A recent question on Hometalk about filling in a sunken living room floor prompted me to write up my own experience with this. Filling in a sunken floor was definitely NOT a do-it-yourself project at my house. It was part of a 'pretty much' entire house remodel we did in 2012.
The reason my husband and I decided to remodel, and especially fill in the floor, was that we wanted to be able to “age-in-place” in our home. As we all know, aging sometimes comes with physical difficulties, poorer eyesight, etc, and we felt that a sunken living room was a “hip breaking” accident just waiting to happen!
From the pictures you can see the living room is right off the foyer. Despite warning after warning, people visiting our home continued to “fall” into the sunken area!
My husband and I were gone during the initial two weeks of demo. We came home to a gutted kitchen and the removal of the tile. I was very happy we were not home for this step! During the demo they found a not so nice surprise—termite damage—which of course added another level of cost to the project!
Pre-fill: Before the floor could be filled in three things had to happen.
Fill: After all this was done, the fill-in began.
As best as I can tell they used a layer of support beams that looked much like studs in a wall. To this they added insulation (or at least it looked like insulation to me), then a layer of plywood, followed by cement board, then finally tile which they covered in construction paper to keep it clean.
After—not quite yet!
After the paper was pulled up we discovered that at least 90 of the floor tiles were flawed due to a manufacturing problem. Those tiles had to be pulled up, replaced, re-grouted, etc. Ug! (It took them at least a month to realized they used the wrong color grout even though I told the guy who was grouting initially that the grout did not look right! He gave me that “you don’t know what you’re talking about honey” look.)
Finally, we had an AFTER. It was such a pleasure to be able to walk from the hallway straight across to the kitchen without falling into the living room. Despite all the cost and subsequent difficulty we are glad we took the plunge!
Please note: We are not sponsored by any of the companies/products that we used. These products were picked and bought by us.
FYI: We are not professionals, and we don’t claim to be. This is what we found worked for our project. Yours may need a little different approach. Safety first!
Steph & Vicki
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