I have a very unlevel floor upstairs in an old house (probably > 100 years). As far as I can tell, some of the joists were pushed down by the weight of a brick wall between the landing and a bedroom which was parallel to the joists but between two joists, i.e. the wall was supported only by floorboards which transferred the load to the joists near but not directly under the wall. (I don't know who thought it was a good idea to build that brick wall in the first place, but it must have been there for a long time. I expect the joists have settled where they are now and have no more reason to move.)
That wall has now been knocked down with the intention of replacing it with a stud wall. While the wall is gone, I took the opportunity to measure how unlevel the floorboards actually are; putting a spirit level from one side of the old wall to the other, there is about 25mm (1 inch) of gap between the spirit level and the floorboards at the lowest point, and this lowest point is only 90cm (35 inches) away from the nearest high point.
I've searched for information on how to fix this, and the usual recommendation is to take up the floorboards, and add wooden strips (shims) to the top of the joists to bring them up to level with the rest of the joists. However, the cases I've seen discussed have differences in level more like 8mm (1/3 inch). Will 25mm-thick shims be fine, or is there something else which needs to be done? What should I be considering here?
Photos: sorry for the blur. The exposed studs are left over from the brick wall, they will be removed before any work on the floor begins.
Edit to respond to some comments:
- The end state of the floor is going to be an underfloor heating system with panels that go over the floorboards, with engineered wood on top.
- The gradient of the landing floor (a drop of 1 inch over 35 inches) is not only visible, it makes me feel a little disoriented walking along it. I don't mind a few "charming" old-house features, but I definitely want to fix this one.
- The joists are definitely sagging, not just the floorboards; the ceiling immediately below the affected area is not flat. That said, due to the way the ceiling is decorated it's not very obvious, and getting the ceiling level is not important to me, I'm mainly interested in the floor.
- There's currently nothing above the floorboards I intend to save, and I'm not concerned with saving original materials - it's in good condition, but it's not going to be exposed, and I have no other use for it, so it's just a matter of effort and cost.