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Old 06-12-2015, 12:06 AM   #1
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Fill pocket in split level slab?


We will be having the entire ground floor of our house refloored at which time I am thinking of removing a pony wall located at the border of the entrance way slab and the point where it steps down some 5.5" into the living room. A neighbor with a similar tract home recently had this done and it makes the room look larger.

However, I am wondering if doing so may be looking for trouble given that we are located in Southern California and the land moves now and then. While we are not located near a fault and our concrete slab and even the patio has never cracked, I am wondering if flooring, especially tile or marble, is likely to be a problem if laid over a seem in the original slab and where it would have to be filled in if the pony wall is removed.

Before filling in the cavity left in the existing slab by removal of the wood and sheet rock pony wall, a re-bar skeleton was epoxied to the existing slab of my neighbor's home - if that is likely to make a difference.

I will only do the demo work and have pros do the slab work, if I go ahead with this.

Do you guys think this is feasible or is a problem waiting to happen? Would it more likely avoid problems if the flooring was engineered wood instead of brittle porcelain or marble tiles?
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Thanks for your thoughts.
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Fill pocket in split level slab?-pony-wall-001.jpg   Fill pocket in split level slab?-pony-wall-004.jpg   Fill pocket in split level slab?-pony-wall-ii-001.jpg  

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Old 06-13-2015, 10:48 PM   #2
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Fill pocket in split level slab?


Well, you could pull up the carpet and underpad in front of that 5 1/2 inch drop and see if the concrete is cracked right in front of the drop. If it's not, then there's no reason to believe there'd be any crack under the pony wall either. And, if there's no cracks by now, then putting tiles down where the pony wall was won't cause any cracks.

What I'd be MORE concerned about is that removing that pony wall will leave a 5 inch drop in your floor height, and I can see that creating a major trip hazard. Where I live, the city was considering a bylaw that would require all changes in floor height (including steps) to have a visible demarcation so that visibly impaired people wouldn't trip over them. At least with the pony wall in place, it partitions the space and gives you some warning that the floor height may change too. Without that pony wall, you have a change in floor level without any kind of warning. If it wuz me, I'd leave the pony wall in place. Maybe consider demo-ing that pony wall down to the studs, drywalling it and then tiling it with the same tiles you install on the floor just to give it a new look and make it look like it belongs there.

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Old 06-14-2015, 01:12 PM   #3
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Fill pocket in split level slab?


The point about the safety issue is very valid, even though I don't think any code or ordinance would be violated by removing the wall.
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Old 07-21-2015, 05:57 PM   #4
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Fill pocket in split level slab?


My wife absolutely didn't want the pony wall taken out, until she visited a neighbor who had it done when new flooring was laid. She wants it out. I may do this but I may only do the demo and have a contractor due the concrete work. I was a at the building office the other day about a larger job I have out under contract and was surprised to learn that the city doesn't require permit to cut a residential slab to run electrical. (It requires a permit for electrical but not to lasercut and repair the slab. I don't know if the rule is different if it is post tension.)
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Old 07-21-2015, 06:16 PM   #5
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Fill pocket in split level slab?


No clue why that little wall would not have just been installed over the slab.
Makes no since that it would have been built below it.
Lazer cutting a slab, never heard of it being done that way.
Not even sure how a lazer would cut through a slab.
Far more common to see it done with an abrasive saw or a diamond blade.
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Old 07-21-2015, 06:25 PM   #6
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Fill pocket in split level slab?


Hi Joe. They call it lasercutting but it is just the brand name of a was on wheels you walk behind and could almost do with a circular saw and a diamond blade. That is being done on kitchen remodel which has its own thread.

As for the pony wall, I have no idea why they built it the way they did, but it definitely is set into that recessed pocket of the slab.
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:42 PM   #7
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Fill pocket in split level slab?


Whatever the reason that little wall was built and the way it was built, the building department says I can take it out and even up the edge of the slab by pouring a little concrete. As it is clearly not load bearing all I need is a permit to move the electric outlet to where the pony wall juts out of the chase along the side wall.

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