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Old 10-18-2012, 07:59 AM   #1
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Need suggestions regarding flooring with irregular floor


Hi all. We have a home built in 1968, and it has a partial basement. The west "wing" of the house has a bath and bedroom down a hallway. This side of the house has subsided/settled and there is a pronounced slope beginning at the slab line in the middle of the kitchen/breakfast area. There is no trip hazard, the floor just begins to pitch downward at the break.

Over the years we have adjusted windows and doors in the portion that has settled, and they work beautifully. Current floor covering is carpet.

We would like to convert from carpet to a durable hard-surface flooring. Wood and good quality sheet vinyl made to look like wood are under consideration.

Here's what we're facing. A foundation specialist measured the house once a few years back and said that the west corner of the house has dropped about 5"-6". It is a pronounced slope - you can feel the crack in the subfloor the moment you cross it.



Here are my questions:

1. Do you think I can use a floor sander or some other method to make the crack in the particle wood underfloor less noticeable at the break? What about using a thin subfloor of some kind to smooth it? What other method would you recommend?

2. Is there any way to get real wood to follow this type of contour? I absolutely don't want to try leveling the floor due to the hallway interface and the door (which fits perfectly after long hours of adjusting and cutting). Also, because the slope is pretty severe, I don't want a trip hazard at the hallway entrance.

3. Besides sheet vinyl, what other flooring products do you recommend in this situation? I know we don't want laminate as the kitchen of course could lead to water exposure, as could the back door (we live in a snowy climate).

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Last edited by imautoparts; 10-18-2012 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 10-18-2012, 08:23 AM   #2
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Need suggestions regarding flooring with irregular floor


Stop.........

5-6"? Are you serious? And you have not done anything about it? What you are proposing to do with your floor is akin to painting your car while it is still covered in rust.....

Before you do anything....you need to fix your foundation issue. Flooring is the least of your issues.

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Old 10-18-2012, 08:28 AM   #3
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Need suggestions regarding flooring with irregular floor


or putting a bandaid on a broken leg ..... if not fixed properly it will affect other parts of the house such as the roof. the work you do on the floor will have to be redone in a few years.

I'd bring in a professional engineer that specializes in residential construction to evaluate your existing condition and determine a proper course of action to remediate the problems.

just my humble opinion
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Old 10-18-2012, 08:42 AM   #4
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Having the foundation lifted is a choice I'm not yet willing to make:

1. I am in Fort Wayne Indiana, and the zip code I'm in isn't the "popular" one.
This custom built 5 bedroom 3.5 bath home is currently worth about $85,000. I'm very reluctant to invest $5000 - $8000 in a repair, especially since we have no intention of selling. My father built this house and it is likely they'll carry me out of here feet first.

2. If I did take action, it would be to "pin" the foundation exactly as it is. There is a bath with through-slab plumbing in the section that has settled - and I sure as hell don't want to take a chance breaking my drain line or other elements.

3. The garage is also on the same wing. It occupies about 2/3 of the space. It has its own separate slab and raised footers, and has not subsided like the bedroom, bath and hall area. It seems to be preventing the type of roof deformation that might be common in these situations.

So anyway, Momma wants new flooring in the kitchen. I know this can't be a unique situation - I've been in plenty of century-old homes that have topsy turvy floors.... I'm looking for advice on redoing the floor covering at this time.

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Old 10-18-2012, 09:20 AM   #5
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Better stick with the carpet then with a mess like that.
Not uncommon with old houses to settle some, but that is huge.
If those pipes where going to brake dropping 5 or 6" sure would have been enough to do it. It also thown off all the drain line enough to cause major issues.

Sounds like your long over due for a mud jacking.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:42 AM   #6
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I wonder what mud jacking would cost. Certainly worth considering, if nothing else.

Sounds like that slope isn't much different than what one might use for a walk-in shower. If the floor is stable (big "if" I know) would ceramic tile over Ditra be a viable solution? Still, no matter what you use (tile, hardwood, vinyl) you're not going to be able to simply span the break. You'll need some sort of transition along that line.
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:59 PM   #7
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I wonder what mud jacking would cost. Certainly worth considering, if nothing else.

Sounds like that slope isn't much different than what one might use for a walk-in shower. If the floor is stable (big "if" I know) would ceramic tile over Ditra be a viable solution? Still, no matter what you use (tile, hardwood, vinyl) you're not going to be able to simply span the break. You'll need some sort of transition along that line.


Don't know if mud jacking would be the answer for this problem,sounds like helical piers would be a better choice,as you can get down to bed rock with them.
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Old 10-19-2012, 06:55 AM   #8
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Need suggestions regarding flooring with irregular floor


I appreciate everybody's attention to this. I'm going to explore the idea of simply "pinning" the foundation as it is using piers. I'll start a new thread as I explore the technology and the costs.

A couple of years ago a young guy from a mud pumping/foundation company came in and gave me an estimate of about $7000, but that included jacking the house and pressure-pumping the slab.

The big turn off there was not just the cost, but the fact he would have to cut big holes in my subfloor to do the pumping, and said I'd have to figure out a way to plug the holes. No thank you.

As far as my flooring, I believe the consensus is there is no decent way to bridge that break, so we're going to just do the new hard floor in the kitchen section, and have a transition to carpet at the end of the countertop on the stable part of the floor just east of the break.

Thanks to all for your input. Cheers!
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:42 AM   #9
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Need suggestions regarding flooring with irregular floor


A couple of years ago a young guy from a mud pumping/foundation company came in and gave me an estimate of about $7000, but that included jacking the house and pressure-pumping the slab.

The big turn off there was not just the cost, but the fact he would have to cut big holes in my subfloor to do the pumping, and said I'd have to figure out a way to plug the holes. No thank you.




There are no big holes cut in the slab,small holes are drilled at strategic points of the slab and slurry is pumped in under pressure to raise the slab,then the holes that were used to do the pumping are filled by the contractor to complete the job.
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:55 AM   #10
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... he would have to cut big holes in my subfloor to do the pumping, and said I'd have to figure out a way to plug the holes. No thank you.


"There are no big holes cut in the slab,small holes are drilled at strategic points of the slab and slurry is pumped in under pressure to raise the slab,then the holes that were used to do the pumping are filled by the contractor to complete the job."
The holes in the slab were no problem, it was the larger holes he had to cut in the subfloor to GET to the slab that he said we'd have to plug afterwards. He suggested we'd have to find out the depth of the holes, then manufacture some kind of cylinder of wood to the correct height, then glue them in place, and sand them even with the rest of the floor.

It also would require removing all the existing floorcovering.
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Old 10-19-2012, 01:25 PM   #11
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Need suggestions regarding flooring with irregular floor


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Originally Posted by imautoparts View Post
The holes in the slab were no problem, it was the larger holes he had to cut in the subfloor to GET to the slab that he said we'd have to plug afterwards. He suggested we'd have to find out the depth of the holes, then manufacture some kind of cylinder of wood to the correct height, then glue them in place, and sand them even with the rest of the floor.

It also would require removing all the existing floorcovering.




Gotcha, with helical piers you don't have that problem,as all the work is done outside.
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Old 10-19-2012, 04:05 PM   #12
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Need suggestions regarding flooring with irregular floor


Seven thousand dollars sounds like six thousand more than you'd be willing to pay to fix the foundation.

Another thing you could do is build up a level floor and merely have a step down into the hall. My house has a lot of 4-inch step downs to define rooms. If you're convinced that the house isn't continuing to sink, that wouldn't cost a lot in materials (be a lot of work, but consider it fun work).

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