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IowaSPEMan
Leveling Old Plank Style Subfloor
IowaSPEMan

As a recent home buyer of a 100 year old home I've undertaken a significant project on the 2nd story and need some advice.

I am going from room to room and starting with redoing the master bedroom but the subfloor is definitely not level. the master BR has its own pitched roof over it that pops out from the main roof so I believe the side walls help to support a little roof and shouldn't be messed with.

My dream with the room is to build dresser drawers into the side walls and to level the floor. The drawers I'll have to do without taking out the current studs since the other side of the studs are partly exterior and supporting stucco walls. The subfloor, however, is not level.

There is about a 1-1.5 inch unevenness with the middle of the floor being a little higher than the sides (this may be because the side walls support some weight and have pushed down over time). The subfloor is made of diagonal 7" planks that go throughout the whole 2nd level. I also would like it to tie in to some of the other rooms and hall way. There is also a tile bathroom on the 2nd floor to consider with matching the floor heights. Any advice on how to level this room would be much appreciated.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Leveling Old Plank Style Subfloor
Mastercarpentry

Unless it was built with the slope, whatever is supporting that floor has sunk and may continue sinking. Therefore the proper fix is to correct that sinkage which is likely a foundation issue. With any other approach if the sinking continues the 'repair' will just follow along with it rendering it useless. With than much slope involved something is rather seriously amiss and I'd want to be sure it's corrected before doing anything more.

Phil

IowaSPEMan
Re: Leveling Old Plank Style Subfloor
IowaSPEMan

OK. I think I understand. The sinking doesn't seem to be a foundational issue though since the exterior wall on this 2nd story bay is off set about 3 feet away from the exterior wall of the 1st floor. If you look at the picture the wall between the room and the closet is the half exterior wall

Also, it seems that there are two joists running parallel with the window and then there are a series of joists running perpendicular off the second joist.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Leveling Old Plank Style Subfloor
Mastercarpentry

Based on what I can tell from the pics, it seems that "half exterior wall" may be low and the far exterior wall in the closet even lower. If the joists are as you describe, that second one is carrying a lot of load and should be at least doubled. If a straightedge from the outside wall straight in shows a gap there, then that will need attention first. Get things flat, then get things level, but remember that it does not have to be absolutely level, only level enough to satisfy you and allow you to sell it if that's in your future plans somewhere.

Few old houses are flat and level throughout because things do settle over time so it's just something to know about and to be sure doesn't need corrective action to prevent it from becoming worse- after that it's your judgement call on what is too much to be acceptable. I aim for flatness moreso than being level because that usually matters most, and a flat floor can be leveled afterward but a level floor can still have a sag in the middle (if that makes sense). The best time to get things level is when you're renovating already because then if any movement cracks occur, you're ready to fix them as you refinish. So check that parallel joist, correct as needed, then go for level till you're satisfied with that.

Phil

IowaSPEMan
Re: Leveling Old Plank Style Subfloor
IowaSPEMan

Sorry, been away on vacation and am now getting back here. Thank for all the help.

The window I was referring to earlier was the bedroom windows, not the closet window. There are two joists running parallel to the bedroom windows and then joists running parallel off of the second joist. this second joist seems to be about 1" higher in the middle of the room than the rest. How would I make this flat? Should I remove subfloor and sand down the joist? Or should I add more subfloor around the exterior?

Also, the floor by the fully exterior wall is actually a little higher than the floor by the wall between the closet and the room. I'm not so concerned about the flatness here because I am planning to install drawers between the studs that would pull out from the bedroom side so that we can utilize the small closet space better.

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