Leveling Bowed Floor

Discussion in 'Floors, Stairs and Lofts' started by rancher1, 4 Sep 2010.

  1. rancher1

    rancher1

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    The floor joists on our old two story ranch house dining room were badly bowed -- a two inch drop or more on each end. A bathroom off one side was 2 1/2 inches lower. We added a foundation and more beams to support the ends and researched how to level the subfloor.

    We looked at planing the tops, cutting a "V" to let them settle and replacing them. To replace them, we would also have to replace beams that were supporting them. That seemed too much of a challenge for a DIY and a two story house.

    We had to replace flooring and stud ends on two sides of the room and were able to do some raising and leveling. The whole house sloped to the back and we raised it close to level by jacking up beams and replacing the supports.

    Using leveler would have been the best solution, but it was over $1000.00 for materials and would be real heavy at the deep ends.

    We finally decided to install a level 1/2 inch plywood floor over part of the subfloor and leveler to the plywood. We marked the points on the subfloor where the 1/2 inch rise and backer board would be level with the high point and installed wood strips level with the high point along the walls. Where it dropped to the bathroom, we did a cutout for the door and a small riser to the dining room. Cutting the support strips for the edge was tedious with a lot of re-cutting and shimming. To support under the plywood, we found we could mark short level spots, measure the gap and cut strips in one thickness for each gap. We glued the strips to the floor and to the plywood.

    It seems to be working all right. The floor is solid and tight.

    Next, we installed backer board over the plywood for tile. That left about a 50 square foot semi-circular section around the high point where we had to transition from the new plywood and backer board to the high point. We decided to use Levelquik leveler to fill up to the plywood and backer board from the high point. We brushed Levelquik primer on all the area for the leveler.

    It was the first time we had used a concrete leveling product and even though we researched the installation, it was a challenge. The installation instructions are very good and should be followed exactly. I mixed the leveler in a clean 5 gallon bucket with a drill paddle, measuring the water precisely. My paddle clogged up, slowing the mixing process. I poured the mix on the floor and my wife stood ready to spread. We weren’t sure exactly where and how to pour the mix on the floor. Later, I found a forum that said to just dump the whole bucket in one place and let it find its level.

    I poured the mix along the edge of the plywood, but it was hard to tell if enough was going on to fill up to the top of the backer board. It seemed pretty close and filled about 1/3 of the area. I tried to get the next batch mixed and on in 10 minutes as directed and poured it on the outer edge of the first pour. It headed toward the plywood, and then stopped short, forming a wrinkle. I had my wife pull the leveler to the plywood with the back of a rake and feather the edge to the backer board. It looked like time between pours was important. We used four bags of leveler to complete the job.

    The finished surface was level and beautifully smooth in most areas. It is super hard. In our first two pours, there were some pits and hollows, but not a real problem for laying tile. We also found that in extremely shallow areas, the leveler can bow up slightly.

    We found three suggestions in forums that would have helped us. We live in a hot, dry climate. 1. Mix and pour quickly, in less than 10 minutes. 2. If possible, don’t touch it. Let it find its own level. 3. Stop all drafts. We had both doors open and that cause a skim to dry quickly on the top of the leveler.

    Our next step is to apply Redgard waterproofing, recommended by Home Depot, over the leveler to prevent cracking.

    Using the leveler to fill to a precise edge made the process more challenging. Filling to a wall would be easy and the leveler would be a great solution.
     
  2. looneyfitter

    looneyfitter

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    would you not have been better off adding a floating floor ontop of you eiisting floor and leveling that?
     
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  4. rancher1

    rancher1

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    Maybe. What's a floating floor?
     
  5. looneyfitter

    looneyfitter

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    basically you would place 2by2 at 400 centers,level that and lay a 18mm chip board on top. You could also use 2by1 (some buttons on my key board dont work) but would have to pack it, support it, more often, which would mean you dont lose as much height.

    HTH Gareth
     
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