Thursday, August 23, 2012

Frightful things lie just beneath the kitchen floor

When we removed the old cabinets, we discovered that there were some funky things going on with the floor. So funky, in fact, that we decided we'd be better off redoing the entire floor. 

In the above photo, you will notice several things:
a) Discoloration from old vinyl backing 
b) Water damage from improperly sweat plumbing
c) Cuts in the floor along the cabinet edge, evidence that the floor has been patched

What you can't see is a slight rise in the middle of the floor right about where Justin is kneeling, which is the most worrisome of all.  Initially we considered just living with it. But the more we looked at it, the more Justin was concerned that this "lip" might indicate a more severe issue. He also suspected that part of the floor had been shimmed to level it.  And unfortunately, he was right on both counts.  

Justin removes flooring with a golf-club-sized pry bar

There's no way to know what lies beneath the floor without tearing it up, so that's what we did. We started at the wall, working our way back with pry bars. We discovered that there were two different kinds of maple flooring, one that was probably original, and one stamped with the year 1994. So that confirms that the floor was patched relatively recently.

Removal in progress, with an unused sledgehammer for dramatic effect
What we uncovered beneath layers of tar paper, shims, and scrap wood was evidence of a poorly done kitchen addition. Below is the area where the original kitchen floor meets the addition. Part of it was probably a mud room, and this square section looks to have been a porch (note the door threshold on the righthand side). This area of the floor is roughly 1/4" lower than the rest of the floor, which explains the "lip" we noticed earlier.

Once the shims and tar paper were removed, we got a good look at where the floor joists attach to the original framing. 

The floor joists in the former-porch section are just nailed to the old exterior without a proper outer plate. Because the joists were simply nailed through two layers of siding (cedar and tar shingle), they have begun to sag. This is the root of the problem. Unfortunately, properly supporting and securing the joists is no easy feat. But we are determined to make it happen! 
Justin removes scraps of tar shingle and other debris from the gap around the addition

In the gap, you can see the improperly-attached floor joists

And this, folks, is what we have to work with. The exposed sub floor in the picture below will need to be removed down to the floor joists and replaced with plywood. We have already purchased the needed supplies at Home Depot and are prepared to get started. Stayed tuned for our next episode: sub-floor demolition derby!

1 comment:

  1. on your marks.......get set.......RIP....hmmm .....THAT wasn't supposed to happen ......