32 votes

How can I make a long wall perfectly level?

Use a 70 foot water level. Here is a diagram of one. Use 1/4 inch tubing or slightly larger. Fill tubing with water before submerging one end. The container of water is required because a huge ...
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  • 2,202
17 votes

Plastic shed base - How to level soil?

Set stakes around the proposed site for the shed, attach string lines/wires, and make sure they are level. Then measure the distance between the string line and the ground periodically, and make sure ...
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  • 3,261
16 votes

Filling in a sunken living room to level of other floors

One way to raise the floor, and possibly the most reasonable cost wise, is to install what I would call sleeper joists sitting the top of the existing subfloor and than add new subfloor covering over ...
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13 votes
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How to lift/raise/repair a segment of concrete slab?

This slab is small enough that you should be able to easily lift it out and repair the base soil. Unless the concrete was weak initially or in otherwise poor condition it won't break. From the lawn ...
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  • 106k
13 votes

How can I make a long wall perfectly level?

Stakes. Place stakes in the bottom of the trench. Put them up against the edge to leave room next to them for bricks. They will stick up out of the trench. Run a string along the stakes ...
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  • 5,498
10 votes

How can I make a long wall perfectly level?

A video mentioned in another answer shows three methods: a string line-level, a laser level, and a water level. These will all work, but I think you'll get your best results with a water level. ...
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7 votes

How to laser-level close to a surface

That's actually the way one normally does such things, and has been since before there were lasers, other than one normally uses a rod rather than a tape for more consistent results. You establish a ...
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  • 137k
7 votes

How to laser-level close to a surface

A good ol' scrap block of two-by does nicely. Just set your laser 1-1/2" above your slab height and kick the block around as you work. This doesn't work for ceilings, of course, but hopefully you ...
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  • 106k
7 votes

How can I make a long wall perfectly level?

This Old House has a great video showing you how to set level lines for landscaping projects. I think this is exactly what you're looking for. Video is about six minutes: https://www.youtube.com/...
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  • 3,088
6 votes
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installing a laminate countertop on uneven cabinets

Rather than using "L" brackets why not set the counter top in place and get a few bundles of shims and shim up the difference? The brackets will be difficult to install exactly at the height you need ...
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6 votes

Is there an alternative to buying a tamper to compact the ground?

You can rent a power compactor which would do a much better job than a hand operated tamper.
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  • 101
6 votes

How can I make a long wall perfectly level?

Your question about getting a wall exactly level is presumably intended to prevent overtopping at any one location. In fact, overtopping at one location is preferable so that you can respond to the ...
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  • 61
5 votes

How to check if joists are on plane?

Your plan for using builder's string is good, but don't set the string tight. That opens you up to cumulative contact error. You'll end up with a soup bowl for a ceiling. Instead, put a spacer of a ...
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  • 106k
5 votes
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Patching holes in basement concrete floor under old framing

Instead of lowering the higher poured concrete, you could fill in the low rectangle where the wood used to be with some concrete patch. The bigger problem you’ve got is that in 1923, slabs weren’t ...
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  • 1,661
4 votes
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How do I fix/fill this void left by previously tiling around a bathroom vanity

It turns out there is no additional tile of the same size/style/color available, so this idea has been scrapped. For those who may stumble upon it in the future however, I offer the following... If ...
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4 votes

New Sprinkler Installation - Rototill/Level Before or After? Any other "Pre-Sprinkler" Preparation?

Definitely rotortill before you put in the pipes. Otherwise you run the risk of damaging pipes and sprinklers.
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  • 19k
4 votes

New Sprinkler Installation - Rototill/Level Before or After? Any other "Pre-Sprinkler" Preparation?

When I install a sprinkler system, I Rototill first, then trench and install the piping, etc. then backfill trenches, compact the trenches, then flatten/roll the yard in prep for hydro-seeding or sod. ...
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4 votes
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Is there an alternative to buying a tamper to compact the ground?

The first question is why you think "you need to compact the ground first" - even without frost as a consideration (not knowing where you live or if it freezes there) the first step in ...
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  • 137k
4 votes

Why is my cottage wall bulging outwards?

Disclaimer: Consulting with an engineer is highly advisable. The roof is slowly pushing the wall outwards. If you have not purchased this cottage yet then either walk away or low-ball them. I foresee ...
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4 votes
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Replacing walkout basement concrete wall with wood framing

Most Building Officials consider sliding doors as doors that take “special knowledge” on how to operate. (Latches and locks and pulling a door in an emergency appears to be too confusing. See ICC R310....
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  • 3,595
3 votes

How to lift/raise/repair a segment of concrete slab?

You might want to look around your local area for contractors that offer 'mudjacking'. Essentially they pump a grout-like mixture using a powerful hydraulic pump under the slab and bring it level. I ...
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  • 1,781
3 votes
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DIY poly-jacking?

I suspect Tyson is right about the old holes being from termite treatment (although they should be 1' apart for that, so it would have been a crappy, ineffective treatment job). If they were from ...
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3 votes

Help me figure out my wood shed foundation!

Digging a little deeper and setting the piers on gravel seems to help them heave less, but if you go below the frost line they should be pretty solid. Digging to that depth by hand is slow work, the ...
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3 votes
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Best method to level 1x3 strapping to ceiling joists on a slope?

This is less hard than you think. Last one I did was ~10x20, and it took about 4 hours. A laser is extremely helpful for this task, though I suppose you could do it with string and a bubble stick. (It ...
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3 votes
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Laying Stone on a unlevel concrete surface

I like it and it should get rid of that trip hazard door threshold. I'd stay away from the self-leveling anything and you don't want nor should now have level anyway. As you said, you just want to ...
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  • 9,789
3 votes
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Advice on supporting a sagging bay window

I cringe when I see this type of construction. How good are you at mixing concrete? I'd be digging out that area under the bay window, compacting it, adding a few reinforcing rods into the existing ...
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  • 55.3k
3 votes
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Is there a simple way to make these rough sawn, exposed joists level and flat?

The Code requires the floor joists to support 40 psf Live Load (people, furniture, etc.) plus Dead Load (permanent flooring, insulation, etc.). It appears your joists are about 24” on center (based ...
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  • 22.6k
3 votes

Is there a simple way to make these rough sawn, exposed joists level and flat?

I've seen leveling of floor joists like this done by sistering new members against the side of all the existing joists. They are installed such that the top edge of the new members are offset from the ...
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  • 61.6k
3 votes

How to check if joists are on plane?

You're assuming that your floor is level; this will lead to issues. What you can do is mark several level spots on the wall which runs parallel with your joists. Since you have a 4' level I recommend ...
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3 votes

How to check if joists are on plane?

The approach by @isherwood is correct. However, a very simple tool I've used that may make it simpler to fine-tune the plane is an 8 foot aluminum straight edge. They're inexpensive, about $25. The ...
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