Sagging Floors and Bathroom Remodel


Old 02-02-05, 11:11 PM
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Angry Sagging Floors and Bathroom Remodel

Hello... I haven't posted in awhile since I had been resting up after my kitchen gut and remodel. At that time I had a problem with a sagging floor. The floor is still sagging, but I have moved on to tackle the bathrooom. I have a new whirlpool tub waiting in my garage.. I've been getting bids from electricians and am eager to install the tub.. Tomorrow I'm having a structural engineer come take a look at the house.

I'm not sure how much the floor sags but I'm adding a laser level to my shopping list... I'm guessing it's about 2" lower across 7'.
And it doesn't just sag in the bathroom - it's all along the back of the house (three rooms wide..) and appears to be sinking towards the center.

Also, I think the problem stemmed from water leaking 1) From the water heater in the kitchen 2) The plumbing in the bathroom and the cracks in the tub and 3) The water that was shooting out of the washing machine drain connection.

Once the tub is replaced, the causes of the problem should be eliminated..(Washer is fixed, water pan being put under water heater..)

From all I've learned here, I know the floor needs to be jacked up SLOWLY... I am thinking I would pay the structural engineer to advise me exactly where to place the jacks, etc. but I will do the labor myself... (It's too expensive to pay people to work in my spider infested crawl space..) LOL

If this process is going to take weeks.. do I have to wait to install the tub? I'm afraid if I install it now and then lift the floor, it could crack.. (existing tub has cracks and it leaks.. (I really should have remodeled the bathroom before the kitchen..)

Any thoughts on this? Thanks to any and all who can advise me!
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Old 02-03-05, 06:55 AM
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Hi Jill, glad to see you survivied the kitchen job. I hate to rain on your parade, but I'd recommend getting the floor stabilized before you install the tub. If you install it now and then go thru the floor jacking process, you're taking a chance on having future problems with the drain and water lines, not to mention cracking the tub as you fear.
I am thinking I would pay the structural engineer to advise me exactly where to place the jacks, etc. but I will do the labor myself...
I think this is a very sensible thing to do, now you may need some assistance getting jacks, blocking into place, but once the jacks are in place it's just a matter of crawling under there every 2-4 wks and raising the jack level like 1/4 turn, some it makes sense to handle that yourself.
water pan being put under water heater.
That sounds serious, if your water heater is leaking and needs a drip pan beneath it, it needs to go!! That should be a high priority item, the leak will probably get progressively worse leading to failure of the unit at some point. Keep us posted and keep all of your posts on this project in this same thread, makes it easier to follow what's happening.
Old 02-03-05, 09:51 AM
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Thanks Dell,

The Structural Engineer just left. I think I lucked out and got a good one! Not only is he knowledgeable, experienced, and kind, he is also willing to let me proceed in the most cost effective manner. (Meaning, I can do as much of the work as I am able, and he will just advise me.) He's not cheap - $100 an hour - but I think it will be money well spent. A friend warned that he may try to steer me towards contractors he has dealings with, but that's not the case at all.

He concurred that I should wait for the tub install as well. As he put it, "you've been using the bathroom that way for over a year now, a little longer wait won't hurt."

He was very impressed by my knowledge and familiarity with technical terms (lally columns, sistering joists, etc.) and by the fact I remodeled my own kitchen. Of course, I confessed I learned everything here, and told him to check out the site..

As for the water heater, it isn't leaking now, and hasn't since I've been here, but you can see marks on it where it had leaked (from the top) and the wood around it has rotted, so I know it did leak. In the plumbing forum they suggest putting a pan under the heater incase it ever does leak. Just being prepared!

On the advice of the engineer, I am re-considering moving the tank to the laundry room, as I had considered in the past. There is already a gasline and water line available... just need venting..

Since I have to put the bathroom remodel on hold until I fix the floors, I guess I can refocus on that..

Thanks for your reply! I'll keep you posted here.
Old 02-03-05, 12:48 PM
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The waiting game...

Ok, since I've decided to go ahead and wait until the weather improves until I fix the floor and install the tub, I am wondering what is OK to do in the bathroom remodel. I'm repairing the walls right now..

I'm planning to add wainscoting on the lower section, and paint above. I also plan to install a pedestal sink and new toilet as part of the complete remodel.

I know I can't live in an ugly bathroom for months.. so I'm going to go ahead and paint the walls, but think I should hold off on the wainscoting until the floor has been leveled. (I understand I'll have some cracks to repair after the floor gets lifted.. that's ok..)

I'm thinking I should just leave the toilet for now, although it is located on the high end of the room, and actually tilts to one side.. (I call it the Leaning Toilet of Peeza!) It's fun stuff sliding off that!! LOL

I really want to install the pedestal sink now. Right now there's a big cabinet taking up space, blocking parts of the walls I need to work on.. I'm assuming that when I lift the sagging floor I may have to diconnect the sink and reinstall it so it will be level. That doesn't seem too difficult. As for the floor, I was going to use a sheet of vinyl which cost $16.. I think I may put that down now.. but when the floor is level, will put in the little black and white tiles I have wanted for soooooooo long..

Is there any reason I shouldn't install the sink now and paint the walls? And can I possibly do more - keeping in mind that in a month or so the floor is going to be leveled?
Old 02-03-05, 06:57 PM
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Sounds like things are progessing well. As long as you don't mind pulling the sink back out when you level the floors, it's not that big a deal to disconnect the plumbing from it I guess, personally I'd hold off another month until you do the floors, but I ain't big on doing jobs twice, once should be sufficient, but I do this stuff for a living, time is money, etc, etc.
Old 02-04-05, 05:26 AM
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i'm with dell on that, but if you've got the time and the inclination to have a better looking bathroom now, why not.

what did you learn from the engineer? did he point out the cause of the sinking?

when i have to hold off on part of a project, I find another one that I can work until i can get back to it. Or i rest, which is also good.

good luck.

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