Home Repair

hmmm... buckling floors?

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Hi Guru!

Our new house (well- hopefully our new house!) is a turn of the century victorian. The floors in the dining room and living room are very, err... bumpy! There are places where the support joists have pushed the maple floorboards up, and the bay window is sinking. My father in law and hubby are planning on using a house jack to correct the pushed up joist issue, (I think by jacking then cutting the joist so it doesn't stick up anymore?) but what do we do about the sinking area? Once they have moved the joist down, how long should I expect it to take until the bump in the floor recedes? Is there any way to "speed up" the process? Or do I just have to wait for gravity to do it's thing? These are historical maple floors, and with a little sanding and poly urethane, they'd look great.... If we can get then to lie evenly! I appreciate your Guru wisdom!

Karen Smile
Remember..... It took decades for the floor to get that way and for the area at the window to settle. Don't expect too much and anything more than that will be a gift. Do it all slowly. If you are jacking the floor near a wall then 1/16 to 1/8 inch per month. Yes that's per month! That's like one turn on the jack screw. Otherwise the plaster might start cracking too. If it is in the middle of the floor you could go somewhat faster because no walls are directly affected. The hump in the floor is from a bent floor joist? It may or may not settle back down. You could draw it down (assuming it's a reasonably small amount) by screwing an angle iron to the new joist and then up into the subfloor and flooring from below. Try to catch the maple slightly but be careful not to go through! Have some people stand on the 'hump' and then screw it from below when ready.

Unless you're in a real hurry, do it slowly.
One of the humps is right by a wall... guess it'll be slow and steady wins the race! Sigh...

Karen Smile
hmmm... now I've got myself thinking... would it make more sense to pull up the maple flooring and historical baseboards, get the floor level using a new sub floor, and reinstall the maple like you would with a new hardwood floor? WE do have a few months before we need to be all moved in, to do repairs... Maybe this is a viable option? I'd really like a level floor before we put any furniture in there... Just exploring my options...

Karen Smile
A lot of people that purchase old turn-of-the-century homes buy these for the old charm and character that only can be found in a very old home. A floor that goes up and down with the ancient hand hewn beams has that old school charm. Enjoy this every time you get to walk over that spot and feel it under your feet. You couldnít replicate that anywhere else.

As far as ripping up the old maple, it probably wouldn't come up without cracking a few pieces. I have taken up old oak flooring and because it is nailed through the tongue it has a tendency to crack off when prying it up no matter how careful you are. Then there will be decades of old dirt stuck to the top of the tongue so you will either have to saw it off, sand it off, or scrape it off before re-installing or it won't be tight. I helped a friendís father do this with some old maple flooring he got from a post office that closed and it took forever and dozens of blades.
Thanks Guru! I don't think I'm up to that- I'll just pull out the yucky carpet, and let the guys try to even out the floor slowly. Looks like I'll just have to start naming the bumps and valleys in my flooring "and over here is Mt. Rushmore. And towards the bay, we have the lovely grand canyon" I'll go back to worrying about the kitchen now! Very Happy

Karen Smile


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