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Unread 03-12-2020, 02:30 AM   #1
jerome_
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Paddling my DIY canoe up a creek - flattening

Greetings all, I bought and moved into a fixer-upper 2 flat built in 1884 without understanding what I signed up for. It seems like every corner that could be cut has been cut in the century this thing has been standing.

My current goal has been to replace the pet-encrusted carpet with something that'll work in a rental, and my limited decision making ability already placed $10k worth of vinyl plank in my basement. Not tile, but I also bought a bunch of self leveling compound and hope you can give me a pointer there.


Context & Questions.

I've 3 layers of subfloor: 3/4" tongue and groove wooden planks, 3/4" hardwood, and 3/4" plywood. That top layer of plywood is not flat, with up to an inch between hills and valleys 8' apart. It also had noticeable deflection when I walked on it- but I used 3" deck screws to fasten it all to the joists, and mostly eliminated the deflection. (There are a few squeaks remaining where gas pipe was run in notches on top of the joist).

Now, can I flatten that subfloor with SLC, and will it last a reasonable amount of time?

I've read your Library article, and see some posts of pros using it over plywood subfloor. I'll be putting down fiberglass lath, and using primer and all that, but do I have to rip up the top layer of plywood to see why it has that unevenness in the first place?

I see elsewhere on the Internet people say they wouldn't put SLC over a wood subfloor because heat and moisture will flex the sub and break the compound. Does the SLC have any flex or is it capable of handling the wood in some other way?

I'm also open to hearing how I've approached this all wrong, and should have done something else entirely. My ego actually fell out the back of the truck with an open tailgate on the highway a few mistakes ago
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Unread 03-12-2020, 07:51 AM   #2
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Hi Romey,

I would remove all the subflooring and fix the framing, then go back with two layers of plywood. I know you probably don't want to hear that.
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Unread 03-12-2020, 09:05 AM   #3
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It may be the hardwood flooring that's causing the plywood to be warped. I would at least get that removed, then see what the planks look like.
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Unread 03-12-2020, 01:26 PM   #4
jerome_
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Thanks guys,

At this point what I 'want to hear' is how to be make good decisions for the future, so let me express my gratitude for your replies!

I figured I'd add some photos to my post, maybe keep sending updates if people are interested



First is the floor I'm dealing with, you can see the plywood is in pretty good shape. The pic with the ruler is one of the worst spots on the floor.

Next I posted some pics of the original slat subfloor, the joists (9" x 1 5/8", 16" spacing) and some cobwebs.


Im building up the courage to tear up the plywood subfloor right now, and thinking if there are other ways to figure out what's going on with a bit less destruction

full res pics: imgur com /a/fIkP3vH
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Unread 03-12-2020, 01:53 PM   #5
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You can add those pictures directly from the local drive using the paper clip icon at the top of the reply box.
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Unread 03-12-2020, 02:02 PM   #6
jerome_
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browser crashed when trying to upload before:
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Unread 03-12-2020, 02:29 PM   #7
cx
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Welcome, Romey.

You gotta remove at least the plywood and the hardwood flooring. Even if you were adventurous enough to try to install new flooring on top of the layers you've got, you wouldn't wanna do it while it's probably still not done drying under there.

The sawn board subflooring may still be salvageable, but you'll need to install some new plywood over that, even for your vinyl planks, I would think. I'd need to see the manufacturer's instructions to determine that for sure, but I don't think I'd wanna try installing that over the sawn board subfloor.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 03-12-2020, 11:37 PM   #8
D & D Reno
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Not to buck the majority here, but in my experience the multiple subfloors won’t affect vinyl plank if you’ve stopped the deflection. Vinyl plank is pretty impressive stuff from the point of flexibility and resilience.

What would be a problem is that slope. It would need to be flattened out. Not level, not even completely flat, but definitely closer. Ardex makes some good products. We use Feather Finish all the time. You would likely need something more robust to eat that up that much. But I don’t think you would need the lathe and all, I was just reading about some levelers that can build up an inch or more by themselves. Could the leveler break up over time? It can, and very well may. But that isn’t going to matter much if it stays in the same area and keeps the LVP from deflecting enough to make the joints pop. This is all from my experience of laying thousand and thousand of sqft of the stuff. Always defer to manufacture guidelines and weigh the risks.

I personally don’t regard LVP as a “permanent” floor covering like tile. I have it in my own house for that very reason. Styles change, and I don’t want to be married to a floor that is labor intensive to change in large area like a kitchen or dining room. You mentioned the house would be a rental. If it were my own home I would live in for a long time I would rip up the layers you have, but that is from my personal hate of when people layer floor after floor after floor. Just dealt with a job that had 9 layers of floor before you got the joist. Ridiculous.
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Unread 03-13-2020, 08:42 AM   #9
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I would recommend a kerdi canoe.

But yes, as others have said, hardwood needs to go.
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