Flooring For Uneven Floors

14 Replies

https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/52/topics/947...

This was a great discussion about flooring recommendations for uneven floors in an old house. The forum thread was from three years ago, and now I have the same question, but wonder if there are some new products on the market. There seems to be some great luxury vinyl planks, and maybe even the soft peel-and-stick ones would do better on uneven floors. Looking to start up this discussion again and for recommendations for flooring of an entire 1380 SF 3/2 single level 1936 house, after other foundations issues get resolved and the sub flooring is as level as possible. Also, I'm hoping to do one type of flooring for the entire house, or would breaking it up be better?

Depends on what the market dictates and what you're working with. 

If it is real bad carpet and pad can cover a lot of problems. Self leveler is great too for smoothing out areas. I don't think products are the solution really. Best to get the surface in decent condition so you can put whatever on top. Maybe large format tile or hardwood levels aren't achievable. But should be able to get good enough to put most stuff down.

When I have the option on I like to run a nice laminate throughout most of a house and then tile or vinyl in the baths/utility depending on price point. 

@Julie Marquez  How out of level are the sub floors?  Anytime I've run into this I've added a 1/4" underlayment before I lay in my finished floors and it's turned out really well.  

nothing is better than hardwood. putting shingled under hardwood will level it and works great.

i just did a condo that had almost 1" of height change. carpet would have covered it, but you could feel it under neat. 

so just put hardwood and it was done. expensive, but works. peel and stick wont work. these things suck.

yes, real, 3/4" hardwood. it's nailed down. not the crap that's glued or clicks. 

because hardwood does not bend, it eliminated imperfections much better.

shingles fill the low spots/gaps and hardwood just lays on them before it's nailed down.

If foundation issues exist, and you and your team plan to remedy them, the subfloor should pretty much settle within a manageable tolerance. If you decide on tile, any imperfections can be worked out either with self leveling or in the thinset itself. Hardwood gives you a touch more flexibility, and by a touch I mean very minimal. Only seen hardwood nailed down, and only seen laminate offered as floating. Never seen a floating hardwood floor.

(732) 707-5559

@Robert Soto Yes, we plan to remedy the foundation issues as best as possible, with an old house I don't know how perfect it can get, but we will try. I just want to choose a flooring that will highlight any of the old house issues. I love a good self leveling thin set, but I'm kind of afraid of tile cracking if more settling occurs in the future....

Without reading through everything, how uneven are your floors. you can get a cheap laser to shoot across the floor then run a tape measure out about 10'. Using a file cards go out in one foot increments and use a pen to mark where the laser hits the card. This can show you how uneven your floor actually is. Since laminate has to be with 3/16" on a ten foot span , I'm betting you're outside of that. 

The newer laminates called EVP or WPC, not a brand but a type, will be more rigid and allow you to install them over rougher floors. Still try to get one with a decent AC or at least a 12 mil wear layer. I'm not a fan of the cork backed EVP/WPC but they seem to be working out in most instances if you require some type of sound deadening.

Hope that helps. PM me if you have other questions

@Julie Marquez Seems like your issues lie between the happy medium of cost, decor and durability.  Once 3/4" hardwood is installed it lasts the longest, plus if you are in a buy and hold situation, odds are you will remodel somewhere down the road.  3/4" hardwood can be sanded and refinished at least once if not twice.  As you know each refinishing will be customized to your new style choices and each one adds substantially to the useful life of your floors.  I have no vested interest in hardwood over tile, however for my money, outside of the bathrooms, I choose hardwood the majority of the time.

(732) 707-5559
Originally posted by @Julie Marquez :

@Robert Soto Yes, we plan to remedy the foundation issues as best as possible, with an old house I don't know how perfect it can get, but we will try. I just want to choose a flooring that will highlight any of the old house issues. I love a good self leveling thin set, but I'm kind of afraid of tile cracking if more settling occurs in the future....

Tiles wont crack until you have settlement issues.  Existing cracks will telegraph through.  If you tile, you can put down a crack isolation membrane down under the thin set. 

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