November 18, 2012

Hall Bathroom Remodel: Preliminaries

In a previous post, "Starting On The Hall Bathroom," I shared our "get started" plan for the hall bathroom remodel project. Step one was support for the sagging, bouncy floor on that side of the house. This included the front bedroom, a second bedroom, and the bathroom. The front bedroom especially, needed it badly.

Bedroom floor before. This isn't a slope from one side of the
room to the other, rather the floor sags to the middle of the room.

Rather than working on these one room at a time like he did with the dining room and kitchen, Dan wanted to address these rooms as a unit.

The first step was to add bridging between the joists to stabilize them (examples in this previous post). This alone did much to stabilize the floor. Next he made his own carrying beams from two pressure treated 2x6s with a 1/4 inch thick piece of plywood in between.

Dan's carrying beam (or girder) made from 2x6s & plywood

He made one 10 feet long, and another 14 feet. The 10 foot beam was for the front bedroom, the 14 foot one spanned the middle bedroom and bathroom.

If we had a basement, he would have used 2x8s. With limited room in the crawlspace, especially toward the front of the house, he needed those extra inches to have room to move around. To compensate for the smaller girder size, he added extra piers to help support the weight. The piers were made with prefab pier bases from Lowes, and either 5" round posts or square 4x4s.

To get the beams in place, Dan first raised the floor with post jacks.

Floorjacks at different heights
Photo Nov. 2009, of posts used for the dining room floor

Then he put the piers in place and removed the jacks. All of this made a huge difference, not only in levelness, but it made the floor much firmer underfoot.

Bedroom floor after. Trying to level it
anymore might have caused other problems

While it would be nice to get the entire floor perfectly level, that is pretty near impossible with a house as old as ours. Over time, the floor joists bow and eventually retain that shape. Sometimes the bow will not straighten out, but rather the entire joist will be lifted in that bowed position. The floor won't be leveled and possibly other things can shift, like walls.

Now we're ready to move on to step two, repairing the water damaged section of the bathroom floor.


Renee Nefe said...

Glad you're getting a flatter floor now.
Kiddo & I were talking about designing our own house with thicker walls to keep it warmer inside. LOL

Anonymous said...

There is a vast improvement just with what he has done. It's 100% better so that has got to be better. Louise

Clint Baker said...

Looks like a great job well done. We are planing a remodel as we speak!


Theresa said...

I give Dan a medal of sainthood for spending so much "quality" time in a crawl space. Working in them is taxing and frustrating and there is so much of it in your sweet abode. There are few things I won't do. One is crawl under a car, the other is work in crawl spaces. Creeps me right out, all sorts of crawly things and so claustrophobic.

Farmer Barb said...

We had a two hump, three sag kitchen floor. The ridge over the former outside wall could not be adjusted or disguised. The sags were removed by red versions of those jacks. It is a fine thing to see the crawl space now and know that the island will not fall through the floor!

I love the firewood picture!

Anonymous said...

Lots of work, but so worth it. Hope he has some extra help when he has to get under that crawl space.

Woolly Bits said...

after fiddling around in an only 60 cm high "attic" for months I can appreciate the awkwardness of crawling around under the house! there's no 100% when working on old houses - you should see the "wavy" stone walls on the shed we renovate just now:) we don't have a crawl space, everything is built straight on the ground, so no sagging. but of course it means that there is nothing between the stamped loam of the ground and the tiles over them - and our feet. which can be quite cold in winter... I used to be a barefoot fan - but not anymore:)

Mama Pea said...

I don't know how Dan ever managed to get those new support beams in the crawl space and then in place!! We are currently spending time in our crawl space replacing old water pipes, one of which developed a crack. I don't care if we have to dig the crawl space out by hand with a trowel and bucket, we'll never get into a situation with a crawl space like this again!

Michelle said...

So exciting! Your life will seem boring when you've finished all your home improvement projects. :-D

Leigh said...

Renee, thicker walls do make a difference! As long as they're insulated, LOL

Louise, it is an amazing difference. It's funny but when we first bought the place, we had an idea of "perfect." We've since learned to live with the reality of an old house like this, and appreciate simply having it better.

Clint, oh my, you're in for an adventure. A fun one, but an adventure. :)

Theresa, I'm with you about crawl spaces. I don't like caving for that reason either! I feel badly though, that Dan has do to everything under there alone. I offer to help; fortunately he turns me down every time!

Barb, it's amazing sometimes that houses even stand! I'm amazed the toilet never fell through that bathroom floor!

Stephanie, that's so true. I've offered to help but he says one of us under there is enough. (whew)

Mama Pea, it's a real chore, especially with his back problems. I've suggested digging out the crawl space, and have know folks who have done that. Seems like a lot of work though, especially hauling out the dirt! I wish you good success with your plumbing and your crawl space!

Michelle, truer words were never spoken. :)

The Cranky said...

I'm right there with you! We also have an older house and have to do some joist correction in order to make our floors more level. Thankfully, we have basement under that section! (But crawlspace under the section where plumbing needs some work.)

badgerpendous said...

That's spectacular work. You guys make an outstanding team. I know I'd have reservations attempting some of the incredibly work you two do, and so watching you guys not only attempt it, but succeed really motivates me!

Alice said...

This is more exciting to me than reading a good mystery. I enjoyed reading about your kitchen remodel, and I know this one will be just as good. You write so well about your experiences. I've said this before, but a collection of your blog essays would make a really good book. I know I'd buy such a book! Write on.

Anonymous said...

Have never EVER seen a house with entirely level floors and straight walls! What you did is impressive and even more so working in a stinking crawl space! WOWSA! Bravo! - Sherry in MT (MTWaggin)

Leigh said...

Jacqueline, oh for a basement! We had one on our list when we looked at homes, but they aren't real common around here. Never dreamed the crawlspace would be such a chore to work in though.

Badgerpendous, aw shucks. Dan gets 99% of the credit for this project. He has the know-how and willingness to do it. I get to be gopher. :)

Alice, LOL. I confess I enjoy reading these kinds of things too. I actually am working on a book based on my blog, though it's focus is more on homesteading than house remodeling. Maybe that could be my book two. :)

Sherry, thanks! It's true about those level floors and straight walls. At first, Dan hoped to make everything level and square, but we soon gave up on that. Good enough is good enough.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit, I'm totally impressed with the work you've all done! Well Held!

Leigh said...

Thank you!

Woody said...

On digging out a crawl space; I helped in the process for an old neighbor. We found that a set back away from the stone foundation was necessary because a failure of the footing surely would have followed otherwise. The grade on the outside of the house is equally important because of drainage. Just food for thought. All your projects look fantastic!