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59Ranch 02-18-2010 04:18 PM

Flooring dilemma from someone who doesn't know a thing
I have a 1959 ranch with a basement. Those big beams in the basement run width-wise to the long rectangle of the house. They look to be 12 inches tall and 2" wide. I think they're around 14" apart. That is from the basement looking up in the main area. I cannot look up to the kitchen because there's a ceiling.

On the blueprints, there are some words that say HEAD OUT FLR 18" ... I know that means something and I would think it meant the floor joists are 18" apart although it doesn't make sense since the ones I can see seem to be 14.

We are on a serious budget remodel so I'd like to ATTEMPT to avoid having a contractor come in to read the blueprints at a ridiculous cost. We had an engineer tell us that YES, we could cut the basement wall for an egress window and BOY was that expensive.

The tile I like is 4lbs per square foot. Is there some magic formula that will tell me if this floor can support it? What are the number I need to find? If something is 51 years old will I be able to find manufacturing information for the beams?

Also, the kitchen is in a corner of the house. I didn't know if that mattered but somebody else mentioned it so I thought it might be important.

Any directions?


tpolk 02-18-2010 06:34 PM

what are the span dimensions of the 2x12 floor joists, is there a beam they sit on mid way of this span. I would hazard a guess flooring in hardwood not a problem. are you tiling? more info would help

59Ranch 02-18-2010 06:53 PM


Originally Posted by tpolk (Post 402316)
what are the span dimensions of the 2x12 floor joists, is there a beam they sit on mid way of this span. ... are you tiling? more info would help

Tiling. 4lbs a square foot. 172 square feet.

Um, I'm not sure what a span is and Husband won't be home til tomorrow. I thought I was helping by getting this information figured out ahead of time :)

JazMan 02-18-2010 07:59 PM

Hi Meadowlark,

We need to know how the framing is built and what type, thickness and number of sheets make your subfloor.

Tell us the; type and size of the joists. They may be 2x12" (1.5x11.25) or 2x10" (1.5x 9.25), might even be smaller. Their spacing center-to-center. usually that is 16". See if you can find markings that tell you the species and grade. Then the distance of these joists from one support to the other. Measure accurately to the inch.

Then need to know the type and thickness of the subfloor. The subfloor is the wood immediately above the joists. This could be plywood sheets or planks. Both should be tongue & groove. There may be other sheet of wood over the subfloor, (underlayment), please note that.

Also depending on the type of flooring you had and what you may have already removed, there might have been or still is plywood or (?) that is 1/4" thick. That has to be removed if present.

The goal is the have a floor system that is stiff enough for tile. The number is "L360", that is the max deflection value allowed for ceramic or porcelain tiles. Let us know all the above and we can consult a span chart for you.

You may also want to run your installation plans by us, along with the specific products you're planning to use for the installation.


59Ranch 02-18-2010 08:49 PM


I think we're at least pulling up a section of the floor this weekend, so we should know. And I'm sure Husband will have a much better idea of what this all means.

I do know that some of those basement ceiling joists are 16"... they are 14" apart, but if I go center to center, that's where the 16 comes in.

Cool! I'm pulling together some pictures and some odds and ends and will get it done this weekend.

Thanks so much!

Snav 02-18-2010 09:12 PM

Good luck!

My husband and I started our home DIY projects 5 years ago - he knew what he was doing, I didn't know anything.
I'm still on a learning curve but I know a heck of a lot more than I did, then. . . and I didn't learn anything by waiting for him and asking him questions (he deployed soon after we started - so he just wasn't around). I, also, just felt stupid - I hated not knowing the terms and things like that. When I went to the hardware store I wanted to already *know* what I was looking for.

Reading articles, learning terms, reading books and sponging up information about everything is a good personal-focus.
So is watching occasional home-remodel shows and such (to a certain degree).

59Ranch 02-18-2010 09:31 PM

@Snav - I'm a former Marine and former Air National Guard chick myself, married to a former Marine with our youngest heading out in June to be a cryptolinguist in our beloved Corps. You'd think I'd be somewhat independent! I do fine when he was still in and deployed (changed the CV boot on a car, built the hammock stand, etc) but now that he's out and always around, I'm overwhelmed. Or perhaps it's just the mess in his shop that overwhelms me. ;) I home-can a mean beef stew though!

Thanks for the encouragement. My biggest problem is that it breaks my heart to actually CHANGE anything in the kitchen. We have custom made birds-eye maple cabinets that are still in fantastic condition (albeit ambered a bit thru age) and I guess I've grown to appreciate the avocado backsplash, formica countertops and linoleum floor. :) We're going for it though, even if it makes me sad.

Snav 02-19-2010 07:17 AM

Think negative thoughts to power through the emotions! :) These cabinets are NO GOOD! They hate you - what would they say about you if they could talk? I don't know! But you better rip them out before they start yapping!

You might be able to save the cabinets you like and use them elsewhere in the house.
I'm planning on putting my old kitchen cabinets in the carport to use for storage and a work surface.

tpolk 02-19-2010 08:22 AM

birds eye maple is beautiful stuff, if you're not keeping look to selling for kitchen upgrade

Snav 02-19-2010 08:32 AM

Oh yeah - put an add in Craigslist or something - say you'd sell the Cabinets for only $1000 if someone will come and remove them! Say you'll knock off a hundred if they do a superb job of removing them without damaging your home! :D

When cabinet run in the thousands - someone would DIE for that deal. . . and it might save you some work!

59Ranch 02-19-2010 08:58 AM

Um, embarrassingly, we're keeping the cabinets. :( Don't laugh.

My biggest problem with an upgrade is that all the designers want to make my kitchen look just like everyone else's. And that a kitchen isn't a kitchen unless it has granite countertops, travertine tile and dark cabinets.

My house is like a grand old dame... for me to come in and try to make her look like a 30 year old hottie is a travesty. She should look like the mature, wonderful, unique creature she is, only a bit less dated. Because, after all, in 15-ish years when we move at his retirement, she'll be dated again.

So yeah, I'm keeping the cabinets. They're bird's eye maple fer cryin' out loud! I think there's some special place in hell for people who get rid of those!!! ;) OK, maybe not, but why would I put in new when all that I could afford would be a faaaar cry from the quality of what I now have? We have briefly considered darkening them a bit, but that'll probably wait another few years til I get used to the other changes.

LOL on the "focus on the negative" teee heeee

drtbk4ever 02-19-2010 09:03 AM

I'd bet new countertops, backsplash and flooring along with your current maple cabinets will turn out beautiful.

tpolk 02-19-2010 09:12 AM

good for you to keep that beautiful wood, a little at a time and the way you want , it's your space.

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