Did you want a floor under that library built-in?
Some of you may remember that my next project in our small house was to be a built-in wall of library shelving made with second hand book shelves, some sitting on base cabinets made with second-hand office storage pieces. I am going to paint the base cabs and all the new molding between and around the bookcases a creamy color, then glaze it all with a stain to match the existing wood color on the book cases. Friday, Jim came over start the project, to get the base cabs set in place in our home's living room and to figure out the spacing for the book cases. Then the granite guy could come in and template.
Background information: When we bought this house, we knew that the previous owner had paid to have six Ram Jack (TM) foundation jacks installed to repair a foundation problem with the living room. The warranty does extend to us, as the new owners. Most of our house is on a basement foundation, but the living room, foyer, and laundry room are on a concrete pad foundation.
With the floor of our living room clear of almost all furniture, it is much more obvious that there is a dip in the floor. From both directions. From right to left it dips to the middle, and from front to back, it dips to the middle. Then Jim pulled out the heat register cover and said "Uh oh!" He found that the duct work does not come up to the register. It ends about four inches deeper, on the slab. Someone built a wooden floating floor on our slab in the living room. Jim pulled up the carpet and pried up a sheet of plywood and found the cracked and crumbling slab that the PO had hidden. There is about a 1" to 2" drop from the foyer to the living room (it slants, too). It is an odd drop. Our house has 4" or 6" changes between some rooms. The drop to the living room should have alerted us to the false floor there, being such an odd height.
The funny thing is, the PO did a lousy job of making a false floor. It is not level. But it fooled us enough, I guess.
So, at the very least, we need a new slab floor in the living room. Jim says that he would tie it into the footings with steel bars and use rebar to reinforce the concrete slab. He advised doing the floor extra thick (since we have to room to bring it up level with the foyer), then no matter what settling goes on under the floor, it will not move again. He says that it seems like it may not be tied in to the foundation footings currently.
What we fear is that the foundation has not stopped moving. Jim put in our new front door in 2007. There is a small (1/4" ?) crack that was not there in 2007. There is also a crack in the back corner of the foyer, above the opening into the living room, and between the laundry room and the garage. The threshold molding that Jim installed is no longer level with the floor and the foyer floor is not level. It could mean the jacks did not do the job. If the jacks are not holding, they have a warranty and will be replaced for free, but if they were not sufficient, then we are responsible for paying for additional measures to fix the problem.
Jim has a concrete contractor coming over on Tuesday to look at the floor. I will call the company that is working with Ram Jack to supply our warranty tomorrow, to see if they will come out.
No matter who has to pay for it, I think the worst part of this is that someone will likely be digging up my flower beds in the next several days. Spring is finally here. Things are coming up out there. I have one dark purple (almost black) leafy perennial that I have moved every year since I bought it. This spring, when it started coming up, I said to it,"don't fear poor guy. This year I am NOT going to dig you up, relax and spread out your roots, you are safe here now." He sits at the corner of the living room. I think I lied to him!