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How to level a floor or bathroom floor without using self leveling compound

Submitted by admin on Thu, 08/30/2012 - 16:37
Finished floor with linoleum
An image of the leveling floor before tiling

I was called by a home owner about doing some upgrades to their home in preparation of selling it. Their list included a number of small repairs but the big one was to tile the bathroom floor.

I took one look at the floor and I said Humm.  There was no way to tile could be put down without first leveling it which was no small undertaking.

From the door to the wall behind the bathtub was eight feet and the floor dropped down about 2.5 inches. (See the before image).

An image of the floor before tilingThe first thing I had to do was to figure if it was a structural reason why the floor sank down so much. So I checked the joists in the basement for rot or water damage but none could be found.

The only reason I could see for the sagging floor was from the the weight of the cast iron bath tub.and the home was over a hundred years old . So I doubled up on the joists firming up the floor so we could start leveling.

We didn’t want to use leveling compound because of the timing factor, having to wait until the next day to dry, so we came up with an alternative. We cut out 7 giant 8ft shims and placed them 12 inches apart and nailed them to the subfloor. We then installed a new ¾ inch plywood subfloor and the entire floor was level within 1/8” of an inch which is not too bad if I do say so myself.

We then cut and installed the new ceramic floor all in the same day (see the after image).  We returned the next day to grout the tile and take care of some other items on the list.  So, the home owner was expecting at least a four day undertaking we finished in two days we were both happy for that.