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Room Addition Gone Wrong, Un-leveled Floors

Answered by Jeffrey ~ February 8, 2011 ~ Comments

We had added on a room to our home. At the time we didn't have money to do it totally right. Half of the flooring is concrete and the rest is wood. The problem is that it's not leveled where the concrete floor and wood floor meet. Is there a way to get it leveled with out tearing things out. Some type of cement product? It is a bedroom and the cement is on the ground of the house; the wood has crawl space under it.

Cindy W. ~ Seneca Falls, New York

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Cindy. You have a couple of options here, and depending on the size of the room at least one of them shouldn't be too expensive. My first suggestion would be to build the floor up using sleepers. Sleepers are pieces of framing lumber installed across the floor so another sub-floor can be installed over the top of them. I have used the system in homes built on concrete slabs where the owners wanted a little more cushion than the concrete could provide. I have also used it to level out floors in old houses.

I'm not sure if this is a project you'll want to tackle yourself as the sleepers will need to be trimmed before being installed so you will end up with a level floor. You might want to see if there's a contractor around Seneca Falls who is familiar with installing this type of floor system.

The floor in this room is going to be a little higher than the floors in adjoining rooms so you might want to raise it to a height so visitors will recognize it as a step rather than trip over it. The sleepers should be installed about 16 inches on center and if you have anything heavy in the room, you might even want to consider 12 inches on center. The sleepers can be nailed directly into your cement floor using masonry nails. Where they go across your wood floors, they should be nailed through the sub-floor and down into the floor joists underneath. That means your sleeper system should run perpendicular to your floor joist system.

An easy way of leveling the floor is to string line it in various places with a line level and take measurements from the string to your current floor. This should give you some accurate measurements of how much needs to be trimmed from each sleeper. When you are determining your height don't forget to allow for the 3/4-inch floor decking that will be installed over the sleepers.

When the sleepers are finished you can install your tongue and groove floor decking and make sure you use construction adhesive between it and the sleepers to help reduce the chance of squeaks. Screwing the decking down instead of nailing it also helps. You can then install your hardwood flooring, carpeting, or whatever type of floor covering you had planned. Before installing the sleepers over the cement floor portion of the room, you might want to install some sort of moisture barrier to reduce the chance of dampness from the cement damaging your new floor. The sleepers used over concrete should be treated for moisture resistance.

My other suggestion would be a product called Gyp-crete 2000. This is a product used to level floors and also reduce noise transmission in apartment buildings and hotels. It is also fire-rated. The product is fairly expensive and messy to install--a crew uses a hose to disperse it and it self levels. If you were able to locate a company in New York that uses the product and could coordinate them doing your room when they were in the area, you might be able to get a good deal.

All of the other patch-type leveling products that I'm aware of can be used over concrete or wood floors-- but not both--and if the difference in your floor elevations is evident, they would probably just create a hump.

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