Fix a Sagging Floor
LESLIE: Jim in Connecticut needs some help with a basement. What’s going on at your money pit?
JIM: Hi, I have a house that’s about 70 years old …
JIM: … and my kitchen floor is sagging a little bit. And the house is made out of like a lot of milled timber; not your traditional 2x12s.
JIM: And one of the pieces has rotted and they put up a steel post under it but I’d like to raise my floor up a little bit to make it even when I redo my kitchen. And I know if I do it too fast you can crack the plaster, so I wanted to know what the best way is to jack it up a few inches.
TOM: Well, Jim, it takes 70 years for that house to sag and trying to lift it back up any quicker than that is bound to cause you some problems. What I would recommend is you stabilize the structure and by that I mean if you’ve got any rotted or decayed areas you want to basically stabilize it so you don’t get any further movement.
In terms of trying to level that floor, you’re almost always better off trying to level it on top of the floor than to try to raise the floor structure. By using, for example, a floor leveling compound, once you – if you’re doing a kitchen you want to pull all the cabinets out, level the floor with a compound and then start your new build on top of that so you have a flat floor surface to kind of work up from. If you try to jack things up, you’re going to find that you are going to crack walls; you could pull wires apart, pipes apart; all sorts of things can happen when you try to move a structure that’s well settled in at that age.
JIM: Excellent and thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Jim. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.