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Sloping floors. When does charm become fix-it?

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Sloping floors. When does charm become fix-it?

Postby HouseNut » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:15 am

I know there have been threads on how to fix or jack but I'd like people to voice in with their overall opinions on slopiness. (I know that's not a word but it works.)

We have about a 2" dip on a 23' span. Structurally it's sound, more or less. lol

Previous owners, previous to the previous, in the 1970's, leveled the floors using everything from 1" t&g in the middle over shims to tar to taper off the edges. Up until that time it was the original floors with just a layer of paint or linoleum.

We're ripping it all out and going back to the original slopey pine floors. I think, considering it's sound, that the slope adds charm but I'd like to get people's opinions about where the line is between charm and something you need to jack up.

Where is your line?
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1820's Urban Farmhouse in Eastern Ontario
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Re: Sloping floors. When does charm become fix-it?

Postby pqtex » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:56 am

My husband leveled our house and added an additional support beam and piers on each side of the house. Existing beams were all in good shape except for two places that needed sistering and some repair. I knew the floors had a slope, but I really didn't think it was that bad. Left to my own choice, I probably would have left it alone, but he believes that leveling it will reduce stress on the windows and will allow doors to open and close properly. Now that the house is leveled, we will begin working on the interior. I will begin working on the windows soon, and I'm glad we did it. It did make a difference. Our house is on piers with open crawl space that is easily accessed. Although that didn't make the project easy, it made it a lot easier. While he was under the house, he also added termite guards between the piers and the beams. Our area is very, very termite prone, and we were lucky that we found no sign of current termites and only one small area of termite damage that looked very old. The house was probably treated decades ago with something pretty potent (and probably now banned). Just a guess, though. Ours is a one story house, about 2000 square feet. Doing it ourselves (well, him), we saved thousands of dollars, but it was tiring, hot, sweaty, very dirty work. To do the job, we purchased a hydraulic jack, laser level, pressure treated beams, tin (for termite guards), concrete blocks (additional piers), and cement mix (for pouring in ground footings for piers). I don't know how to advise you. I would rather have level floors if possible. By leveling the house, it will make all of your interior projects easier. Good luck with your decisions. Jill
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Re: Sloping floors. When does charm become fix-it?

Postby rehabbingisgreen » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:00 am

Well my thought is if the furniture looks tilted it's time to jack things up.

I'm so worried about my house because it's sat so long without any care that the boards (hardwood floors and more) are actually bending and I am afraid it is going to take a LONG time to get this straightened back out. I have a hump in the center of the house where a wall sits in the middle of the basement.

The last house we lived in (rental) had badly sloping floors but lucky for them it has a crawl space and the piers could be reset easily enough. If I didn't live in an area where I need a hole in the ground for shelter in a storm, I'd never have a basement again, I'm so sick of the problems.
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Re: Sloping floors. When does charm become fix-it?

Postby matchbookhouse » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:41 pm

Well, my PO's had the house jacked up and piered due to the extreme sloping of the floors; seems some of the joists had sagged due to the high groundwater level in the crawlspace and excessive length. The contractor who did it leveled the house to within 1/2" all around the perimeter. That being said, the floors still slope throughout, in all different directions. There are two door lintels that are only about 2 feet apart; one slants to the right and the next to the left. Since the house is now properly supported and the crawlspacer is sealed and dehumidified, I don't worry about it. I figure the slanted floors and door/window headers are just part of the house's quirky charm. And yes, most of the furniture has to be "adjusted" to keep from tilting; that's where the name matchbookhouse came from, since they're the easiest means to level up furniture ends. Of course, if the furniture is leveled on a sloping floor, then it looks crooked against the wall. Can't win 'em all!
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Re: Sloping floors. When does charm become fix-it?

Postby HouseNut » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:59 pm

I'm really not sure we'd be able to fix ours so I think I'm hoping others have found love in their slopes.

We have a support wall on the mail floor that has the upstairs floors pretty level but the main floor has the slope. If we jack the main floor we'd be causing a slope upstairs. Kind of strange.

I think whoever built this place was dipping into the moonshine more than building. Seriously. That's the only way to explain the floors and also why the windows in the living room are really, really off center. One is 4" away from the fireplace (in the center of the wall) and the other is 14".

Apparently stills were a big business around her during that time period. lol
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1820's Urban Farmhouse in Eastern Ontario
(The picture is the "before" picture... before the PO's bought it and destroyed it. We're still trying to get it back to that.)
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Re: Sloping floors. When does charm become fix-it?

Postby matt8667 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:33 pm

Personally i cant stand slopped floors to any degree. I leveled half the kitchen floor so far and i was about 1 1/2 of drop in 3' and i got it down to about 1/2-3/4'' of drop. What bugs me most is someone added a jack post on the main beam and went a little too high with it and then re skim coated the whole house. So i have a bit of a speed bump right down the middle of the house and i dont want to touch the jack and crack the plaster,lol.
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Re: Sloping floors. When does charm become fix-it?

Postby Raine » Tue Oct 05, 2010 2:55 pm

2" dip in 23 ft sounds very tolerable. I, like matt , don't like dippy floors. One of the selling points for me on my 110 yr old house was the level floors. All but one bedroom. It has a serious dip in the middle. I suspect it was due to a waterbed or the water tank (from sistern) leaking . The tank is in the wall in that room . Someday I'll pull up the carpet and try to repair.
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Re: Sloping floors. When does charm become fix-it?

Postby Old Colonial » Tue Oct 05, 2010 4:46 pm

Two or three inch drop?? Is that a problem?? New windows and clapboard were put on my house before I bought it. Because they were installed level and plumb, I can't jack my perimeter walls to level it unless I want to redo all the windows and clapboard. The main section of the house is 40 x34. When I tell you, your eyes will probably look like this >>> :shock: but diagonally from the front corner to the rear I have about an 8" (yes, that's right) eight inch drop. I keep a box of different thickness pieces of wood to use for shims to level furniture. The fun part is when my grandaughter comes and watching her walk around. It makes me want to sing "weebles wobble but they don't fall down".

To give you an idea of what I have to deal with here are a couple pictures from the work I've been doing on my living room. In the room picture, notice the scribing I had to do when I installed the wainscotting. The second picture is about a 4 foot cut off showing the scribed contour.

Jeff
Living room floor.JPG
Hills and valleys in my floor.
Living room floor.JPG (27.42 KiB) Viewed 4311 times
Scribed board.JPG
Cut off from the scribed wainscotting (the lovely arm attached to my beautiful wife)
Scribed board.JPG (64.74 KiB) Viewed 4308 times
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Re: Sloping floors. When does charm become fix-it?

Postby HouseNut » Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:50 pm

Jeff, how old is your house? Your floors have that same "stub your toe walking on a floor" character as ours. And in spite of saying that, in the pictures, I have to say, they don't look off too much at all. Nothing out of the ordinary, really.

I love the grandbaby thing. We have another grandbaby coming in the spring so I'm going to have to make sure they visit often. lol

I'm starting to think that unless I have to tether myself to the bed at night to avoid sliding out, I won't worry too much, especially if it can't be fixed.
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Rebecca
1820's Urban Farmhouse in Eastern Ontario
(The picture is the "before" picture... before the PO's bought it and destroyed it. We're still trying to get it back to that.)
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Re: Sloping floors. When does charm become fix-it?

Postby Old Colonial » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:29 pm

HouseNut,

We've been here for six years this month. We haven't had to tether ourselves in bed yet. Our first night in the house we had to figure out where to put the head of the bed so we could have our head uphill.

Our house was built somewhere around 1806. The living room only has about a 2" variation. One wall was made from 1" thick pine. The hinge side of a doorway on that wall had dropped 1 1/2". I had to dismantle the wall and take an inch and 1/2" off the bottom on the board on the latch side to square up the doorway again.

My hallway is worse. It has about a 4" drop in 24 feet. I had to find a happy medium for baseboard height. Because it is long I was able to put them in level and fudge some height difference across the doorways. They still have some height difference at each end. With that much drop if you run any woodwork parallel to the floor instead of level it screams "ski slope".

Kitchen has about a 2" drop in 12 feet. Since I made all the cabinets a little different I was able to hide the drop and then take advantage of the difference by returning to standard height coming out of a corner. see picture http://www.oldhouseweb.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=21018&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=40

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