Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor

 
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:05 PM   #1
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Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


We’re looking at a possible project that would require lowering a living room floor. It’s currently raised two 5-1/2” risers (11 inches) from the floor elevations of the rest of the house. The living room has a cathedral ceiling.

We’ve never done this before and my initial thought is that it looks too easy. Here’s what I’m seeing and I just don’t want to miss something, so if you guys see something I missed in the plan (just concept at this time) speak up.

• The basement below is unfinished and the existing framing is exposed.
• It looks like they simply framed the first floor walls (balloon frame) then attached (for lack of a better word) rim joists to the framed walls – 11 inches higher then installed hangers and joists.
• It looks like I can simply remove the existing floor framing install a new mud sill (inside the existing mud sill) set the new joists and sheath.
• There are a couple of heat ducts that would need to be lowered – it’s unfinished basement and a path for them is clear.
• All the outlets and switches would need to be lowered.
• Then drywall the 11 inch void.
• We’re done.

This would be part of a much larger project (all floorings are being replaced on the rest of this floor), so flooring is not an issue.

Why does this seem so simple.
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:21 PM   #2
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Re: Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


Yeah sounds easy.

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Old 09-27-2016, 08:28 PM   #3
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Re: Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


I think you are ok there. Why was it raised in the first place do you think?
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:31 PM   #4
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Re: Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


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I think you are ok there. Why was it raised in the first place do you think?
That's normal in big houses. Helps determine who's really drunk at parties.

The sunken dining room is more prevalent, but the raised living room or piano room is par for the course.
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:44 PM   #5
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Re: Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


That is exactly how the one that I did was constructed, built in the mid 80s.

Everyone used to trip on the steps which were 14' wide
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Old 09-27-2016, 09:06 PM   #6
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Re: Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


Warren, It’s a medium sized track home in a development (3500 SF without basement). I’m guessing every fifth house has this “1985 design enhancement”. If we can do it at a reasonable price, we may get to do several in the neighborhood. Most folks with this model probably want it gone once they figured out that it’s really a PITA for furniture placement and flow of living space.

We were originally contacted to remodel the kitchen, family room and replace all the floorings. I gave them a ballpark and they agreed to a design agreement. Then they asked if I could give them the option to lower the living room floor in my design/budget.

My initial thought was “that’s going to pretty expensive”. We went to gather the as-built info and I spent some time looking at it and all of a sudden I’m thinking “maybe not so bad”.

As I go through it (in my head) I started to think “Am I over simplifying this?” And here we are.
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Old 09-27-2016, 09:44 PM   #7
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Re: Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


If you have the room/clearance, place and tie in the new floor joists before removing the existing floor. This will keep anything from shifting as you remove existing.

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Old 09-27-2016, 09:59 PM   #8
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Re: Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


The only thing that really jumps out is electrical & either having to have junction boxes or new runs depending on how the wiring was done
More fire blocking?
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Old 09-27-2016, 11:48 PM   #9
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Re: Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


No insulation issues? It should be continuous already, but who knows.

Fire blocking shouldn't be an issue - it would have been done to the full wall height originally. Worst case is some goes in at the bottom of the wall.

A lot of first floors are wired from the basement. That could be a lot of rewiring, or just a lot of junction boxes added in the basement....

The framing should be easy, like you say, and I second Tom's put the new joist system in before taking out the old floor system if possible.
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Old 09-27-2016, 11:57 PM   #10
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Re: Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


Just off the top of my head HVAC, plumbing, central vac, electrical are some issues I would be concerned with.

Kind of reverse of the earlier "conversation pits".....
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Old 09-28-2016, 08:12 AM   #11
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Re: Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


Quote:
Originally Posted by tjbnwi View Post
If you have the room/clearance, place and tie in the new floor joists before removing the existing floor. This will keep anything from shifting as you remove existing.

Tom
I think we should be able to install most, if not all, of the new framing before the existing joists are removed. It’s a good point as it will slow us down a bit to do it this way.
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Old 09-28-2016, 08:13 AM   #12
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Re: Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


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The only thing that really jumps out is electrical & either having to have junction boxes or new runs depending on how the wiring was done
More fire blocking?
Most of the outlet wiring is visible from the basement. You can actually see the loops running from outlet to outlet. Since they’ll be getting lower, so the need for junction boxes should be minimized. The switch legs will be a different story, but there’s only two of them and we’ll have some drywall work to do anyway.
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Old 09-28-2016, 08:14 AM   #13
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Re: Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


Quote:
Originally Posted by griz View Post
Just off the top of my head HVAC, plumbing, central vac, electrical are some issues I would be concerned with.

Kind of reverse of the earlier "conversation pits".....
Like I said in the op, there are two HVAC supply runs that would have to be dealt with, but I see a clear path to keeping their original locations. No plumbing or central vac to deal with.
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Old 09-28-2016, 10:57 AM   #14
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Re: Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


Windows might need some tweaking....
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Old 09-28-2016, 12:04 PM   #15
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Re: Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


daing, quit talking about it and git 'er done....
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Old 09-28-2016, 05:50 PM   #16
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Re: Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


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Windows might need some tweaking....
I'd leave them. Would not want to affect the look of the outside of the house.

Egress does not come into play, it's not a sleeping room.

My guess is the sill will now be the same height AFF as the other rooms.

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Old 09-29-2016, 08:21 AM   #17
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Re: Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


The window sills are currently at 21” AFF. With the lowered floor they’ll be 32”.
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Old 11-28-2016, 05:40 PM   #18
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Re: Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


I really am interested in finding out how the floor ends up, We have worked on one of these in the past and I remember running into some issues.
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Old 11-28-2016, 07:06 PM   #19
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Re: Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


Care to share what those issues were?

The customer has signed an agreement for a multi-phase project, but we have left the lowered floor off the scope. It will either be added as C/O to this phase or will be included in phase II of the project.
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Old 11-29-2016, 07:14 AM   #20
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Re: Lowering A Raised Living Room Floor


Wasn't that long ago, I was hired to raise a living room floor to the height of the other floors.

Someone paid to lower it, then the next owner paid me to raise it.

I know what you are thinking, what great insight. This post might be the one that makes me jump into the project. Probably not. I've read this title a few times and each time I think of that living room.

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