Archive for September 29th, 2020

Diary #535

Leveling the floor of my house has been a long, slow process, but we’re finally beginning to make some discernible progress.  Every Sunday we use a laser level to take readings across the entire length of the house; when we started the drop between the highest and lowest points on the floor was almost four inches, and now it’s less than 2.75 inches.  But as we’ve worked on remodeling, we’ve come to realize that at least some of that drop has more to do with the fact that the property slopes down toward the east, and the low point is on the east end; in other words, the original owners (who built the house themselves in 1927) don’t seem to have concerned themselves with whether it was level or not!  The house is sturdy enough, but there are many places where walls are not exactly square or plumb, so it stands to reason the floor probably wasn’t properly level to start with; everything seems to have been “eyeballed”.  Given this information, we’ve decided to worry less about whether the floor is truly level and more about whether it’s straight and strong.  Accordingly, we’ve reversed the direction of measurement; whereas before three weeks ago we set the laser up on the living room floor and shot toward the back door, we’re now setting up on the lower level of the deck immediately outside the back door (which we know to be level since we built it ourselves) and shooting to a laser target set up in the living room.  That way, we eliminate the possibility that the floor under the laser tripod might also be moving, and thus introucing error into the measurements.  On Sunday, I asked our hired man to go under the house and crawl toward the living room (the oldest part of the house) to be sure there were no other bad places that we couldn’t detect from above; he returned with this rotten timber.  Fortunately, it was the only bad one he saw, and he said it was obvious it had been poorly placed to start with; all the others appeared sound, and the beam the timber was supporting does not appear to be sagging yet.  So the next time he comes out, we’re going to have him replace it with a steel support just in case, and after we get the bad spot where we want it (we’re improving by about 1/8” per week now), we’ll fill in the area beneath it with a concrete pedestal so that nothing short of a major earthquake can mess it up again.

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