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Stephen Cutler
Stephen Cutler, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 2062
Experience:  35 years of troubleshooting construction, remodel, component & material failures. What to do next
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how to stiffen up bouncy floors in house

Resolved Question:

how to stiffen up bouncy floors in house
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Don replied 2 years ago.
How big of area are we talking about? What kind of problem do you have?
Is the floor just separated from the sub floor or is the whole floor with the floor joists below moving up and down? Carpet or hard floor?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I live in a 1000 aquare house. On a dirt crawl. The living room is the main problem. Its about 12x12. The joists don't seem to be moving just the sub floor. I pulled up a piece of carpet and the floor appears to be in pretty bad shape. The house is about 60 years old. There's numerous gaps in the floor above the joists and it is nailed into place. The only actual supports for the house are along the middle beam of the house. There's a few spots along the edges of the floor where I can step with my foot and it feels like the floor is gonna fall in.
Expert:  Don replied 2 years ago.

So, the floor joists are moving up and down as if they are not supported in crawl space? OR are the joists solid and the floor is separated from the sub floor.OR both conditions exist

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The floor joists appear to be solid. Its more the less the spans in between that have a lot of give to them. The floor is only quarter inch plywood.
Expert:  Don replied 2 years ago.
1/4" inch !!!! thats almost nothing. Are you about that thinkness. Thats about the diameter of a pencil
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm sure. I measured and was shocked myself on how thin was used.
Expert:  Don replied 2 years ago.
thats your biggest problem, the floor should be at least 1" I think 1 3/8" now is minimum thickness. You need to put down another layer of plywood. The thicker the better as long as you have room to open doors and make a transition to the other rooms if you have to. Normally, you would have a 3/4" sub floor followed by a 5/8" floor.Then maybe 1/4" flooring material on top of that.
You need to do that first and see if that makes it solid enough for you.
If there are still issues with the floor joists moving, then you will need to shore up the floor joists from the crawl space. Possibly placing some sort of footings and cross supports supported by short adjustable jack posts.
Don, Home Improvement Enthusiast
Category: Home Improvement
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Experience: 35+year experience in business
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Expert:  Don replied 2 years ago.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzv-qbY0XLg

check out the videos like this on youtube.com
Don, Home Improvement Enthusiast
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 1091
Experience: 35+year experience in business
Don and 3 other Home Improvement Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Stephen Cutler replied 2 years ago.
I believe you have your terminology confused. The spaces you describe indicate 1X6 or 1X8 plank subfloor. It is within the realm of possibility someone would use 1/4 ply over the plank to "seal the spaces between the planks". Brand new, this would be a "bouncy" floor. Standard practice is 3/4 sub floor (plank or ply) with 3/4 ply on top of that and nailed thru the plank into the joists.
Next: you state your floor is over a crawl space with a single main carrier running down the center. The joists sit on this and the perimeter. A VERY common issue with this design is termites. Your statement "the floor appears to be in pretty bad shape" and " step with my foot and it feels like the floor is gonna fall in" support my suspicions that you have termites, or carpenter ants. If the house is old you may have water damage at the perimiter support as well. DO NOT simply cover this up with 3/4 plywood!!!! First find out what the damage is caused by and remediate it.
Regardless of the type of account you have with JA, you must successfully click on "ACCEPT" to reward me for my efforts made on your behalf. By clicking ACCEPT you are not giving up your ability to ask more questions pertaining to this subject, and I will be happy to respond to these as well.

Stephen Cutler, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 2062
Experience: 35 years of troubleshooting construction, remodel, component & material failures. What to do next
Stephen Cutler and 3 other Home Improvement Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Eric M. Bright replied 2 years ago.

Hi, I am not looking for an accept which is why I am sending an "Info Request" instead of an "Answer". I do not in reality require an additional information from you.

 

I felt compelled to confirm Stephen Cutlers advice that you under no circumstances other than perhaps if it has indeed "always since the home was built, been bouncy" You SHOULD NOT simply cover this up with 3/4 plywood!!!!

If it h ave only become bouncy over time, there is damage that needs to be repaired. First find out what caused the damage and repair it.

 

You should also accept Stephen Cutler's Answer as it is the accurate answer.

 

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
There are no termites or carpenter ants had that checked already. The crawl space stays dry. We've been here about 3 years and it has always been this way. Wondering if at some point in time there was a moisture problem and they corrected that and left the floors alone. And when I said it feels like falling through the floors at the edges of the wall its only inbetween the joists I can stomp on the actual joists and they don't move.
Expert:  Stephen Cutler replied 2 years ago.
Hi and thank you for your accept. "Only at the edges" is a BIG clue! All edges, or just edges perpendicular to the joists? How long ago did you have the termite/ant inspection? Did the inspector check the areas of concern? There could be old fungal rot. I have never heard of a dry crawl space with a pier & beam foundation. They can be "dry" at the time you crawl under, and damp later after a rain. You should crawl under there your self with a bright worklite/flashlight to identify the type & condition of the subfloor. Also measure how far apart the floor joists are. Have someone step on the area in question while you are under there and observe what moves. At this point I am relying on an opinion that was given to you, and your interpretation of the phrasing of that opinion. Neither you or I can say what is wrong without you getting a firsthand look. photos may help. To upload photos:

1.) If you see a paperclip icon in your tool bar at the top of the reply box ( where you are typing ) go to number 2 .

If you don't see one then press show tool bar on the upper left of the reply box and then go to number 2.

2.) Press the paperclip icon, you should get a window that has a browse button option on it.

3.) Press the browse button on this box. You should then get a second box with a browse button on it.

4.) Press the browse button in this second box and you should get a window that you can use to navigate to the location of the photo file on your computer.

5.) Make your choice of photo file by double clicking on it. The choice box should disappear and the path to the photo file should now appear in the box.

6.) Now press the OK button on that box. That box should disappear and the path name should show up in the first box now. If it doesn't show right away give at least one full minute.

Don't press the insert button until you see a path name in the box. It will only show up as a red x if you do.

7.) Press the insert button on that box once the file path appears
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
There's some signs of old rot on the floor. Like I said the joists are solid. I've gone under while someone jumps on the floor its between the joists. And yes. It get midley damp after a heavy rain but stays pretty dry. I've been into many of wet crawls in the past. I guess my whole question is should I pull up old floor and lay 3/4 down or ply over the old. Joists are solid and no termites. It was checked last year and I go under there every 3 months to check everything. I'm more of an electrical computer guy so this structural stuff throws me for loops occasionally.
Expert:  Stephen Cutler replied 2 years ago.
I see. But you are intelligent and these structural things are simply methodical elimination.
1. What did you observe when you were under the floor & someone jumped on it from above?
2. What subflooring did you observe while under the floor- 1X6 , 1X8, 1X10?
3. If 1X plank, is it roughsawn full dimension,or smooth milled nominal dimension lumber? How wide are the spaces between planks?
4. Was there mid span bridging or solid blocking between the joists? If not, this is a major part of allowing the joists to deflect under load- BUT NOT "at the ends only". It would result in "in the center span only". Any span greater than 8' needs blocking or bridging at midspan. This works out to (4 foot 1"/ 4foot 1") > (7 foot 11"/ 7 foot 11") > (5 foot 4"/5 foot 4"/ 5 foot 4") etc.
5. If you are up to the task & mess, stripping out the old failing floor down to the joists is the Very Best thing you can do. And adding midspan blocking or bridging is a MUST if it is missing in a 12' span.
6. When you lay new 3/4 ply (4X8) make sure the row ends are staggared. This means the end of sheets in one row fall at the middle of the sheets of the previous row.
7. Use ring shank 8d galvanized nails 4" spacing on ends & 6" spacing "in the field"
8. Once you have the 3/4 down, add another 3/4 hardwood floor, or 3/4 plywood then ceramic tile, or 3/4 ply & laminate flooring. You could cheap out to 5/8 plywood with the laminate, but 5/8 would move enough to crack tile. And possibly make laminate creak/squeek.

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Stephen Cutler
Stephen Cutler
Home Improvement Expert
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35 years of troubleshooting construction, remodel, component & material failures. What to do next