How to Level a Sagging, Uneven Floor The Money Pit

How to Level a Sagging, Uneven Floor The Money Pit

How to Level a Sagging, Uneven Floor


RUSSELL: Beola (sp) in Pennsylvanias doing something with her wood floor. Whats happening?

BEOLA (sp): The floor is uneven. Its like going downhill.


BEOLA (sp): And what I had chosen to do was use floor leveling .

TOM: A floor leveling compound, Beola (sp)?

BEOLA (sp): Yes, floor leveling compound.

TOM: OK. What kind of what kind of floor are you trying to put down?

BEOLA (sp): Well, the floor is already in.

TOM: Oh, its already in.

BEOLA (sp): Right. But whats happening is it has about two-and-a-half about two-and-a-half inches of (INAUDIBLE) on one end of the

TOM: Wow. What kind of floor was put in?

BEOLA (sp): It was a hardwood floor.

TOM: Oh, man. Listen, Beola (sp), at this stage you cant use a floor leveling compound. That has to be done before the hardwood floor is put in. Once the floor is put in the only way to level it out is to take the floor up first. And thats just like doing the whole job over again. If the floor was unlevel the contractor should have fixed it before he put the hardwood in; not after.

BEOLA (sp): No, this is an this is an old, old house .

LESLIE: Well, thats from the house settling over years.

BEOLA (sp): Exactly. Thats what it came from.

TOM: OK, so you what you want to do is just level this floor now or do you just want to do you want to put a new floor down?

BEOLA (sp): No, I just wanted to level this floor out.

TOM: Alright. Well, if you put if you level the floor out youre going to have to have some sort of a new flooring to put on top of it. The compound is not a finished floor. Its just a material that helps you level the floor. What room are we talking about here, Beola (sp)?

BEOLA (sp): Were talking about a middle bedroom.

TOM: A what kind of room?

BEOLA (sp): A middle its a middle bedroom. I have three bedrooms up there.

TOM: Its a bedroom. OK.

BEOLA (sp): Its the one that is in the middle. Yes.

TOM: Alright. If youre going to put it down in the bedroom you could use a floor leveling compound to level the floor and then on top of that you could carpet or something of that nature. But the floor leveling compound itself is not a finished floor. Thats what you need to know.

Now, structurally it doesnt make any sense for you to try to raise this floor. Because once a floor settles like that if you try to bring it back up after all that years of settlement youre inevitably going to do some other destruction in the house. You could crack walls, crack ceilings, pull pipes apart, separate wires and things of this nature. So at this point, the good news is its probably not a structural issue because its very common in an older house. But the bad news is youre going to have to cover that hardwood floor with a leveling compound and then maybe carpet over that or put engineered hardwood on top of that or put carpet on top of that. But youre not going to be able to raise the existing floor. Do you follow me?

BEOLA (sp): Right.

LESLIE: You know, its very common with old homes. I hate to say it but our house, in the dining room you can see, on the jamb from the dining room into the kitchen, theres probably a good two or three inches. The house has settled that much over the almost 100 years that its been there. And while its character and charm, as we call it, its structurally its no biggie.

TOM: Right, exactly. Because you know when they built the older homes they were the beams were small and the spans were long so you got a lot of movement. So every old house is going to have a lot of movement. A common mistake, though, that I wanted to make sure Beola (sp) didnt make is trying to raise that floor back up structurally. It never works out. So youre better off

LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Well, is there a way that you could pull those planks up and then rebuild like say a platform on top of those floor joists to just level it? I mean thats a huge project.

TOM: (overlapping voices) Well. Yeah, but its a its a you could but its its a big its a big, stinking mess I mean is what it is. You could tuck the floor up and you could shim out. I mean for example, in my house my bedroom floor sags and thats right above the living room ceiling. When we worked on the ceiling we actually firred out the ceiling to take this huge belly out of the middle of it from the sag.

LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

TOM: So the ceiling looks perfectly flat now. But the floor above is still

LESLIE: Is still

TOM: is still sagged, of course, so.

LESLIE: Its funny. I swear, in our bedroom upstairs from the dining room, which also is on the slant, I swear, if I dont lay completely over to the side thats slanting I swear I roll over in the middle of the night. (laughing)

TOM: (overlapping voices) Youre rolling? (laughing)

LESLIE: Im always like, I feel so much higher up on this side.

TOM: I have a I have a nightstand with two drawers in it. (Leslie chuckles) I cant open them both at the same time because its already tilting forward. (laughing) It wants to roll over. Ive had to catch it a couple of times.

LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Ah, character. (laughing)

TOM: Thats right. You know, the realtors have a word for that. Its called charm.

LESLIE: And it adds an extra 50 grand.

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