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Another uneven floor problem.....


TheRings's Avatar
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03-23-13, 05:47 AM   #1  
Another uneven floor problem.....

Hi all,
My husband and I are intending on putting laminate in our bedroom. It is on the second floor of a house about 60 or more years old. Below the bedroom is the bathroom, kitchen and stairs to the basement. The bedroom floor seems (so far anyway) relatively flat....I am by no means saying level, but flat which, from what I understand is the important thing for installing laminate. There is however one spot where it fairly abruptly slopes downwards a bit under 1 inch over 3 feet! Not cool. It slopes towards a door that is supposed to (I would assume) to a deck which wasn't installed (we just got the house last summer).

We can see some of this area from underneath, from the stairway to the basement. I've drawn up some REALLY rough sketches, and taken some pictures. Please bare with me, sketches aren't to scale and the measurements are VERY rough, quick and dirty.
And here is what is underneath....roughly:


Now, underneath there appears to be a board, which I have noted in red, that is underneath the floor joists in the vicinity of where things start sloping down. There is also some other lumber that has been attached to the floor structure for reasons unknown. Here are a couple of pictures of the area in question from underneath, taken from the door by the stairs, I'm sure the board is relatively obvious:




The hose goes (I presume) to the exhaust fan in the bathroom.

It is my theory (and correct me PLEASE if I'm off base) that the board and the other attached wood is causing some crowning in the joist, and if we remove it, or even replace it with a thinner board it will at very least minimize the crown and make it manageable with roofers felt, self leveler or whatever (something that will be decided once we can figure out how to deal with what I think is the root cause).

There is currently lino on the bedroom floor that got a tear in it and is peeling up (YUCK), that we haven't removed fully yet. We haven't looked at the actual sub floor from above, or done detailed measurements of peaks and valleys. This seems to be the obvious and big one to look at first though, and is the only part of the floor accessible from underneath. If anybody has any thoughts or input on how to deal with this I would LOVE to hear it. I know this is kind of long, but I hope I've given enough clear detail that things make sense. My husband and I are newbies, so please be gentle! We're on a limited budget so we're hoping to figure out how to do this ourselves. We are handy, but are hoping not to get in too far over our heads or out of our budget. Thanks for reading!

 
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czizzi's Avatar
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03-23-13, 06:03 AM   #2  
Pull back on your pictures a little bit and show us the complete expanse to the other wall. To me it looks like some form of repair was administered to those 2 joists. Not sure why they jacked up that area and inserted a 1 by board on top of that wall. Give us all a little more to work with.

 
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03-23-13, 07:45 AM   #3  
And why didn't they use their 2x sister at the top rather than the bottom?? Or full size sister to boot?

 
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03-23-13, 09:21 AM   #4  
Well, I tried to pull out a bit, but I'm not being too successful. If I pull back there are walls in the way (at the top there is a very small area, maximum ~5x3feet).
I tried one pic from way below....from the stairs lookingstraight up:

Here I pulled out past the door, unfortunately I had to go lower to actually see things at all:


I'm currently trying to figure out how to get a ladder to stay so I can have a closer look at what is going on. I THINK it is sitting on top of the framing of the bathroom wall. Its just a really precarious spot to get at (though I guess I'll need to if we work at things from below....)

Now, would it help to pull down the drywall below it? I don't want to, but if I have to I will (I suppose it wouldn't be that bad....just a messy pain in the behind).

As for the sistering....I have NO idea. My guess is that it isn't actually structural, boards look solid, just old. Perhaps they were trying to shore things up for that door in the bedroom, or they were trying to level the floor and over compensated. This house is full of poorly executed ideas, strange cubby-hole shelving, poor layouts etc....heh, I won't even get started, I'm sure you've all run across a few of these houses.

Sorry the pics aren't the best, and probably aren't showing what you need to see. If I can get up there I might be able to take multiple shots and string them together to show the structure. I'll keep staring and brainstorming, in the meantime any more input is welcome

 
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03-23-13, 11:33 AM   #5  
If I was to venture a guess at this stage, I would say that the whomever installed the PEX that goes across and up into the ceiling stiffened up the original beams, jacked up the floor, installed the 1 by piece of lumber to give the PEX clearance for when someone eventually would put new drywall up. An after thought was the run of flex vent tubing that was just easily run from one joist cavity to another. You also probably have some electrical lines that will get crushed if you remove the 1 by material on top of the wall. It also looks as if they cut out the header for the door to run the PEX as well.

Yep, good clean work...(sarcasm off).

 
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03-23-13, 12:43 PM   #6  
Interesting....
I've been staring at it and thinking that it at least had something to do with the flex pipe and potentially wiring (I'll have to really get in there to see how the wiring figures in). The PEX tube (I assume you mean the black pipe) I believe it is the vent for our outflow pipes to our septic. I didn't put it on any of the sketches, but it runs all the way up through the closet in the bedroom and out the roof.

What a hassle to deal with to install some flooring UGH! I guess all we can do is try to not repeat the previous owner's mistakes/workmanship and repair what we can without breaking our budget (or our brains!).

So, am I right in thinking that this whole mess with that extra beam is the reason for the crown in the floor? I've read up on several ways to level floors (roofing felt, cedar shingles, sand, self leveler), but it seems to me so far that this dip (almost an inch over 3 feet) is a bit much for those. My husband thinks/hopes perhaps we'll find something else causing it under the lino, but we don't want to tear it up until we're ready to fully dig into the project (meaning moving our bedroom). Given the state of that extra piece of board, does it seem a better bet to deal with that first then see what else might lurk? Can we actually deal with the crown or are we stuck going for more lino or carpet (we really don't want either of those!).

Any more input is always welcome, and if I can manage to figure a way to get in closer and get pictures I will post for sure. Thanks so much for the input!

 
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03-23-13, 02:07 PM   #7  
The PEX tubes are the "red" tubes running across the bottom of the beams. Get a light and stick you camera up into the floor joist area and snap a couple of pictures down the floor joist cavity. I want to see how the jacked up beam is interacting with the ceiling in the adjacent room. Probably won't provide much additional info, but doesn't hurt to investigate. You are our eyes and ears on this one.

If you have a level I would also ask that you take some reading on the overall floor upstairs. If this is caused by jacked up floor joists, the floor in the bedroom should gradually rise across the whole bedroom until 3 ft from the wall and then drop to the original height. It looks like they jacked the floor but couldn't move the exterior wall, thus the abrupt drop.

 
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03-23-13, 04:00 PM   #8  
Actually, the red pipes are actually very large wires....its electrical. I haven't tried tracking them just yet, but I'm pretty sure they go to the breaker box and presumably upstairs.

I'll definitely get some readings with the level and some pics under the floor if I can get in there. Gotta wait for some help from my husband, much safer since he'll be able to keep me from tumbling down the stairs (if you think the rest of the house is scary, you should try those stairs!).

 
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