Sloping floor problems
I am looking for ideas… Please help.
Here is my situation: Recently purchased an 1890 Colonial. The house has great curb appeal and it is full of potential. Unfortunately it is plagued by years of lack of maintenance and poor repairs. Lack of craftsmanship, poor knowledge, and short-term fix approach is evident throughout. But I am up to the challenge of restoring this gem.
My floor situation is a perfect manifestation of the approach… There were 3 different materials used as floor covering on my main floor (1st floor). One of the bedrooms had carpeting installed. Kitchen, hallway and foyer had oak hardwood floors installed. Hallway and foyer actually open up to the living room where Pergo floors were installed (open space concept). The transition was capped by a transition moldings. It looked and felt horrible so I decided to extend the oak floors to the living room. Fortunately I was able to identify the exact species and brand of the pre-finished floor already installed. I purchased it and had it delivered. I knew that the floor sloped down a bit (front to back) and I planned on fixing it by jacking up the floor joists before I install the hardwood floors.
When I pulled up the Pergo floors, I found out that the floor not only slopes a bit but it actually dips about 1.5 inches in the middle of the house. I did not notice it before as the subfloor was built up in the center to offset the dip. I guess over the years they figured it was cheaper and faster to keep building up layers upon layers to mask the significant dip. So now I uncovered a 2.5 inch difference in floor height. (1.5 inch dip and 1 inch built up of old layers)
I would like to fix the slope and dip properly by raising the center beam in the basement and supporting it properly. Currently it is only supported by three temporary jack posts spaced about 8 feet apart. But I have a dilemma: if I raise the center of the flood properly, the existing oak floors (which are sitting on top of 1 layer of old floors and 1 layer of plywood) will be raised significantly as well.
It seems to me I have three options, but none of them seem to be very good. So I am looking for ideas as to how to fix the situation.
1. Raise the center beam to proper level (1.5 inches) and duplicate the existing ~1 inch build up throughout the living room. Not a great option as I have several doors and thresholds that would be affected.
2. Raise the center beam to proper level (1.5 inches). Strip the existing oak floors and sub-layers and level the whole floor. Not a perfect option as the existing oak floors are in great shape and replacing them would get expensive very quick.
3. Raise the center beam to proper level (1.5 inches) and have a 1 inch drop between living room and hallway. I like this option least. It will look horrible and I will kick my toes on it for the rest of my life.
Does anyone have any ideas that I may have missed? Any help will be appreciated.
Re: Sloping floor problems
You have figured out that when you start altering the bones of a house you get into some serious work.
#2 is ideal if you can handle the work.
Re: Sloping floor problems
If a floor is unlevel, it means the house is unlevel too. The proper fix is to level the house. As big a thing as that is it may not be an option, so you go for second best. I'm not quite sure about where the mis-matched elevations are but raising is easy; lowering isn't. The best way to level a floor if you can't fix the house is to sister the joists or use tapered furring strips atop the existing joists. If extra support is needed in the middle (which is common) add it. Maybe another Lally post or two will be enough, or if the existing beam is strong enough adjusting what's there may handle it.
Most of the older homes I've worked on recently are like yours and if the out-of-level is acceptable I just try to get the floor flat and solid instead. What I don't like to do is add thickness by adding subflooring material all over, but in small areas it doesn't add enough weight to matter. If you want to eventually make the whole floor system one elevation house-wide make the solution in this room fit that plan even if it means a slight step up or down for the time being- that way you don't end up doing this job twice.
Tags for this Thread