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Old 10-09-2008, 02:39 PM   #1
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Laying "new" wood floor next to sloping old floor


During our remodel of an 1850's farm house we've realized how much the floors slope. Originally we had planned to do tile, however, the floor would need alot of beefing up and logistically its just going to be a pain.

We have almost decided to lay "old" wood in the kitchen. We can get matching lots from a local second chance home salvage for $1 SF.

The problem is the floor slopes the center, and to the left. The kitchen addition floor is going to be releveled and rebuilt, so that the cabinets sit right.

The half walls in the picture are going to be torn out, my question is how to make the floors meet up properly either by laying thinner sections of wood or something? We are trying to figure out something.

There are diagrams and pictures of the area along with the slope over distance here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/3035497...7607764259587/

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Old 10-09-2008, 02:57 PM   #2
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Laying "new" wood floor next to sloping old floor


I would be looking hard to find the reason why the floors are sloping. Fixing this might solve all you problems, or create others if you have to jack up the house.

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Old 10-09-2008, 03:16 PM   #3
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Laying "new" wood floor next to sloping old floor


The house was built in 1850, and all the floors slope slightly to the center. The house is on a stone foundation, that overall is in great condition, needs some minor repointing. The floors are all original wood, and we would like to save them.
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Old 10-09-2008, 03:31 PM   #4
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Laying "new" wood floor next to sloping old floor


Quote:
Originally Posted by troyce1 View Post
The house was built in 1850, and all the floors slope slightly to the center. The house is on a stone foundation, that overall is in great condition, needs some minor repointing. The floors are all original wood, and we would like to save them.
Do you imagine that it was built this way on purpose?

If not there is some failure in the foundation and I would look hard to find that. More that likely it will continue and trying to adjust for it will be very expensive and time consuming.
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:01 PM   #5
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Laying "new" wood floor next to sloping old floor


well, we just purchased the house, and had a standard home inspection.

Can you call a foundation inspector, or do such inspectors exist?

If the foundation needs repaired, I assume we will have to live with the floors, but I would at least like the foundation fixed if its failed.

I assumed it was just due to settling, and so have all the contractors, and the inspector said.

Thanks
-Terry

Last edited by troyce1; 10-09-2008 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:21 PM   #6
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Laying "new" wood floor next to sloping old floor


Quote:
Originally Posted by troyce1 View Post
well, we just purchased the house, and had a standard home inspection.

Can you call a foundation inspector, or do such inspectors exist?

If the foundation needs repaired, I assume we will have to live with the floors, but I would at least like the foundation fixed if its failed.

I assumed it was just due to settling, and so have all the contractors, and the inspector said.

Thanks
-Terry
Well that may be. I have seen home settle and have caused lots of problems like doors and windows that don't close/open, wall covering that crack, and even windows that break.

If the inspector said it was fine I have no reason to say anything different since he was there looking at it and I was not.

But sloping floors are a big red flag to me.

If you are intent on moving ahead with your project I would suggest some leveling compound. Trying to get this level by making each tile a custom fit would be a nightmare.

But if the floors are sloping and you use leveling compound then your doors might have to be shaved to fit. Then the transition would be off and you would have a slight step at the door jamb.

Have you done any measurements to see how much the floor slopes?

Do all your doors close properly? My guess is that if they do they have been shaved to make them close.
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:27 PM   #7
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Laying "new" wood floor next to sloping old floor


I've worked on many homes of that era and all have a similar problem. If the slop is towards the center then the settling isn't usually a foundation issue as much as it is failed/missing support in the center of the main joists. Try putting a straight 2x4x8 up against one down in the basement to check for level. My guess, and that's all it is from here, is that you can probably solve most of your sagging floor issues by s-l-o-w-l-y raising the floor back up.

The reason I say slowly and what I mean by that is it's taken 150 yrs to get to where it is. The last thing you want to do is jack it back up quickly. I level a floor by jacking in small increments (1/8") over several months. Let everything relax for a week and then raise it again. This keeps plaster walls from cracking, usually, and allows all the mating timber to get back to where they were years ago.

Even if you choose to just add a sub-floor and make it level from the top you still should support that area in the basement.

In either case I would find 2 contractors that have done this type of work and get prices, more importantly, ask them how they are going to do it and how long it will take them.

Probably not what you wanted to hear but again, just my 2 on what works for me.
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:28 PM   #8
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Laying "new" wood floor next to sloping old floor


From the back sill to the center the floor drops about 1.5 inches over 8ft.

Pictures and drawings are here.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/30354978@N00/

Also

The joists are 15.5 ft long, on 24" centers, the house has no termite damage.

Last edited by troyce1; 10-09-2008 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:40 PM   #9
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Laying "new" wood floor next to sloping old floor


Shamus thanks.... hmm. Thats interesting. I would almost rather leave them sloped for now, I feel like we would have alot of repair work to do. Its definately something we will look into.
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Old 10-09-2008, 05:48 PM   #10
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Laying "new" wood floor next to sloping old floor


Quote:
Originally Posted by troyce1 View Post
From the back sill to the center the floor drops about 1.5 inches over 8ft.

Pictures and drawings are here.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/30354978@N00/

Also

The joists are 15.5 ft long, on 24" centers, the house has no termite damage.
That's a serious drop.

If I owned the house I would focus on this issue before doing anything else. If you do any other work that will most likely have to be redone if the remedy for the sloping floor is to jack up the house.

As Shamus said, get a pro in there to assess the situation. Estimates are generally free and it would help you sleep better at night knowing that everything is square.

My guess is that there needs to be some leveling and shoring up of the foundation.
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Old 10-09-2008, 06:03 PM   #11
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Laying "new" wood floor next to sloping old floor


Quote:
Originally Posted by troyce1 View Post

Also

The joists are 15.5 ft long, on 24" centers, the house has no termite damage.
This may be your problem.

I can't tell from your pictures what the dimensions of the joists are but they look like full thickness 2x6's or 2x8's.

If they are 2x6's then some work should be done to shore it up as the spans for 2x6's with 24 inch centers should be no more than 10 feet.

If they are 2x8's there maximum span should be no more than 13 feet.

Even 2x10's are barely allowed to span 15.5 feet at 24 inch centers.

You can go here and look for yourself. I calculated it using doug fir.

http://www.awc.org/calculators/span/...orizontal+Span
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:00 AM   #12
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Laying "new" wood floor next to sloping old floor


Terry,

Looking at your pic's I'd say they were indeed full 2X8's. I have never seen a span of more than 10' without a column support on a house from that era. Very unusual. 24" centers are unusual at least around here, anyway. Is there a bearing wall involved in that area as well?

I can't stress enough what others have said. Adding shims to level out that 1 1/2" dip isn't the answer. If you want to bring up the floor in the future you'll have to tear out any work you do today. Even if you only bring it up an inch or 1 1/8", that's better than letting it droop. And it may not be done moving.

I apologize for preaching here, it's an expense you hadn't planned on most likely and whatever way you go it is your choice. Many things can cause or add to the condition your seeing. Plumbers cut into joists to run plumbing for bathrooms, electricians and HVAC guys cut them as well. Furniture and appliances are heavier. Just a cause and effect thing.

As a disclaimer here, the trades mentioned above, professional or otherwise once did things because that was what was an accepted practice. Long before code and long before lawsuits were common.

Call in an experienced pro and get some experienced eyes and ideas. It may be a cost trade-off, basement support Vs subfloor leveling.

Whatever direction you decide on, best of luck to you.
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:41 AM   #13
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Laying "new" wood floor next to sloping old floor


Shamus thanks for the advice.

I took a level downstairs last night and put it on the bottoms of the beams, each beam is level, even though there is a slight slant"slant" Beam to beam is pretty level as well maybe between an 1/16 and 1/8. I was only there for a min so I will have to take some more detailed measurements and notes.

As far as getting someone to fix that, would I call a foundation person, a floor person? Is there a specific title/trade

The beams are 2.5-3.5 inches thick depending on the beam.
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:56 AM   #14
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Laying "new" wood floor next to sloping old floor


Start with the phone book and look for ad's stating many years in construction. Call them and ask if they get involve in that type of work and how many they've done. Then I'd try local lumber yards. They tend to know who's doing what projects and can offer suggestions on who might be interested. Also, Id ask the contractors, if they don't get involved in that type of work, who could they suggest you call for help.

Explain in general terms what you think the issue might be and say you need some professional help resolving the problem.

You need to check the joists along the length from one support end to the other for the bow in the basement. 1 1/2" on top means you should see the same thing below.

Sight unseen, if it's a short distance between where the floor starts to sag from one side to the other it may be a matter of jacking across several basement joists with a single post or column to correct it.
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Old 10-11-2008, 05:16 PM   #15
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Laying "new" wood floor next to sloping old floor


I agree with Shamus. Find out why the floor is sagging before doing anything else.

Just about any homebuilding carpenter who has been in business for a few years will be able to check it out. Call around and tell them what you have going on and ask for a bid to fix it. Most often they will come out for free or for a small fee.

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