Im looking into buying a home whose 17' by 15' living room is approx 6
inches stepped down from the other floors. There is an unfinished
basement beneath this room and more than 10ft of ceiling above this
Id like to know if the floor of this room can be raised and brought in
line with the other floors on the same level in this house. I was
wondering if something simple as removing the carpet & subfloor and
adding some lumber on top of the floor joists and reinstalling the
removed subfloor and carpet woud be feasible? Would the joists be able
to handle the extra lumber (essentially deadweight with no structural
help)? Has someone attempted something like this.
It has been many years since, but I helped my step-father raise a floor in
two houses. they had to go up about 24". We used some cross bracing and a
series of jacks, cut the joists and slowly raised them. Not a job for an
amateur. The entire fronts of these buildings were also replaced as part of
You can build a floor with 2 x 4's or 2 x 6 or whatever gives the proper
dimension. Now, the windows may not be positioned properly, heating ducts
or piping may have to be changed, receptacles will not be up high enough and
may be code violations.
If I was you, I'd be looking at other houses.
Ahhh, the "sunken" living room. What a rage it WAS.
Over the years, I have been in a few homes where the floor was raised. More
accurately, the floor was simply decked over.
I recall that it was obvious (to me) that the decking had been added. It
struck me as a kludge, although it didn't LOOK bad. The floor had a hollow
sound and feel underfoot, sort of like the stage in a little theater.
It never occurred to me that the outlets, windows and ductwork would be
affected but they certainly would. If everything else about the home you are
considering is good, I'd try to live with the sunken room and see if it's as
bad as you thought. You might be pleasantly surprised.
I was amazed once to tour a brand new home that included an elevator to
accommodate POSSIBLE wheelchair needs in the future: It opened on the main
floor into a SUNKEN living room! "Brilliant". <sigh>
You will have a load change because of the added lumber
this may mean you need to sister on joists under the room
it may also mean you need to change the center beam
you will probably leave the subfloor if it is plywood and
good condition but you may need to cut each new joist
you use to build the box.
unless you are modifying the home for handicap access
I would suggest living with it. or pic a different house
Step down living rooms are still in fashion, except for those who are
wheelchair bound, it seems to me. We have a split level home with two
very broad steps through a wide opening, and that part of the house is
coolest in summer, while in the winter, the radiant floor heating in
that room keeps it comfortable. If the room is a cold sink in winter,
put in radiant floor heating, which will take up about 2" of depth.
Six inches isn't enough difference for two steps, I suppose.
You simply install a false floor. The house i just bought hasbeen
started and this is what he seems to have done. He put lots of drains
in the floor, and then he found (probably and Home Depot) long, slim
cinder blocks and placed them all along the walls, then on top of those
he placed 2X4's. I imagine this is what you nail your floor boards to.
Ask at Home Depot or they probably have a book on it. Let me know how
you make out, because i will be doing the same as soon as i get all the
moving van chaos move out to the barn.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.