uneven floors: which fix is better?

weedyacresSeptember 10, 2008

I posted in a thread a few weeks back about the subfloor on a room addition being higher than the subfloor of the existing house. The GC gave us a small discount and we agreed to fix it ourselves.

The room we need to fix is a 10x10 sitting area added on to the master bedroom on the 2nd floor. There's a 5' doorway connecting the two, and the existing bedroom has 1-year-old carpet. We want to carpet the sitting area, connecting it to the existing carpet. The problem is, the subfloor is about 1/4" higher in the addition. GC said it's because the joists on our existing house have dried and shrunk, and are thus shorter than the ones they used (this is true; we had to plane down some joists we sistered in another room).

Our options are:

1. Pull up the carpet and spread a liquid compound to build up the bedroom floor (not SLC, because I don't think that our bedroom floor is unlevel). This was the GC's recommendation. We'd pay the carpet installers to do this. I'm concerned that this will be noticeable...valid concern?

2. Remove the subfloor in the addition, plane down the joists and replace the subfloor. We'd likely DIY this, and we've ripped up floors before, so aren't too worried about our ability to do so. But will the new joists eventually shrink and make this room lower than the bedroom?

I'd appreciate advice or suggestions for other options.

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Do not allow an untrained person to install any self leveling underlayment...it takes a certain skill to do it well and must be done to the book. I doubt that any carpet installer has the training to do that well.

Some carpet installers use manufactured "shims" to solve rooms of unequal height when what is wanted is an uninterupted flow from room to room. However, you'd probably notice the slight ramping effect, whereas others might not.

Why not just pull up the carpet and install 1/4" wood underlayment in the lower room? It would seem to me to be the least expensive option.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 10:48PM
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I second the motion. Glenn is right on the money.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 9:23AM
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Mix up some ARDEX SD-F or Mapei PlaniPatch and float that out, into the lower room about 5 feet or further, and it will not be noticed

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 10:10AM
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There's a couple of ways to fix this and I think the contractor should have to be the one to fix it and pay for it. He's selling you a bill-of-goods. Why didn't he simply notch the new floor joists to match the old joists elevation when he built to addition? He screwed up and now is scamming you even further.:)

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 3:42PM
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Hmmm, 4 people 3 answers. How's a girl to decide? The build-up would be noticed? Would not be noticed?

As for pulling up the whole carpet and building up the subfloor, first of all the room is 13x25 and full of furniture (making it not feel like the easiest option, and secondly, we're going to continue the carpet into the hall, so then we'd have an issue with a step down into the hall.

Planing down the joists, truthfully, feels the best to me, because then the whole thing's level and even. I agree, Bud, the contractor should have done this when he attached it, but he gave us a concession and we'll fix it ourselves. Would the new joists shrink over time and pull down the floor?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 10:54AM
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Doubtful that they would shrink down enough to be noticed.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 7:08PM
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This is an easy fix that would take me about an hour to pull off, without the wait to let the patching compound dry (about another hour)

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 7:29PM
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Yes...your solution would be quick, relatively inexpensive and would do the job. Can't dispute that...or would want to.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 8:17PM
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OK, floorguy, you've got my attention. I went and googled around to get a bit better informed about Planipatch. Two follow up questions:
1. Can you use it on OSB (product data sheet says plywood)?
2. Any concerns with DIY-ers doing it?

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 8:15PM
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1.) Yes

2.) depends on your skills and understanding of the directions

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 12:03AM
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Thanks. I've done many things just by reading directions, so I think I'll have a go at it.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 10:08PM
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