My second floor in the house is not flat. Seeking a solution to level the floor

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Posted by: from Coquitlam
1/11/2013 at 3:52:27 PM

It is a more than 30 years old house. There was carpet on the second floor when we bought the house. We noticed the issue only when we installed laminate floors 6 years ago.

The contractor used cement to resolve the issue. But it didn't work very well. Now we want to do another renovation and install hardwood floor this time.

Is there any proper solution for this problem? How much will it cost saying 1200sf floor?

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Date/Time1/11/2013 at 4:56:57 PM

HI Julia,

You must find the root cause of the problem. This could be caused by, foundation settlement, cracked foundation, some kind of mechanical failure in the structure or even poor craftsmanship on the original build.

Using a quick level, or self-levelling compound as your previous contractor did, does not fix the root cause, however, it is a common practice for aesthetically fixing the problem.

The proper solution cannot be determined until the cause is discovered, and a budget cannot be accurately determined without a site visit from a registered professional engineer.

If it is caused by the foundation settling, you can jack the house up to compensate assuming it will not continue to settle. An engineer will be able to determine if the soil has reached full consolidation.

Another option to compensate for the slope, (if you have the head room) would be to strap the floor with wood sleepers to adjust for the slope and re-sheet the floor.

Hope this helps.


Amberwood Homes

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Date/Time1/11/2013 at 5:17:31 PM

Hi again Julia,

There are a variety of different reasons the floor could be out of level. In this case I would sincerely suggest contacting a flooring professional in your area and ask them to have a look.

Most flooring companies offer free estimates, and a seasoned estimator can typically give you a good idea both what the problem is, how to fix it, and the approximate price of the fix.

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Erroll from MVP Construction in Surrey
Date/Time1/11/2013 at 6:04:06 PM

Hi Julia

First off a flooring professional will not have enough framing or engineering knowledge to fully understand what kind of problems you are dealing with.

I concur with everything Ray from Amberwood homes has suggested.

My personal view....... well your home is 34 years old, and in Coquitlam. I can only assume your foundation has done all the settling it's going to do.

I noticed you never mentioned anything about the first floor being out of level. If the problem is in the foundation both floors should have the same problem. It may be compounded more on the 2nd floor. If it is only the second floor this may be a result of sub standard framing, or the inconsistent shrinkage of the original lumber used.

What ever the case it can be solved using 1 of the methods Ray suggested. If it's in both floors jacking up and shimming between the foundation wall and the wall plates with Iron shims and non shrink grout. If it is the middle of the house where it has sunk you can do the same with your interior bearing walls.

This will fix both floors. If it's only on the 2nd floor, the first floor ceiling should also be out of whack, so I would suggest using the same method on your first floor bearing walls.


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Julia in Coquitlam
Date/Time1/12/2013 at 11:50:38 AM

Thank you for all your reply!

Firstly I would correct that my house is 24 years old not 30 yet on a Coquitlam hill. Secondly the 2nd floor is WAVING and uneven in living room and master bedroom, hope it is not a foundation problem. Thirdly, the first floor is also weird, I can see there is 3-4mm gap between baseboard and the laminate floor which was installed by the ex-owner.

I would ask contractor to fix the issue before they install new wood floor. Hopefully it is not too costly.

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Date/Time1/15/2013 at 3:22:20 PM

Hi Julia,

I agree that a qualified engineer should determine the root cause of the problem.

There are a few different ways to fix waving floors after the root cause has been found and fixed. Personally I never use leveling cement to fix anything other than basement floors. I prefer to remove all the flooring right down to the joists then use a laser to determine the highest point. Once I have the highest point I start sistering the joists with 2"x8"-10" Lumber glueing and screwing every 6" then bolting every 12". It not only levels the floor perfectly, but strengthens it too.

Care must be taken to make sure all load bearing walls are fully supported though.

I find that this method is cost effective and works well.



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