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So I am in the process of finishing out my basement. I am going to start by first building my office, and later doing the rest of the basement. My basement is divided in half, and I have the typical metal floor to support beam jacks running down the middle. The floor also slopes towards these jacks, and back towards the back of the house, where the cleanout for the sewer is. When I install the 2x4 framing, one side of the room is going to be lower than the rest.

In measuring, it's 7 feet exactly on the low side, and 7'-4" on the high-side. That's a 4" difference in height between the two sides.

Can I just pour some self leveling cement on it and let it fix itself? If so, hoe do I know how much to mix up so I don't make the new area higher than the rest of the floor?

What are some solutions to remedy this?

  • Either a picture would help or help understand what you mean by "typical metal floor to support beam jacks running down the middle." It tells me you do not have a concrete floor but a metal floor which I have never seen in a basement. and the beam jacks sound like it is just a stud wall under an overhead beam to support the first floor? Please clarify. – Jack Feb 10 '18 at 16:25
  • @Jack - I believe that he means that he has the "typical floor to support beam metal jacks...". It is just a word ordering issue. – Michael Karas Feb 10 '18 at 16:33
  • Yes, the adjustable Jacks that hold the support beam up. – Ex0r Feb 10 '18 at 17:00
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I think you should just leave the floor slope as is. It is designed to help support drainage to one end of the basement in the event that there is ever an accumulation of a large amount of water into the basement space. You should ask yourself if it feels awkward to walk around on the existing floor with its slope. Most likely it is not a big problem at all.

The varying length of the studs should not be a problem because you are going to be cutting them all anyway from the standard lengths that you can buy. They come either as 8' long or as studs they will be 92 5/8" long.

After you have finished out your office it there is a need for anything like a bookshelf or a desk to be perfectly level or plumb all you have to do is to shim under it with wedges or adjust its legs.

  • One of the concerns I have, is making everything else level and plumb if the walls and themselves are different heights. There's a noticeable difference in height when you walk on it, and I think it'll be even more so when the flooring is in. I'm not even sure why it's there as there's no floor drain. – Ex0r Feb 10 '18 at 17:02
  • The walls and doors and what ever can be made plumb even though the floor has a slope. Also once you carve up the space onto smaller segments the overall height difference will be less noticeable. BTW,,,this is not an uncommon issue in finishing a basement. Often times if you install doors it is necessary to adjust the gap height some under the doors to accommodate the small floor slope across the 28" to 36" width of the door depending upon which way the floor slopes relative to the swing of the door itself. – Michael Karas Feb 10 '18 at 17:09
  • Yeah I guess I'm mostly thinking of the baseboards and etc. I would think you'd see a noticeable incline in the baseboards relative to the ceiling but since I'm using a drop ceiling, I suppose I could adjust the incline in the ceiling rails to match the floor angle. Luckily the door is on the side where the wall is straight. Unfortunately it's only going to be about a 6 foot tall door because of the ceiling height and the ductwork I need to work around. – Ex0r Feb 10 '18 at 17:20
  • I would make the drop ceiling level and not have it follow the floor. Also note that in basements that I have remodeled I boxed in the beam and duct work with drywall and minimal thickness wood underneath so as to mimimize height loss. I then kept the drop ceiling as close to the joists above a possible and brought it up to the boxed in structure. This meant I only had about 1.5 inches between the joists and the tops of the drop ceiling rails which made installing the tiles an interesting exercise as most manufactures recommend more space above the ceiling. – Michael Karas Feb 10 '18 at 17:37
  • Yeah I was going to do that, but nearly the entire ceiling is covered in ducting, pipe or electrical so all I can do is bring the drop ceiling down to just below the lowest hanging item, the furnace vent tube. – Ex0r Feb 10 '18 at 19:08
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Now is the time to do it, 1 open area is much easier then going in and around framing. First be sure to dress and properly prime the area. Find the high point of the floor, i use a laser to transfer that spot to the wall. Next use this mark to install a level ledger board around the room. The bottom of the ledger is the top of the poor, takes guess work out of it. Its best to have 2/3 people helping you, 1 to mix, 1 to pour, 1 to spread and blend pours. Self leveler is not self spreading, you have to move it where it needs to be. Pick up a cheap pair of cleated shoes so you can walk into the pour and smooth it out. Be sure to respect any control joints and expansion joints. Do it now and make your life easier when its time to frame and finish.

  • Is it possible to do it after I put the 2x4's in? I was able to get the rough framing in, level and equal height. there was just enough to slide a 2x4 under it to make it level in the low areas. My plan was to pour the self leveling concrete in the area that is raised, and using a trowel level it off as best I could up to the bottom of the 2x4's. I realize this will probably solidify the 2x4 to the floor, but I don't have any intention of removing them anyway so I am not too concerned about that. I figured if I had the floor level and could see where the low spots are, it would be easier. – Ex0r Feb 12 '18 at 17:33
  • Is the room square? If so then the same method applies. Mark a level line around the room so you know where level is, coverage per bag is normally 45/50 square feet per bag at 1/8 of a inch, and can be feathered to nothing. – user81381 Feb 12 '18 at 19:39
  • yes the room is square. The problem is it's completely level in two corners, and gradually slopes down (at different degrees) from the other two corners up to at least the thickness of a 2x4. It almost makes an inverted triangle for the slope. I placed two 2x4s end to end across the span I am trying to match, and ran a level across the top of them and got a mostly level reading. Going from level to the 2x4 on the opposite direction it's off by a significant amount. I was going to just buy enough to do the entire room, but it appears I would need 8-10 bags at $30 a bag. – Ex0r Feb 12 '18 at 22:56
  • I almost wonder if it would be cheaper, easier to just get some 1x6 furring strips and custom scribe each one and then place a subfloor over top of it to level it out. – Ex0r Feb 12 '18 at 23:06
  • Installing scribed sleepers can work too. Make sure you put down plastic under it. – user81381 Feb 12 '18 at 23:18
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Certainly, its not ideal but if your that far into then go for it. Dont forget to get some cleated shoes, you'll have to get in there to spread it and be effective.

  • Is it fairly easy to use this stuff? I don't want it to be too high in the area I'm working in and definitely don't want it to still be too low. – Ex0r Feb 12 '18 at 18:57
  • Its pretty easy, the work is all in the prep. If you just pour by eye its likely you'll have issues. You should already know what it what, and should have already fixed ledger board around the basement. If you haven't, then do it before you pour. You must KNOW where it needs to go to be effective. Self leveling doesn't mean self spreading. Do the work now to get it ready and the pour will be cake. – user81381 Feb 12 '18 at 19:06
  • Yeah I guess I am just trying to level the area inside the room I am building not the entire basement. I think the hardest part will be feathering the low spot into the level spot but I think if I can get a 2x4 long enough to span the distance, I should be able to mostly flatten it out. I few high spots I can knock down or cover with the carpet padding. – Ex0r Feb 12 '18 at 19:16
  • Well I give up. Nothing I have been able to do is effective. In order to get the sleepers level with one another, I had to run a 2x4 runner lengthwise across the room and level it out, then the sleepers have to sit on top of it, plus shimmed another 2" to make them level. this brings the total distance it's off between 2" in some areas up to 8" in others. There is no way I can cover that big of a decline. – Ex0r Feb 13 '18 at 14:12

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