Latest Discussions : Flooring & Stairs


04:12PM | 12/26/01
Member Since: 12/24/01
7 lifetime posts
In another post I asked about how to fix a VERY uneven floor in a VERY old house. I received the following answer from Jay (which is greatly appreciated):

When remodeling a very old home, even a historic one, it's best to preserve as much of the original home that you can. At the same time, you don't want to compromise safety with 'looks'.

When it comes to a floor, usually, the original floor is 'removed' (vs. ripped up.) Then, new joists are installed/sistered to the existing floor system to level the floor. At the same time, walls and ceilings are given the 'appropriate' attention. Cost is of great importance here because the more you do to preserve the original home, the more it will cost.

You can cut corners as you like. However, you may hurt resale value AND recognition-value (as you put it) in the process. THere are PLENTY of books out there that you can buy that talk about how to remodel an old home whilst preserving its character. They're worth every penny. Just be sure that you buy a book (or books) that discuss your type of home and issues. It's money well spent.

My best to ya and hope this helps.

I am unable to remove the flooring - since the walls were put on after the fact. There is a kitchen built on top of the planks in another room. The planks run to the center of the house from each end. Then there were walls built on the outside walls to add insultation and electric wiring.

So I won't be able to remove the floor. I wish I could - but we did all we could to get the carpet tore out.

The landlord thinks that the only way to make the floor appear level is to lay carpet back down. We really had our hearts set on hardwood - but is it realistic to level the floor up (with shims and floor leveler) and put down red elm?


Jay J

05:47AM | 12/27/01
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi Linby,

Well, your next approach is to have the walls jacked up. It is a costly move but you may want to consider it by at least getting 2-3 estimates. Find out what they need to do so you can appreciate the cost.

As far a putting carpeting down, shimming won't help much. Shimming is only done on the joists. I think you'll end up with a floor that has a LOT of 'bounce' in it.

As far as the walls being built on top of the planks, consider having the planks cut at the Base-Plate. Then, you can level the floor and reinstall the planks. I'm not sure how it will look but it's an option. I do wonder how long this 'fix' will last. What's to say that the foundation isn't still 'moving' on you? I guess what I'm saying is that you ought to look into the cause of the settling / unevenness BEFORE you do anything. You see, whatever you do may not last very long.

My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J -Moderator

PS: It's hard to see the big picture here since I'm here and you're there. It doesn't cost anything to have your 'situation' evaluated and estimated. Just pick up the phone and ask your friends ...

PPS: God Bless America!


09:16AM | 12/27/01
Member Since: 12/24/01
7 lifetime posts
Thanks Jay. I have many friends in the construction and remodelling fields. I just wanted the opinion of someone that Bob Vila finds worthy to answer questions

They all suggest to use floor leveler in the low spots, (some have even said to add plywood over the top of that) and once the floor is close to level, put down the hardwood.

We know that the house is so crooked because the previous owners didn't keep an eye on things and some of the supporting beams rotted and started to sink. Then my Dad bought the house and tried to jack the house up - it broke the jack, so he left the jack there and built some new supports in the basement. The house hasn't settled since. There are no new cracks anywhere in the drywall we put up since then.



09:19AM | 12/27/01
Member Since: 12/24/01
7 lifetime posts
BTW, I forget to mention that the carpet wouldn't be shimmed, my Dad just thinks that carpet wouldn't show the unevenness as much as a hardwood floor would.

He thinks carpet is the only way to go

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