How to Align the Floors


When the joists run parallel with a wall that’s been removed , you may find that one floor is out of level with the other. This may have been caused by slight movement in parts of the building or they may have been built that way; the floors were never intended to be aligned. Depending on the difference between floors, you can make a slope or step to deal with the unevenness satisfactorily.

Packing and trimming

When the joists of the two floors are supported on the same wall plate , the chances are that both floors will be at the same level. Because wood can shrink or warp, however, it may be necessary to pack or trim the top of one or two joists slightly to allow for the infill board to sit properly.

Align the Floors

Dealing with misalignment

A misalignment up to 18mm can be accommodated by the short lengths of floorboards cut to span the gap. Although probably acceptable, the slope will be apparent. Where the difference in level is large, it may be necessary to create a single step or make a gradual slope. A gradual slope should be less noticeable, but cannot satisfactorily run across a door opening.

Making a step

Trim the ends of the floorboards on the high side flush with the joists and nail a batten to it. Trim the boards on the low side in the same way, but screw a 38mm thick planed softwood riser to the side of the joist to finish level with the batten.

If the floors are to be covered, cut and nail short lengths of floorboards to form the step tread. Where you want a bare wood floor, a single board running the width of the step would look better. In this case, skew-nail noggings flush with and between the riser and adjacent joists at approximately 750mm (2ft 6in) centres – necessary for a wide board that is weak across its width.

Where a floor has been raised, make a shallow threshold step at a doorway. Prepare a hardwood threshold board to fit between the door linings and finish flush with the raised floor. Nail it to the lower floor. Trim the bottom of the door to clear the step and refit it on its hinges.

Making a gradual slope

Cut the floorboards flush with the joist on the high side and nail a batten to it as before. Remove the skirting boards from the side walls and lift the floorboards of the room with the lower floor. Rest the edge of a straight-edged board on the nailed batten of the high floor and one of the joists of the lower floor to give a gradual slope.

Take measurements between each joist and the underside of the straight-edged board. Set an adjustable bevel to the angle between the side of the joist and the board. Cut with a power saw lengths of 50mm (2in) wide softwood to these dimensions at the required angle. Nail the prepared packing to the top of the joists in descending order.

Re-lay the floorboards, butting their ends against the cut board of the higher floor. Adjust the lengths of the boards for extension pieces to be laid into the floor at their other ends. For a finished wood floor, re-lay and stagger the boards of both floors to break up the straight joint line.

Replace the skirting following the line of the floor and re-nail to the wall.

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About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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