very uneven floor
We live in an 1840 farmhouse. The main house was totally renovated about 10 years ago (by previous owners), but the hundred year old "addition" (itÂs an old attached barn) to the house where the kitchen is located has not been touched in at least 30 years. The floor in the kitchen is not level- in fact there might be a 4-5" height difference from the high to low points, including a few sags here and there. The addition is on a crawl space foundation. Even though thereÂs a definite non-parallelness to the room, it seems like itÂs been that way for a while: the windows are level to the ground, but not to the ceiling. There isnÂt cracked plaster on the walls. So if the house was built level and then it settled, it hasnÂt moved much in at least 30 years.
We have spoken to a couple of different people about fixing the problem for us. The first guy offered to level the whole addition for us, leaving us with cracked walls and ceiling plaster, windows and doors that wonÂt opeerate any more. The second and third guys said the best thing to do is tear the whole structure down and put a new one in its place that looks like the old structure (but not crooked). The first bebuild quote came in and it shocked us- its two times what we paid for the house a couple of years ago, and way above our budget.
Today a friend at work made a suggestion for fixing the kitchen floor, without really touching the rest of the structure. This idea really intrigues me and I want peoplesÂ opinions on it. He said that after verifying that the sills are not in bad shape and arenÂt so wide that they project into the room (under the floor), we would remove the flooring and floor boards to expose the joists. Then, using a laser level, we would raise by shimming or lower by notching the joists as needed to make the floor more level, sistering new wood to the joists if needed. Then I would put the floor boards back down with screws to make things much more stiff than they are with 100+ year old nails.
IÂm a fairly handy person, this idea really intrigues me without scaring me. I would get to level the floor without moving any other part of the structure. Can people give me pros and cons of this approach?
One more piece of information is that with the floor boards removed, the joists would be at about waist level when standing on the ground. So working on them should be easier than if I had to work on a ladder.
Thanks for your help and thoughts.