December 4, 2011

Our Dippy Kitchen Floor

I mentioned, when I showed you our new ceiling beams, that our kitchen ceiling dipped in several places. Well, the floor is the same way. There are several dips actually, but the worst one is in the middle of the room, and is 3/4 inch lower than the walls on both sides.

It took a 3/4 inch thick piece of flooring (left) to bring it up to level

Of itself, this might not be too bad; it could be shimmed and a new floor installed on top. Our challenge, was that this is where floor protection must go for the wood cookstove.

Floor protection guards a combustible floor against the potentially intense heat of a woodstove. Building codes dictate size and thickness, but it can either be installed as part of the floor, or on top of the floor. We built one of cement and brick for our wood heater, though it was more of a hearth, actually. The lady we bought the stove from, gave us everything to go with it. That included a 1 & 1/8 inch thick UL listed, brick pattern cement board to go under the stove.

Cement board floor protector,
sitting on top of the old floor

The problem with leaving it on top of the floor, is it's thickness. It sticks out where all the traffic will be, and would be too easy to stub barefoot toes on, or trip over. Because of that, we initially did not plan to use it. Our first idea was to embed ceramic tiles into a new wood plank floor. That was before we realized how serious the dip in the floor was. That dip is probably one of the reasons the old ceramic tiles were in such bad repair, and why Dan wanted nothing to do with ceramic tiles for our new kitchen floor. (The other problem is that the floor joists are on 24 inch centers, which results in a lot of bounce in the floor, though he's taken care of that.)

Tiles under a woodstove would require a cement board base. The cement board available locally, comes in quarter or half inch thicknesses. We questioned whether shimming would be enough to stabilize it, and keep the tiles and mortar secure and intact over time. Because of that, we looked for a way to utilize the brick look floor protector.

Dan finally decided that the thing to do was to tear out that section of the floor, and rebuild it to make it level.

Tearing out a section of the original floor. 

He also strengthened it by sistering in more joists and adding bridging.

Sistered, but level joists, bridging, and plywood subfloor

The new joists were positioned so as to level this section of the floor. He covered the opening with plywood, and put the ready-made floor protector on top of that.

Floor protector on the rebuilt section of
floor. The slant is the photographer's fault!

Because the plywood is thinner than the one inch oak flooring there now, the protection pad sits lower than it did before. If all works out according to plan, the plank flooring should be the same height, and the the two floors should be even.

The stove is in!

The crowning moment was being able to bring the body of the cookstove in! It's been in Dan's workshop for about a year now.

You may have noticed how far the protector sticks out in front of the stove. I mention this because we looked at a lot of photos where the floor protection only covers the floor directly under the stove. However, it's not uncommon for sparks to come flying out the firebox door when it's opened. I've lived with enough burns on my carpets and floors over the years, that I wanted my floor well protected! The stove manufacturer recommends 18 inches in front of the stove, but we managed 20 & 3/8 inches.

Still to do, is find the box with the plates in it, attach the warming oven and heat shield, and install the stove and chimney pipe. It could also use a good cleaning. Before we lose our mild daytime temps however, I'd like to get the other kitchen window replaced, so finishing the stove will probably wait until after that. At least it's in and it's level!

34 comments: said...

That's a beautiful stove! A work of art.


Paula said...

I know how passing a milestone feels- congratulations!

Doyu Shonin said...

Yes -- Laura Ingalls Wilder's first house could serve as a cautionary tale.

WHAT A GUY you got there, gal.

Dani said...

Very exciting.

I'm impressed with the attention to detail - sorting out that floor cannot have been easy. Well done!

Theresa said...

It's in! It's in! It's IN! I'm just so thrilled for you. Whole heaps of floor work but oh so worth it. That is a beautiful stove and will be a workhorse for you for years in so many ways. BIG back pats to Dan for doing such a fantastic job.

Anonymous said...

Excellent planning on the floor set up for the stove, and I am in love with your stove!!

Sue said...

That stove is truly gorgeous. You must be so excited to see your kitchen coming together!

Woolly Bits said...

that stove looks really nice! we don't have timber flooring in this part of the house, which made it easier to put up our range. one of the problems is, that those ovens are heavy! and the cast-iron spindly original legs are not really all that sturdy. so we decided on putting the range on "brick" legs and underneath with used red and black "tiles", unglazed and coming from the derelict greenhouse of the local (abandoned!) convent. they are thicker and much sturdier than normal glazed tiles and they stick out a bit at the front as well - because of the sparks! in my room (which used to be an old shed) we put in a new timber floor anyway, which made it easier to work that out. we put 3 large granite slabs underneath, works perfectly. luckily neither of the ovens are close to a "walk path" in the house, so stubbing toes was never a problem for us:))

Leigh said...

Lana, I agree and I feel fortunate to have it. I admit I initially looked at the practical and less expensive Amish built cookstoves, never dreaming we'd find anything so pretty and in good repair for less!

Risa, I am thankful every day for him. The best part is that we compliment one another's strengths and weaknesses!

Dani, me too! The real test will come when we install the plank floor. :)

Theresa, thanks! I confess that dippy and sloping floors don't bother me a whole lot. OTOH, they drive Dan crazy, so he's motivated!

Stephanie, thanks!

Sue, it's so encouraging to have visual progress. Some things like updating the electric were important, but a lot of work with nothing to show for it. This feels like a real step in the right direction.

Bettina, I remember the picture you showed me of your stove, the brick and tiles worked out beautifully and are really attractive. We did discuss another location for our stove. It would have been out of the way of foot traffic, but we wouldn't have gotten heat to the rest of the house as well. Fortunately Dan was able to figure out the floor!

dr momi said...

What a talented husband! The wood cook stove .....ahhh, in my dreams.

Mr. H. said...

That sounds like a lot work but well worth the effort. What a great stove, so nice to see it in your house.

Nina said...

How exciting that development is! I'd love to have a proper cook stove. It's nice that you found one of the pretty ones. I've noticed that there are only a couple of manufacturers making old styled and I find the modern cook stoves, boxy and ugly.

Sherri B. said...

How thrilling to get your beautiful stove in and with the floor around it being 'trip proof'. Your husband is so good to take the time to fix things just right! xo

Leigh said...

D. Momi, I have to confess that this was not my dream stove. That one was a Waterford Stanley. New was out of the question however, and I never did see one come up locally for resale. This one is a Heartland Sweetheart, and I truly am happy with it.

Mr. H, thanks! It always boils down to what we can live with, and my husband couldn't live with that floor that way!

Nina, I agree about wood cookstoves. Somewhere along the line, they developed a more "modern" styling, which truly is downright ugly. In fact, DH refused to consider one of those no matter how good the price! I'm glad we waited though, and found this one.

Sherri, the real trip test will come after we get the rest of the floor installed!

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

Congratulations on a job well thought out and done. I love your new stove, it's a beauty.

Natalie said...

I truly love your stove...what luck you were able to find it.
We finished our renovation last year, and until I saw your pictures, I had completely forgotten that we had to build up the floor from the basement where our stove was going to be. We had to also rip out and fix the floor when we did our bathroom renovation the year before. When all the work is done, and you are enjoying the new kitchen, you just might forget all the work that went in behind the scenes as well :)

country life said...

Love your stove!! :)

Susan said...

That is a gorgeous stove! And I do so admire the fact that you really work to make it perfect. I am afraid I am not as...un...dedicated. That stove is going to be a joy to work with.

Renee Nefe said...

I'm sure that Dan wouldn't agree with me, but I think your floor might have been a blessing...had it been in better shape you might not have bothered to add in the extra support or tear out the old flooring to sink the "hearth."

Your hard work is looking great and I'm so excited for you! Can't wait to see it all come together.

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

I have a horribly uneven kitchen floor myself, so I feel your pain. Your getting so close now. The stove looks really nice in its permenant home.

Mama Pea said...

We just did the same thing when we redid the floor under our main wood stove heat source. Reinforced in the crawl space underneath and then sank the tiles under the stove. We were in exactly the same position you are now . . . will the rest of the room's flooring be level when it's put in? Ours WAS, and I know yours will be, too! Our bad dip in the floor wasn't under the stove, but rather in front of my island.

What a gorgeous cookstove! I am GREEN with envy . . . but still thrilled for you! ;o}

Leigh said...

Ginny thanks! It's only a beginning though. We'll have to see how the rest turns out! :o

Natalie, that's one of the reasons I blog, to record our lives and projects here. I have to say I envy your basement. That's something Dan misses in this house.

Country Life, thanks!

Susan, if it was left up to me, none of that stuff would have gotten done! I'm neither as talented when it comes to carpentry, nor as fastidious when it comes to square and level. :)

Renee, it is a blessing to have a sturdier floor! Especially with something heavy like a stove. Hopefully we'll be able to get it all assembled soon.

Jane, thanks. Funny but we didn't realize how uneven the floor was at first, although all those broken ceramic tiles should have been a clue!

Mama Pea, oh my. Don't you just love working in a crawl space. Or maybe it's Papa Pea, LOL I'm very encouraged to learn your floors came out even, I just hope ours do too!

Anonymous said...

WOW, you two are such an inspiration to watch! Congrats your your new stove.

trump said...

A really great post, and i love those old wood stoves like you have. I think it looks great so good job! Richard

Tom Stewart said...

I'm still amassed at Dan's construction knowlage in all of this! Is there nothing he can not do? Would you been willing to rent him out for a bit? I need a chicken coop built and there maybe Rabbits in my future! He can sleep on the couch!

Karen said...

Oh my! The stove is in! Just caught up your goings on...congrats!!!! And the stove is beautiful.

Kaat said...

Woah, nice stove! I am so jealous. In fact, I am looking at my kitchen with a new eye. The chimney that our woodstove (in the living room) is connected to is in the middle of the house. The other side is the kitchen (where we also have a dippy floor, by the way). Mmmmm. DH isn't going to like this... Thanks, Leigh!

Leigh said...

CBoord, thanks! It's encouraging to be inspiring. :)

Richard, I hope so. I'm getting anxious to get the pipe installed now so we can begin to use it!

Tom, LOL. Dan loves to build and loves to work with wood. I'm fortunate to have paired up with him.

Karen thanks! This is a truly exciting step.

Kaat, it would be great to be able to put a wood cookstove on the other side of that chimney! At least you have a basement to work in to support that dippy floor!

Meg @ said...

We recently put down wood flooring to replace drabby 60's carpeting in the Farmhouse, which was building in the 1830's. We had LOTS of floor dips and sinks. You handled it much better than we did, haha. At some points we basically piled pieces of wood underneath the new floorboards to make them even and provide support. But it works!

Leigh said...

Gosh Meg, your house is about 90 year older than ours, I can only imagine the dips in the floors! Actually, we're going to do the same thing when we put down our new plank floor, shim with anything that makes it level!

Tina T-P said...

Boy, That Dan's a pretty darn handy guy! Beautiful "new" stove - good luck with your other window project! T.

Leigh said...

Tina, thanks! I'm pretty thankful for my handy guy. :)

CaliforniaGrammy said...

I'm truly amazed at the talents and skills you two have. It's so great to be able to work so well together. I'm sort of a newbie to your blog, Leigh . . . is this stove going to be your only source of cooking appliance in the end?

Leigh said...

CaliforniaGrammy, that's a good question. We moved the electric stove out to the back porch, next to the washing machine. Right now I'm doing all my cooking out there, and my washing up in the laundry sink. That stove will stay on the porch, which will be my summer and canning kitchen. The wood cookstove will serve for both cooking and heat, during winter. I feel like I have the best of both worlds!