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Old 12-14-2007, 01:55 PM   #1
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Wavy Subfloors and Flooring Choices


In need of some flooring help!

My house was built in 1979 out of unfinished "sawmill" lumber, the builder worked at a mill and cut most of the wood himself. The house is very solid but the floors are somewhat uneven. The joists measure almost 2.5 inches by 11 inches and are very solid but I guess over time the wood has cured in an uneven manner. We have just pulled up the carpet in the main living room but cant decide on hardwood vs laminate as a replacement. I know that new plywood was put down less than 5 years ago and the subfloor is both structurally and cosmetically in great shape, no imperfections, just a tad "wavy" and uneven. In this particular room, there are some variations as much as 3/8 of an inch high or low but over no less than a 6 ft span. My wife just wants to slap some laminate down and be done since we don't plan to live here for more than 10 years or so. Since this room is only about 250 sq ft cost is not a huge factor but I don't want to invest in hardwood if it means major subfloor repair.

Looking for suggestions!

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Old 12-14-2007, 03:14 PM   #2
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This is a tough one.... I suppose you can still do it just have a wave show up as the final finish product as wood do have flessibility. If you don't want that... what else can you do besides straight out the subflooring by replacing or put one on top of it....

well... wait for a floor expect answers though....

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Old 12-14-2007, 09:55 PM   #3
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Wavy Subfloors and Flooring Choices


Adding another layer of underlayment isn't going to fix anything. That 3/8" in 6' out of plane is too much for a quality installation. You need no more than 1/4" in 10' and 1/16" in 12" of the required plane. If you don't fix it you'll have problems with both hardwood and laminate. The tongue and groove may not interlock? Also, the straight lines of the planks will really highlight the waves. In addition, floating laminates will sound even worse than they normally do, and they'll bounce. Just hate that.

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Old 12-16-2007, 05:15 PM   #4
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recarpet.
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Old 12-18-2007, 10:33 PM   #5
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I've put in several laminate floors both on concrete and over tongue and groove wood sub floors. I've had to use leveling compound occasionally on the concrete floors but the wood floors have been nearly dead flat. But I had wondered how one would go about flattening a wood floor if it needed it.

These are my completely uninformed thoughts.
1. leveling compound. I think I read in the directions that it can be used on wood although as I recall there were some extra difficulties that I didn't face on concrete.

2. Can a hardwood refinishing sander be used to sand down high spots?
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:50 AM   #6
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if you means those self-levelling compound, they are kind of too expensive.

I saw a video tape from laminate manufacturer (Shaw) playing just use those concrete mix to patch up by a towel in lot spots of wood subflooring...

sanding I would think it is a real mess and wouldn't suggest go to that route.
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:48 AM   #7
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Pull up the sub floor.
Sister joists to make them level.
Re-install sub floor.
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:00 AM   #8
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Agree with redline: I redid the subfloor in my kitchen where it needed it, as opposed to thinking my hallway didn't need it enough to justify redoing it. The soft spots and waves in the laminant in the hallway drives me nuts everytime I walk on it. I won't be able to take it to much longer before I decide to rip it up and redo! Strive to do it right the first time, if you can't afford it now wait 'til you can. I've got at least a dozen projects on hold until I can afford the right materials.
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KUI****G View Post
if you means those self-levelling compound, they are kind of too expensive.

I saw a video tape from laminate manufacturer (Shaw) playing just use those concrete mix to patch up by a towel in lot spots of wood subflooring...

sanding I would think it is a real mess and wouldn't suggest go to that route.
I'm not disagreeing with the folks who are advising the removal of the subfloor (I don't have the expertise to have an opinion) but the cost of self leveling compound compared to the overall cost of the job is insignificant. Self leveling compound is somewhat different than regular cement in that it is easier to apply thinly because it is applied in a very wet mixture and can be screed very easily and to some degree self levels.
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:42 PM   #10
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remember folks,,, concrete doesn't adhere to wood.
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:44 PM   #11
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shelf levelling command is real expensive if the size is like a hundred square or more ft.... I use a small can before for a very small area (<10sq.ft) and has to pay somthing like 20 ,30...bucks can't remember...
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:47 PM   #12
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concrete and wood sure not a good "marriage"... but people used to lay tiles on wood with mud mixed in the old days... so for levelling and laminate purpose... may be it is good enough...
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:14 PM   #13
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I'm not a concrete guru, but I've done a fair amount of tile work and a little laminate, I believe the concrete used as a leveler is just going to break up under pressure from all the flexing the wood is going to do above and below.
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KUI****G View Post
shelf levelling command is real expensive if the size is like a hundred square or more ft.... I use a small can before for a very small area (<10sq.ft) and has to pay somthing like 20 ,30...bucks can't remember...
The self leveling compound I'm talking about comes in fifty pound bags and is mixed like cement except that much more water is added. I don't remember what I paid for a bag but it is in the range of twenty dollars.

Once again I am not advocating this solution.

One thought I had about lifting up the subfloor and shimming was that it might be easier to sister two by fours onto the joists to provide a very level surface than trying to get shims just right. ETA: I just realized this was exactly what redline said. Sorry.

Last edited by davefoc; 12-20-2007 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:22 AM   #15
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the shelf levelling compound I used is really hard and good quality. I used it on plywood subflooring. even a very thin layer at some area is as hard as steel and as it's nature is filling up.... I put membrane(ditel) on it before laying tiles though ... I suspect the quality of the one I used may be those expensive type... but then who know... things are redicularous expensive in Canada...

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