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Unread 12-30-2018, 11:58 PM   #1
clifton clowers
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Botched SLC

Title says it all. We're renovating our kitchen in a house built in 1897. After removing tile over lauan that was installed on the old hardwood, the contractor left the hardwood in place. (We are aware that the prior installation was done incorrectly, but it was stable for 50+ years, and was incredibly difficult to demo.) The hardwood is 3/4" maple, and the subfloor is also 3/4" thick - joists are true old growth 2x10's on 16" centers, basement ceiling underneath is steel lath with 3/4" plaster.

Anyhow, the contractor's solution was to first put a coating of thinset mortar over the wood, then prime, then add metal lath, then pour self leveler.

The immediate issue is that he seemed to overestimate the "self" part and the floor is nowhere near level. Indeed, it is less level that when he started, complete with a large slope, various ridges and bumps, and high spots that are more than an inch higher than the low spots. It's a mess, and we think it will need to be demo'd and redone.

So the questions are - does anyone have any tips or tricks for removing the leveler layer without totally destroying the wood?

And, while we are down there, should I just remove the wood and replace it with something else? Removing it will be extraordinarily difficult if it is even really possible.

Thanks
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Unread 12-31-2018, 12:22 AM   #2
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Thanks for stopping in. Sounds like a creative individual. He’s probably the first one that’s ever tried that technique.

Well if it’s going to have to be redone anyway you might try using a Bosch hammer to break up that thin layer of self leveler and likely it will just delaminate between the mesh and the thinset. Might be easy to just separate and shovel all that off.

Then you’ll have the choice to either cut out all the hardwood start on the clean subfloor or cover that hardwood with half-inch plywood. Floor height might be an issue that way tho.
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Unread 12-31-2018, 12:26 AM   #3
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Hi, Clifton.

With putting SLC directly over solid wood, nobody will offer any advice to keep what you've got. I realize you had another installation that lasted. But every single manufacturer will give a thumbs down on such a job. And we go out of our way to offer "by the book" info on the Advice Forum. If we stray off the path with directions, we'll come right out and say that so that everyone understands the risks.

But this install is too far off the tracks already for anyone to offer any real advice that would include keeping what you've got. You need to remove the maple layer (assuming you can use the reduction in height) and install plywood. How thick depends on joist spacing and orientation of the subfloor layer.

By the way, congratulations on spelling lauan correctly. In nearly two decades, you're probably only the second to do so.
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Unread 12-31-2018, 11:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
And we go out of our way to offer "by the book" info on the Advice Forum.
That's why I asked here.

If I pull up the SLC & thinset layer, and remove the maple, can the ply be simply screwed to the subfloor? Or does it need to be lined up with and screwed to the joists themselves?

Also, my default for most things is baltic birch plywood as I trust it to be void and defect free - is there any reason to think it is not a good choice here, or that there is a better one?
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Unread 12-31-2018, 11:41 AM   #5
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Ply laid in fullest sheets possible to minimize small pieces, laid perpendicular to joists. Screwed, or I use ring shank nails, to the subfloor, avoiding all floor joists. You want that second layer to be independent of the joists. No glue.
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Unread 12-31-2018, 11:57 AM   #6
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You said the subfloor is 3/4" thick, but is it 1x or something similar? If so, how is it oriented to the joists?
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Unread 12-31-2018, 01:53 PM   #7
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I measured the subfloor boards and they are actually 1" thick and 10" wide. They are diagonal to the joists with the hardwood being perpendicular to the joists.

For what it's worth, I had a structural engineer examine the floor as we're putting in a 1000lb range, and he commented that the old joists were about as strong as doubled up modern joists of the same dimensions.
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Unread 12-31-2018, 02:46 PM   #8
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1,000 lb range. Whoa. Add that to your calculations.

Look at https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin...t=Pre-existing

Your engineer likely calculated the loads to carry your heavy range, but did he also calculate its affect on your tile installation as well?
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Unread 12-31-2018, 03:04 PM   #9
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The tile weight was accounted for by the engineers (tile is 1/2" thick porcelain), though looking back at their report they expected a layer of plywood. So another argument that it needs to be added.

The range will be on the edge of the room that butts up to a brick support wall. They did recommend using Simpson hangers to add blocking between the joists under the range itself, which we will install from below.
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Unread 12-31-2018, 04:43 PM   #10
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What is the span of the true 2'' x 10'' joists ?

With such a heavy range , I would assume a long and heavy island / massive countertop ?

Maybe a good idea to screw the subfloor boards while you are there .
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Unread 12-31-2018, 05:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clifton clowers
If I pull up the SLC & thinset layer, and remove the maple, can the ply be simply screwed to the subfloor? Or does it need to be lined up with and screwed to the joists themselves?
Yes, it can be screwed directly to the subfloor. Make sure you're subfloor boards are well secured to the joists. Then fasten your new plywood to just the subfloor, intionally missing the joists (more on this in the article linked to a few lines down from here). Run the long axis perpendicular to the joists. If you can line up the ends of this top layer of plywood at approximately the 1/4 way distance between joists, that would be the most desireable locations. It's much better to align the ends at this location than atop the joists due to the up and down curvature that occurs as point loads are applied across the floor. Take a look at this article by Frank Woeste, P.E. and Peter Nielsen. Quick Note: when you look at Figure 3 within the article, the white underlayment's long axis is actually running left to right, even though the scale of it is confusing and makes you mistakenly initially think it's installed parallel with the joists.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clifton clowers
Also, my default for most things is baltic birch plywood as I trust it to be void and defect free - is there any reason to think it is not a good choice here, or that there is a better one?
Maybe not a good choice. I'd be careful for two reasons here: one, some Baltic Birch is made with interior glue and some is made with exterior. Second, the stuff is 5' long. That messes with trying to stay at the 1/4 distance mark of your joists that are 16" O.C.....and a multiple of 16" doesn't go well with 60". But a multiple of 16" is 96"....the length of traditional plywood. If you use 60" Baltic Birch, you're messing with your ability to place the seams in ideal locaitons. So, I'd personally go with BCX plywood...the most common name used in most box stores. Are you planning to use 3/4"?

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Unread 12-31-2018, 06:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
What is the span of the true 2'' x 10'' joists ?

With such a heavy range , I would assume a long and heavy island / massive countertop ?
12' 4" from the side of the house with stone foundation to center of the house which is a brick support wall.

No island, range is up against the brick wall. Countertops are Corian.

Quote:
Maybe not a good choice. I'd be careful for two reasons here: one, some Baltic Birch is made with interior glue and some is made with exterior. Second, the stuff is 5' long.
Interesting. I'll look for 8x4 sheets instead.

Probably 3/4" assuming that's the prudent decision.

Thanks for the article suggestion. I'll check it out before doing anything.
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Unread 01-01-2019, 01:27 AM   #13
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A Viking 5 footer is at 750 lbs. What the heck are you putting in and when are the invites going out cuz I expect you could feed a small army with whatever you cook on that thing.
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Unread 01-01-2019, 01:19 PM   #14
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It's an AGA.
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Unread 01-01-2019, 01:50 PM   #15
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I just read up on that stove. I’ve never heard of such. Do you really run the thing 24/7?

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