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Old 01-20-2013, 07:28 PM   #1
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Addition built too high


I live in a ranch home and I'm having a two story addition with a basement built. The basement was poured just a little too high according to my contractor. But he framed and closed in two stories on top of it, roofed it, and got the electric and HVAC going before he told me about it.

I didn't notice because the wall that will be opened up is still there right now. We will be opening 4' of the wall in the living room and the first floor of the addition is supposed to extend the living room.

There will be 3/4" hardwood flooring put in the addition and existing living room. The addition is 1 1/2" too high. That seems too low for a step and too high for a smooth transition to me.

I am taking a little time to think this one over before I react. I'd like to know my options. Is there anything that can be done at this point?

Thanks,
Rob

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Old 01-20-2013, 07:58 PM   #2
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Addition built too high


I would think this should have been addressed as the first floor was being built. That is when some adjustments could possibly have been made to level the floors.
What is the builder proposing for where the two floors meet?

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Old 01-20-2013, 08:06 PM   #3
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Addition built too high


I'm with Joed on this one.
We all make mistakes but he had to see that one long before he even had the walls up on the first floor instead of keep building.
That would make me wonder what else he did.
There really is no good fix for this one that will ever look right.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:35 PM   #4
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Addition built too high


The contractor either knew or should have known that the finished floors were not going to align and at that time it should have been addressed with the architect or engineer. e.g. if the plans called for 2 X 10 joists on 16" centers perhaps you could have had 2 X 8 joists on 12" centers, or go to a smaller joist and cut the span by adding a girder beneath. But you are past that and I look at a 1 1/2 inch step as a tripping hazard. There may be a minimum rise to a step in your jurisdiction, check with your local Building Division. My only (somewhat) useful suggestion is a ramp no steeper then 1:8. Good luck.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:43 PM   #5
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Addition built too high


There should never be a mistake with floor heights. A contractor has to be a complete fool if the do not open the outside wall and expose the existing floor joist so that you can see the top of the joist ...subfloor and finished floor. Then you set the top of the foundation from there according to the new floor joist height so that the new floor meets the old.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:43 PM   #6
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Addition built too high


First you have a pain on your hands. It's really hard to believe that a mistake that big can be made. But on the other hand, the builder is probably a visual checker, and his confidence was his down fall, this time.

I could not compromise on the floor level, personally. I would talk to the builder and demand trimming the joists to level with livingroom joists, then doubling the joists/add full joist. This probably will bankrupt the builder, but uneven floor will grate on your senses as long as you own that house.

Addition can't be so complicated that decks removed, trim the joist/add new joist and redeck. BTW, staircase will have to be remade. I think you can compromise on riser height.

You can stop the work and stop the payment, and take whatever losses in payments. Take the builder to court and get whatever you can to hire somebody else to fix this problem.

Or, the transition is 4' opening. Creative threshold piece may ease the transition. Can the livingroom go up 3/4 and addition floor come down 3/4? For example, with builder willing, what would adding new floor to your livingroom do?

Just throwing out some ideas, and hope it helps.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:49 PM   #7
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Addition built too high


The buliding department will have a field day with that. Certainly not gonna be a cheap fix. Any decent contractor, or even a carpenter for that matter, would never let this happen.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:20 AM   #8
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Addition built too high


I'd see about notching at all bearing points in the first floor over the basement. Rebuild all stairs, both levels. If the mechanical is not done. Cut all fasteners to old house walls, rip the rim joists after notching the joists; 2x6= 1-3/8" max. 2x8 = 1-7/8", 2x10 = 2-3/8" page 2; http://arch.umd.edu/Tech/Structural_..._Guide_A11.pdf Drop the whole thing down while on hydraulic jacks, as per S.E. plan in writing/liability.

Gary
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:26 AM   #9
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Addition built too high


No replys from the O/P?
To busy on the phone with a lawyer?
Sucks when we suggest hire a pro and something like this happens.
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:45 AM   #10
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Addition built too high


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
No replys from the O/P?
To busy on the phone with a lawyer?
Sucks when we suggest hire a pro and something like this happens.
I went to bed shortly after posting this. Can't say that I slept very well, though.

The contractor was proposing a sort of transitional piece in the doorway between existing house and addition. At first, I thought it might be okay, but the more I consider it the worse it sits with me.

I had a feeling this was a huge problem. I think I'll see him today. I'll ask about how he proposes making the floor even and get back to you.

Thanks for the input everyone.

Rob
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:03 AM   #11
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Addition built too high


Quote:
Originally Posted by rocklobster View Post

I went to bed shortly after posting this. Can't say that I slept very well, though.

The contractor was proposing a sort of transitional piece in the doorway between existing house and addition. At first, I thought it might be okay, but the more I consider it the worse it sits with me.

I had a feeling this was a huge problem. I think I'll see him today. I'll ask about how he proposes making the floor even and get back to you.

Thanks for the input everyone.

Rob
Rob,

Do you know if the joists are I-joists?
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:43 AM   #12
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Addition built too high


Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Carola View Post
Rob,

Do you know if the joists are I-joists?
They are 1x10s.


Quote:
Originally Posted by carpdad View Post

I could not compromise on the floor level, personally. I would talk to the builder and demand trimming the joists to level with livingroom joists, then doubling the joists/add full joist. This probably will bankrupt the builder, but uneven floor will grate on your senses as long as you own that house.

Addition can't be so complicated that decks removed, trim the joist/add new joist and redeck. BTW, staircase will have to be remade. I think you can compromise on riser height.
This sounds like what the contractor suggested doing. He says tear up the subfloor, trim the joists, sister a new one in along each joist, and put the new floor in. It will require extra bracing of the walls and stair replacement as well. He has agreed to cover it all himself. I told him I want to run the idea by a few others before I make a decision. I know someone that I will ask to come and look at it.

I don't see any other way at this point (that doesn't require considerably more undertaking and delay, that is), but I don't want to be hasty.

Raising the floor in the existing living room will only create other problems for us, so that's out.

What do you guys think? Is this likely to work out?

Rob

Last edited by rocklobster; 01-21-2013 at 10:45 AM. Reason: added parenthetical explanation
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:32 AM   #13
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Addition built too high


As joe said, your contractor should have opened up the exterior walls and worked from the finished floor height down, taking into consideration the change in thickness of today's materials in relation to the various materials when your home was built, and built the foundation accordingly. Im sorry, but the guy you hired is an idiot.

Now you need a step up into your new addition. You cant have a tripping hazard. Make him take out the sub floor, plane down the floor joists, and double them up, block the ends where the floor will not be supported, and put in a new sub-floor. He earned it. If he screws a guide onto the side of the joists, he can rip the top 1.5 Inches off the floor joists.
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:58 PM   #14
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Addition built too high


how does someone mess that up. .one of the first things i do when starting an addition is open up a small pocket where the floor will tie in so i can see where the floor system is.. from there i can get the elevation for the foundation wall.. if your a little low for the floor system you add another plate or shim with plywood.. but too high... this guy needs to learn how to build
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:33 PM   #15
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Addition built too high


I would definitely require an engineer to sign off on the changes, regardless of whoch way you go....

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