One thing about remodeling a home, is I almost never do something without uncovering hidden problems. There always seems to be at least something. In the case of the first bedroom of the big bedroom swap project, I noticed that the threshold between the bedroom and the small walk-in closet had cracked and sank about 3/8 of an inch and also along the entire wall that runs along that direction. There are no other cracks anywhere else which for a 50 year old house, is saying something. Since the above wall follows the centerline of the house and holds up floor joists running in each direction to the outer walls, I'm assuming that it was poured without any or much of a footer below that area and basically just settled a bit.
I'm not really worried as it is a 50 year old house, the cracks were done a long time ago judging from their discolored hue, and there is good old Iowa clay underneath so it really isn't going to go anywhere. Also it was only 3/8th of a inch so it really wasn't too noticeable with the old floor on top. But the new floor has a tolerance of much tighter than that and so I decided to fill that area in.
I have never leveled a concrete floor before but I watch a lot of YouTube videos of people who do. I knew there were two options. I could buy some self leveling concrete and just pour it in the low spot or I could buy some stuff that you must trowel in place but can be smoothed out to a feathered edge. Since I wasn't real positive on the overall levelness of the room in the direction of the cracked concrete and it wasn't a very big area, I went with the latter troweled leveling compound.
I bought a bag and not knowing how much I would need, I just mixed up the entire bag. It said to mix thoroughly and that you had about ten minutes of working time before it BEGAN to set up. I thought that was plenty of time. But in only a couple minutes of troweling it on, it was firming up rapidly and I started working frantically focusing on covering the most area versus getting it filled 100% to grade. I made it to within about 18" of the end of the wall before it was just too hard to work with anymore. I was a mess, my tools were a mess, the bucket was now solidly plugged with concrete and the floor was a mess.
So I cleaned up everything, made a trip all the way back to the store for a second bag of the stuff and a much smaller disposable bucket. The second time around I mixed it a lot wetter and was able to get the remaining 18" done as well as go back over the previous area and fill everything up to grade. (The above picture was taken between attempts.) But by the end of 10 minutes, it was set up like a rock again. They really underestimated the working time on that stuff.
Fortunately it looks pretty good though it made a mess of the baseboard trim which I left in place. It was fastened high enough that even with my leveling of the area, the new flooring should still fit under it nicely and reused baseboard never goes back up like it looked before it was removed. I'm going to have to do a fair amount of scraping and sanding before repainting it but I was planning on the painting part anyway.
So it was my first time to do such a job and I'm glad I'm done. Next up I'm going to remove the last few things attached to the walls and prep them for paint. Then I can hopefully lay the flooring and move onto the next bedroom involved in the swap.
Uncovering problems is a universal truth about remodeling! What would we do without YouTube?! It's nice to hear that your fix went well.ReplyDelete
I guess I would have just done something incorrectly or hired it done if it hadn't been for YouTube. Stay tuned because I think my next post also deals with YouTube bailing me out again.Delete
Yes, there are always more problems to be discovered. They are just hiding! My late husband hated concrete work. I can see why.ReplyDelete
I don't mind slab work and have done a lot of it over the years. But doing small stuff like that with a small window of time to work, isn't enjoyable.Delete
It always seems to be something - but yes, YouTube is a wealth of information.ReplyDelete
It saved my bacon when I went to install the flooring.Delete
You should do your own YouTube clip warning of the rapid set-up time, or at least leave a comment to that fact on some of the clips you watched.ReplyDelete
I don't think any of the clips I've ever watched actually name a brand. Mine was Menards house brand because that is all I had access to in this town. I expect different brands would have produced different results.Delete
It amazes me how people like you seem born to know what to do and how to do it.ReplyDelete
I certainly wasn't born with those talents but I have come to realize in adulthood and with the plethora of YouTube videos, that given the time, I'm willing to try most things when it comes to house remodeling/maintenance. I get it done to my satisfaction every time and I can schedule it according to my schedule and not someone else. Although not a huge factor for me, my labor is much cheaper than those I would have to hire for such small jobs as well. But I do draw the line now and again as I will on the flooring in what will become my MIL's bedroom. It wasn't in good shape when we moved in but with kids, we left it and they certainly have left their mark on it. So it will be replaced but I'll hire it done.Delete
An important and wise distinction is knowing what one can try one's self and what one should hire a professional to do.Delete
Last year I had the great good fortune of having a super handyman/carpenter/concrete/plumber extraordinaire stay with us and fix everything in sight, and put in outlets, divert plumbing, pour concrete, etc. For the first time in years, our 100 year old stucco house is perfect and working! Before he came, I would take a couple of days just to take out built in shelves in closets. He could do it in a couple of hours. His only flaw was that he wasn't great at cleaning up and the fine details - but then, I could easily do that. It is such a sense of accomplishment when we do get to do what needs to be done, isn't it?ReplyDelete
A true handyman is getting to be hard to find these days. There isn't enough money in it. So hang onto yours!Delete
I hate to think of life before YouTube. I fixed my washing machine (the hated thing) thanks to YT. It is so true, once you start uncovering things, it's not always pretty.ReplyDelete
I have found a lot of "fix it" type books at estate sales that were the precursor to YouTube. But YT has the advantage of being specific to the actual model you are trying to fix instead of being vague as those books were.Delete
A renovation never just flows...it seems like there is always some surprise, waiting, lurking...ReplyDelete
We've only worked on one house on a concrete pad. Luckily it hadn't sunk.
My guess is that construction began when the concrete was still really green and thus why it cracked all along the middle support walls. Thus far, that seems to be the only surprise I have found in that bedroom.... knock on wood.Delete
Great job on the floor leveling! Reminds me of the saying "experience is something you get right after you need it". You now have the experience to go less and go wetter with your second batch. I do a lot of handyman work around my own house and your experience sounds like my typical experiences! I usually have to make an extra trip to the hardware store to finish a task.ReplyDelete
I love that saying and will be using it from now on!Delete
Youtube is a great resource, but such jobs are a pain.ReplyDelete
Overall, this part of the project wasn't too bad minus the day I leveled out the concrete.Delete
One down and a few more to go. Looking forward to seeing the finished product, Ed. Our house is almost 65 years old so I can relate to some of the issues you run into. It is rarely a simple project when we do work on the house. Good luck.ReplyDelete
From what I've seen, even newer houses have issues as well. I just think it is a house thing.Delete
It looks good! You solved your problem...quick set does just that!ReplyDelete
It wasn't quick set because it can't be troweled to a feathered edge but perhaps it shares some chemistry anyway.Delete
We have a bathroom renovation to think about right now and I wish you were here to help us. :-)ReplyDelete