Vertical deflection

Discussion in 'Framing and Foundation' started by Holly000, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Feb 21, 2012 #1

    Holly000

    Holly000

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    My new home was constructed in 2011. I moved in Oct. 2011. The first day, I noticed problems with my laminate floor. After a year long battle with the builder and flooring contractor, the floor was completely replaced (throughout the entire house). The new installation was finished in the beginning of January 2012. We immediately began to notice the same problems (boards peaking end to end and side to side all over, lifted boards, curling corners, gaps).

    After re-reading the inspection report that caused the floor to be replaced, I read; "there is vertical deflection of 1/8" in 3'). I contacted my builder and was told the acceptable tolerance is 1/4" in 20'. I don't understand what this means. Our floors have a lot of movement. If I'm in one end of the house, and you place a glass of water on a table in the opposite end, the water moves quite a bit.

    There were installation problems with the first laminate floor (no expansion gap, joint staggers far too short).

    We have a quiet floor, and I now believe there are not enough concrete pads or support beams to support the floor. The bounciness is especially bad in the area where there is no concrete support under the house.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?

    Holly :)
     
  2. Feb 21, 2012 #2

    oldognewtrick

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    I would suggest calling a structural engineer and asking for an inspection of the support and framing. It would be worth the expense of paying for an unbiased opinion of the integrity of your floor system.

    oh, and welcome to House Repair Talk!
     
  3. Feb 21, 2012 #3

    Arbutus

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    It sounds like your floor is wavy, with close peaks and valleys. The 1/8" deflection over 4 ft means that over a 3 ft section the floor dips down 1/8" then back up. This is more then laminate floors are made to handle. Your general contractor said that 1/4" deflection over 20 ft was acceptable, and I'd agree, but if you break that down, that allows 1/8" deflection over 10 ft and, 1/16" over 5 ft. and even less then that over 3 ft.

    If this is the source of your problem and you get the floors replaced again the subfloor needs to be leveled before the new laminate floor is laid.

    Is your laminate over concrete?
     
  4. Feb 21, 2012 #4

    Holly000

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    My home is on a crawl space, not a slab, so no concrete.

    And thank you both for you replies. It has helped me decide what my next step will be. Phone call to a structural engineer. My next door neighbor has the same model home as I have, and they are having the same typed of problems. Our floors were also replaced in the bathrooms and laundry rooms because there were staples popping all over. At the time, we were told the wrong staples and subfloor were used. But we had staples popping again the day after the new installation.

    Thanks again for your replies!

    Holly :)
     
  5. Feb 21, 2012 #5

    nealtw

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    Like Oldog said: hire an engineer and pay for a report. Have him check the whole structure. Do you have a new home warrentee?
     
  6. Feb 22, 2012 #6

    BridgeMan

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    Holly,

    Here's my report (I'm still a licensed P.E. in 4 states). Keep in mind that I'm working "blind", so please bear with me:

    Based on the foregoing discussions, you have either "wavy" floors or "wiggly" floors, or a combination of both. The former, to the degree mentioned, is highly unusual in a new home. It would mean that both uneven floor joists and deficient-thickness subflooring were used. Not necessarily impossible, just not seen very often. The excess floor movement you described is also quite unusual. I just did a test in my own beat-up, 70-year old farm house--my wife confirmed that a glass of water on the kitchen table has no appreciable movement whatsoever when I did jumping jacks on the floor in the next room. And I'm no dainty ballerina, weighing in at 255 lbs. That being said, it sounds like your house's floor support system could be framed with joists that are over-spanned/over-spaced (too long and too far apart for standard applied live and dead loads), or the main interior support member they rest on is under-designed for the distances it spans (too flimsy).

    In either case, it sounds to me like your builder and his warranty need to be brought into the picture. And it would help to have a local building inspector present when the builder shows up, as well. Before you call for an on-site meeting, it would be worth your while to go down into the crawl space with a tape measure, and verify that what's there is what the home's construction plans say should be there. Things to check include size and length of main support beam; size, spacing and construction type of main beam intermediate support members; size, span and spacing of floor joists; and thickness and type of subfloor (can do by pulling a furnace register, or looking at the crawl space entry point). And pay particular attention to any notching or cutting of floor joists (or even the main beam) for utility access, and take pictures of same.

    It sounds like your builder was somewhat lax in the quality control aspect of your home's construction. If he gets snotty and says he's completed his obligations under your contract, then you simply need to remind him that he will continue to pay for finished flooring replacements until the work is done to both your and the flooring supplier's satisfaction. Something like a new floor every month sounds about right. No threat, just fact.

    And it might not hurt to carefully document everything that's happened and what's been done to date, including dates of remedial work and all phone calls. And for sure, have a tape recorder running for any future meetings with the builder, just in case you need more ammunition for a legal claim.
     
  7. Feb 22, 2012 #7

    Holly000

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    Bridgeman, thank you so much for your comments! While the one year home warranty has expired, the problems began before it had, and we have a paper trail that's miles long documenting what work has been done, when we reported problems, as well as the long struggle to have the floor replaced.

    Your comments have helped me formulate a game plan for my next steps.

    Again, thank you very, very much.

    Holly
     
  8. Feb 22, 2012 #8

    aureliconstruction

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    It could be as simple as adding a header underneath the floor joist, hoping that it is the basement.
     
  9. Feb 23, 2012 #9

    Holly000

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    For now, I'm in a holding pattern. I guess I'll let my builder and flooring company do their inspections. If I don't hear what I expect, my husband and I have a structural engineer ready to look at the floor and in our crawl space.

    Our neighbor who's having the exact problem will keep us abreast of what's happening with their inspection, as we will on theirs. I am so ready for this to be over. 15+ months of aggravating back and forth with my builder. Our last step will be to hire a lawyer with our neighbor. One way or another, the problem will be diagnosed and repaired.

    Thank you all for your comments and suggestions.

    Holly :)
     
  10. Feb 24, 2012 #10

    nealtw

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    In your first post, you said you had a quiet floor. Did you mean to say you had a Silent Floor System or something like that.
     
  11. Feb 24, 2012 #11

    1jackguy

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    subport under the houes basement or cawl space sound wrong, spacing for bracing 12 foot spand is code missouri. the bouncing you typed about let's know the space is wrong.
     
  12. Feb 24, 2012 #12

    Holly000

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    :)

    Yep, it's a silent floor. I'm still struggling to understand everything that's going on with my floor. Kind of like taking a crash course in construction. :)

    Holly
     
  13. Feb 24, 2012 #13

    nealtw

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    The floor should have been designed by the company that supplied it or their supplier. It comes with a full set of engineers instuctions on how to install it. As engineers are liable for a very long time, a copy of those instructions should be available somewhere. When you have those instruction you will be able to see from under whether they were followed. If it was under engineered you could go after the supplier and if it was not done correctly, you would go after the builder and the city inspectors.
    The city gets an engineer stamped copy of the plan so that they can inspect it. To make sure the instruction were followed.
     
  14. Feb 25, 2012 #14

    Holly000

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    How do I get a copy of the engineer stamped copy of the plan? Contact the city?

    thank you!
    Holly
     
  15. Feb 25, 2012 #15

    nealtw

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    The city should have a copy, The builder could get a copy from his supplier.
     
  16. Feb 25, 2012 #16

    nealtw

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    If you can't get a copy hire an engineer to get it for you.
    The top and bottom cord of silent floor can be 2x3 or 2x4 depending on load and span and some time it will be 2x4 in the kitchen and 2x3 in the room above, they allso call for special blocking between in certain areas and the call for min. plywood subfloor.
     
  17. Mar 9, 2012 #17

    Holly000

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    Hi again!
    I had a structural engineer come to my home to do an inspection. This was his findings:

    "Based on my visual inspection of the floor framing it appears that the actual framing was done per the plans with regards to spacing, spans, etc. The only notable difference is the floor joist used. The plans call out for a 9 ½” BCI 5000-1.7 DF Joist, but I observed the joists to be Cascade Capital CCI-40 and also noted a Pacific Woodtech 1048 on the joists. The span tables for these appear to meet with the requirements of the actual spans for L/480."

    I don't know what any of this means. The flooring sub contractor is prepared to rip the laminate out again and replace it.
    This time they want to try a different product. I'm waiting for them to coordinate the tear out and install. Grrrr. So frustrating.

    The engineer did say that it's possible that the laminate isn't designed to be installed over such a large area (my entire house is laminate flooring, 1593 sq. ft.) with the exception of two bathrooms and laundry which have vinyl.

    I just want this to be over and fixed.

    Holly :(
     
  18. Mar 9, 2012 #18

    nealtw

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    So you didn't say whether he looked at the plywood for the floor, I suspect he did. If the only difference between upstairs floor and down stairs floor is the drywall ceiling. This floor is flexing more than it should. I think I would be asking the builder to strap the bottom of the joists with 1x4s every two feet but that's just a guess.
     
  19. Mar 9, 2012 #19

    nealtw

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  20. Mar 10, 2012 #20

    isola96

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    http://www.trioforest.com/pdf/Load-Span_Tables.pdf

    Load span table might help you guys out :)

    Rooms can only be so large of a sqr before you will need more support from below up, plywood will be only as strong as your joists are.
    I could be wrong but sounds like the made the room(s) as large as they could before having to support it from under example a load barring wall or a column.
     

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