Our house is 100 years old and the 2nd floor was carpeted. The carpet was worn out and I pulled it up to find hardwood floors (I did the hall and main bedroom so far). Realizing I have to refinish these floors, my question is about a hump in the bedroom floor. Otherwise, the floors are relatively straight, but this hump runs east to west about 2 ft. inside the north door which is close to the NW corner. The door rides over it's crest so the previous owner cut the door to clear the floor+carpet+padding. At it's worst, which is where the door swings, the hump is 3/4" tall over the average of the floor. So my question is to tear up the entire floor to repair (plane off the joist in question) or let it ride. The cause of the hump is a wall that is under it. The house has settled, but apparently that wall has done less so (it sits on foundation). If I refinish, I'm wondering how obvious it will be. I would rather not pull up the entire floor of course - which would be both the planks (running N-S) and the sub floor pine planks (running E-W I believe). These are standard old school hardwood oak planks. I figure I could shave up to 1/4" off before it was a problem, which would bring the floor to having a 1/2" hump maybe. I don't know what it'll look like and what buyers would expect in a 100 year old home. So:

  • Just sand out scratches and refinish
  • Plane the hardwood over the hump down 1/4" and sand out scratches and refinish
  • Tear up entire floor, sister/plane joists, and replace floor And I assume I'd use a satin finish to help hide imperfections. I would be doing this (and comfortable doing this) myself. Has anyone dealt with this and have any thoughts? I will probably sell this house in 5 years or so to get to a smaller one, and am more concerned about ROI than having a dope floor on a room I don't use. Some pics below. Note the one of a level seems a bit exaggerated due to a wide angle lens.It shows the change over a 4' span. Floor highlighting hump

Level on floor

Thank you

  • the best ROI and looks would be new carpet, unless you insist of keeping the hardwood look then sanding is a must
    – Traveler
    Feb 5 at 0:55
  • 1
    Have you considered opening the ceiling below and adjusting the supports and then pushing this hump down? Youtube stud pack did a video recently on pretty much that except on a new build to pull the subfloor down so they could get their 1/8" over 10'. Feb 5 at 1:51

1 Answer 1


Pretty much depends on how much you like extensively tearing an old house apart to try to make it like new .vs. your tolerance for "character" like a hump in the floor.

I've lived in plenty of old houses with non-flat floors and it hasn't bothered me yet. I've refinished some of them, and the sander rolled right over it without issue. I can't see how you'd trip on such a wide/shallow hump.

If everything must be dead level to let you sleep at night, that's a much harder task.

And given you are trying to judge "buyers in 5 years" unknowable, or your'll filter out the ones that don't belong in old houses. Then again, you might just get the ones that will put "modern" wall-to-wall carpet over that "old-fashioned hardwood", too...)

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