 2 inch drop occurs over, what qualifications the inspector had. I have inspected over 200 houses for structural damage. It is certainly not uncommon to have a 2 inch drop across the kitchen, based on my experience.

It is impossible to tell over the internet, based on information made available, whether the drop occurred slowly over the last hundred years, or whether it occurred recently due to a more recent cause such as a wind event, ground shifting, rotting boards etc. If the inspector was competent and thorough, it is likely that his analysis is accurate, and the settlement is not of structural significance. However, we have no way of ascertaining the skill level and the thoroughness of the investigation.

As to using self leveling compound, you should do a search of this forum for the topic. Use of self leveling concrete is not as simple as it sounds, it adds weight to the floor, and can create other issues. Shimming the subfloor two inches is quite a bit, but can be done, not without careful consideration of the stability of the floor. It is also possible to jack up the joists to a level condition, but in an old house this can be difficult and expensive.

If you do not have total confidence in the inspector, bringing in a structural engineer to have a hands on look is a good idea. If you are convinced that there are no structural issues, talk to a local framer about options to level the floor, level the ceiling, and plumb the walls. Doing the work yourself is also an option, but can be pretty difficult to get right.

hand drive 04-23-2012 08:29 PM

I call it the bowl affect. In general the foundation walls usually do not settle as much as the brick piers under the crawlspace that hold up the house girders and beams. The piers settle so the floors slope downward away from foundation walls. I've taken up sub floor and sistered floor joists level raising one side of the room 4" with there being a doorway on the 4" side! Talk about noticeable! but that was what the homeowner wanted so....

you will see this in older homes almost always, put a round marble on the floor at the foundation wall and see which way it rolls...

md2lgyk 04-24-2012 07:10 AM

Regardless of other possible solutions, I would NOT use self-leveling concrete. It is very expensive. And the directions for the stuff I have used say not to go more than one inch thick.

packer_rich 04-24-2012 07:35 AM

Self leveling concrete is a BAD idea. 2" is too much for that product. If you are going to the trouble of pulling up the subfloor, I would suggest raising the joists to level. You dont say, but does the out of level problem end at a beam or some kind of support structure? There should be a way to raise all the joists at once and remove the slant.


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