Ask Your Question

Angie's List Answers is the trusted spot to ask home improvement and health questions and get answers from service companies, health providers and consumers. For ratings and reviews on companies in your area, search Angie's List.

 
 
or
Submit
Top 30 Days Experts
Rank Leader Points*
1 kstreett 240
2 Guest_9020487 110
3 Guest_9190926 105
4 GoldenKid 100
5 ahowell 95
6 KnowledgeBase 95
7 skbloom 80
8 Guest_98024861 70
9 Guest_9311297 70
10 Guest_9400529 70

*Updates every 4 hours

Browse Projects By Category

Question DetailsAsked on 1/10/2014

filling up a sunken room

I have a sunken living room, i need to fill it up, what are my options? wood or concrete

Do you have the same question? Follow this Question


11 Answers

-1
Votes

I am assuming there is no headroom problem. It depends on how much you need to raise it. I would guess it is either 8 inches or a multiple of that. I would be inclined to use wood do to the fact it will probably create less mess and you have the possibility to add insulation to the floor plus it is easier on your feet than a concrete slab. You could use gravel and top it with concrete and possibly even add ridgid insulation under it. This will add thermal mass to the room which can be an advantage but I still feel it is harder on your feet.


Don

Answered 4 years ago by ContractorDon

0
Votes

what kind of contractor would do such a thing? can i have recommandations?


i can't remember but it is 5-8 inches .. that is about it.


Thanks.

Answered 4 years ago by SeaMan

0
Votes

If you are talking wood a carpenter. I did a floor like this awhile ago and used 2X6 treated lumber with 2 inch foam insulation between the sleepers (2X6s). with 3/4 inch T+G plywood floor since it was to be carpeted.


Don

Answered 4 years ago by ContractorDon

0
Votes

If you have a basement underneath the sunken room, pouring a cement floor , with all that it entails, would be a messy, heavy way to fill up the space. After pouring concrete, you would probably want to put good flooring on top of the concrete, be it tile or wood or a laminate. This is a costly way to go. I would recommend putting double two x 6" or 8"s, whatever the space demands, 16" on center or whatever the zoning law demands, then put a plywood floor on top and then go with carpeting, laminate, or whatever flooring you desire. Someone said to insulate under the floor and I agree. I have a similar situation in a house I just bought. Seems like the 1980's was the time for 'sunken floors' and I plan on building up my sunken living room floor too. It's so dated and can be dangerous too.

Let me know how it comes out since I am not quite ready to fill in my living room yet. I have a kitchen to plot and plan for first, lol.

Carol

angelwynd7@aol.com

Source: me

Answered 4 years ago by angelwynd7

1
Vote

I have seen some disasters from using wood for this - if you do not provide excellent ventilation, the "pit" will accumulate moisture through the concrete and rot the supporting timbers, making a support and an odor mess. I have opened up several that were total fungus and stagnant water pits - like something out of a horror movie - one even had totally broken down most of the wood (why it collapsed under the owner) and smelled like a septic tank.

Bite the bullet and have a concrete contractor fill with comacted base material to within 3 inches of top, put in a vapor barrier, then concrete it with reinforced concrete dowelled into the exiting non-sunken part of the slab. In some areas, and considering the difficulty of getting fill into an existing house, may well be cheaper to just fill it up with pumped-in concrete - faster, cleaner, does not require drilling drain holes or rebar, etc. NOTE - do NOT use this solution if in very soft clayey soil, quicksand conditions like along Mississippi River, etc - weight may cause cracks in house, especially if more than just one step sunken.

If not using mass concrete, you should predrill a series of drain holes in the sunken slab first, so you do not get a stagnant water accumulation in the void over the years - better yet, core or cut out some significant holes in the sunken slab so it does not act as a trap, especially at the lowest points.

No matter how you handle it, a bitumastic or mastic trowel-on or stick-on concrete joint sealant should be put all around the top 2 inches or so of the edge of the existing slab for waterproofing, and incise a regular concrete joint at that interface, because it will crack a bit as the concrete shrinks. Then seal that joint with concrete caulk.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

0
Votes

Hi Don, LCD:

I thought i answered but i dont' see my answer, so my appology if it will be listed twice.


so what is the verdict? concrete or wood?


there is no basement, the sunken room 5 inches above a slab.



Answered 4 years ago by SeaMan

0
Votes

If the picture is your room it appears to be fairly new construction so I am going to assume it was insulated to code for your area. You could rip out the wood flooring and pour a concrete slab over the existing one using plastic sheeting between the two as a bond breaker as a vapor barrier was probably used durring the construction of the original slab. This would depend on access to the room for a concrete delivery.

Personally I would use treated lumber 2X4s (3 1/2") and a layer of 3/4" T+G plywood subflooring with 3/4" wood flooring to total the 5" needed. It is easier on your feet and the wood subfloor allows for easier install of a wood floor to match existing look of the house. If you wanted carpet you could either add another layer of plywood depending on what would best match the upper floor level. A layer of 1/2" plywood installed with the joints staggered plus the padding for the carpet plus the carpet should do the trick.


Don

Answered 4 years ago by ContractorDon

0
Votes

Hi Don,

no it is not my house, but it is identical, this is just a better picture, currently there is an old carpet.


whether carpt or wood floor, this will be decided with my designer later (still looking for one).


I agree with you and more people are telling me wood is the way to go (it is much easier), but LCD mentioned the ventalation and rest of it which raised my worries, as you know i'm going to spend money and i just want to do it right from the beginning (as much as possible).


This is the best site ever so far, guys keep it up and thank you.

Answered 4 years ago by SeaMan

0
Votes

If the house is close to the same age I don't think moisture should be a problem unless the builder took a short cut which happens. I have seen masons poke holes in the plastic vapor barrier to speed up the concrete finishing process. If you want to test the slab if you have an old mirror, sheet of plastic or glass on the bare concrete and see it you get any condensation under it. If you use treated lumber you should not have any problems anyway and for added protection put a layer of heavy weight plastic down first and tape the seams Also if you go with carpet, wood or even some slate or quarry tile floor it will breath. A vinyl tile or sheet good floor will act as a vapor barrier and could possibly trap moisture. If by chance there is vinyl flooring under the existing carpet that would act as a barrier also.

Glad all that replied were of help to you.


Don

Answered 4 years ago by ContractorDon

0
Votes

Couple of final thoughts after reading Don's last two comments:

1) if you use wood, definitely use All Weather Wood (ACA/CCA/PCP/ACCA type) - the green treated wood, not the brown "wolmanized" product - FARRRR more resistant to rot and mold. I would also use interior/exterior rated plywood, just in case any moisture builds up from the concrete.

2) as he said, vapor barrier underneath - i would concrete caulk any existing concrete joints, then require it be laid down on an adhesive caulk seam like liquid nails around the edges to be sure it is tight to the edge and joint. And of course, since it will likely need at least one joint, a double-seamed glued overlap. If going with wood, I would also look at bringing it all the way to the top of the opening with a overlapping second sheet all around - second sheet as it is likely to get snagged putting the joists in, so keep it separate from the base sheet so that does not get ripped up too - that is obviously the primary area of concern for water vapor diffusing through the concrete.

3) check code before using treated wood - some areas prohibit it indoors - if so, use redwood or cedar, as more bug and water resistant.

4) one thing you could do to improve ventilation under the flooring if using wood - after the floor sheathing is down, drill a series of holes - maybe 1/2", every joist space full length on the two ends where joists terminate, being sure hits open space not joist, to provide some airflow possibility. Of course, base or flooring would have to cover these. Obviously, if putting down solid flooring these would do no good, if a floating floor cut out a notch at vent holes in the padding to allow air to flow up beind baseboard a bit. If the depressed area is adjacent to heated basement in adjacent areas, could connect with bug screened air vents to basement (screened to prevent the relatively dead air space from becoming a breeding ground).

5) require that any levelling shims under the joists be glued to the slab, so movement of the flooring cannot jiggle them loose. Even better - unless the joists are free-hung at the ends and do not touch the concrete slab at all (which eliminates the levelling issue), I would require they be concrete nailed to the slab so they cannot move up and down, otherwise you can get a rocking situation resulting in a springy floor.

6) before doing either, make sure there are no pipes going under that area - would be a real mees to have to tear it out to access pipes for repair.

7) look at the cost - I figure filling a 16x24 room 5 inches deep in concrete at about $1000 range - might be cheaqper all around than the time to fit in a wood floor, especially as your depth is mighty shallow for joists, so they would probably have to be at least midspan supported, which brings in levelling issues if the existing slab is not perfectly level and flat.

8) if doing in concrete, I would remove th transition trim at the step down, so you are meetign concrete to concrete - do not leave any wood in the joint, as it will eventuyally probably rot.

9) all in all, I would not refuse to do this in wood if a client demanded it and as long as some form of ventilation was provided, but for an all around permanent fix with no future concerns I would just pump (to avoid construction mess) it full of concrete with a bitumastic seal near the top of the joint (but not showing) all around and be done with it once and for all. Of course, that is irreversible from a practical standpoint if some future owner wanted the recessed floor back.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

0
Votes

LCD,


I have finally decided to do concrete, i found a contractor to do the job.

we have removed the carpet.

the concrete contractor said i have a slab in a very good condition (good news)

my questions are:

1- Do we put anything between the current slab and the new concrete, a barier, moisture barrier, else?

2- what do we do against the 2 walls? someone else said putting some sholder blade, my current contractor said, there is no need for that.

3- should be there any drilling on the currentt slab to fit the new concrete in?

4- the current contractor said he would drill both eadges (that the new concrete will flush with) with holes and some kind of metal to connect to the new concrete.


I just want to make sure to do it right because, it is not easy to reverse a concrete work than wood work, etc.


Thanks.



Answered 4 years ago by SeaMan




Related Questions


Terms Of Use
|
Privacy Policy