Uneven floor - best way to prevent falls?

7 Replies

I recently bought a short sale rental house that has some rooms with the floor 1-3 inches higher.  For example, the kitchen floor is 3 inches higher than the floor of the living room.  The living room and kitchen are right next to each other, with no wall or door separation.

What do you think is the best way to prevent people from tripping and falling?  I am afraid that a tenant or guest, especially when sleepy or drunk, might trip and fall from the difference in floor height, and sue me.  I was thinking of installing a door saddle/threshold, but a wooden saddle might be slippery enough to make someone trip.  I'm thinking perhaps a rubber saddle if I can find one?  What do people think?  I'm rather paranoid about getting sued after having to evict a nightmare tenant on another property with nothing wrong with it who refused to pay rent, refused to move out, constantly insulted and harassed me, and frequently threatened to sue me for millions I believe for injuries he sustained when he was drunk and stumbled.

It sounds like you will need to replace the flooring at some point so you can bring it all to the same level. How is the flooring? Is it old? New?

If its new and you dont want to replace all of it you could build a ramp.

I have a ramp in my personal residence: old farmhouse,  I went cheap.   

It is about 2-3"rise over about 3'run. It's fine by me. I personally like it alot better than a small step.

If only one room is "sunk", or you want it fixed regardless.   I'd rip 2x4's lay them on the floor cover with plywood(glue and screw everythin)  and raise the low places to be the same level. 

Might have to get creative with a slight taper. 

Nobody would notice an inch drop if iit's spread out even across a whole room. 

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Yes, this is an old house.  The kitchen floor is about 3 inches higher than the living room, and most of floor in the rest of the house past the kitchen is at the same level of the kitchen floor.  One of the bedrooms near the kitchen is maybe an inch lower.  One of the bedrooms off the living room is an inch higher than the living room floor.  

Sounds like a rubber ramp might be best, although the ramps I'm seeing while browsing seem only to be wide enough for a doorway, so I'd have to get 2 or 3.

From your description, you should think about raising the floor since it's just one room that is low. 

But before you do,  figure out why that room is low and see if there is an issue to address. Alot of times floor on top of flooring on top of flooring causes uneven levels,  but that wouldn't be likely to cause a 3" difference.   

A ramp might be the obvious choice, but I would check underneath (basement) and see if any structural things are happening. How are the walls surrounding it? Cracked? Recently fixed/covered? It probably wasn't built that way, so something else is going on. I'd get an experienced contractor to look at it, or perhaps a long-time home inspector who has seen plenty of old homes. Even the rooms with an inch difference is enough to trip on.