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dopey696

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I'm trying to decide whether to redo a gypcrete floor underlayment completely or just repair what I can and go with it. We have a third floor condo that flooded, the living room floor now sags about two inches to the center. It was inspected and is structurally ok. The gypcrete that is currently laid down is intact but softer than it should be. To contract a company to come repour the entire floor, they want $5350. Or I could cut out the areas that are sagging the most and fill in the worst areas myself and have a mostly level floor. Aside from the fact that it's soft, I was thinking of leveling it myself but since it's so soft I'm waffling between saving money and having it completely redone.
 

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JPfloor

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What kind of floor covering do you have in mind?

If it’s carpet and money is an issue I’d just level it myself and hope for the best. You could always throw a match book under a leg of the coffee table 🥸. If using self-leveling compound make sure it’s gypsum based. The Portland based stuff and gypcrete don’t like each other. Some kind of chemical disagreement.

If you’re planning on any kind of floating floor or engineered wood the specs have to be a lot tighter on getting it flat. Might wanna call in a pro.

If you decide to remove what’s there and have it completely redone I’d suggest staying away from the gypcrete and using a Portland based leveler. Harder and more solid….Also heavier and more costly.
 

dopey696

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What kind of floor covering do you have in mind?

If it’s carpet and money is an issue I’d just level it myself and hope for the best. You could always throw a match book under a leg of the coffee table 🥸. If using self-leveling compound make sure it’s gypsum based. The Portland based stuff and gypcrete don’t like each other. Some kind of chemical disagreement.

If you’re planning on any kind of floating floor or engineered wood the specs have to be a lot tighter on getting it flat. Might wanna call in a pro.

If you decide to remove what’s there and have it completely redone I’d suggest staying away from the gypcrete and using a Portland based leveler. Harder and more solid….Also heavier and more costly.
Yeah I read about the chemical reaction, I guess it causes some kinda crystalization process that breaks down the gypcrete. The people that sell some of these products are trying to convince me I'm wrong so they can sell me stuff that will cause problems in the long run but I've made sure to be real careful on the parts that are beyond my skill set.

We're going to be renting out the unit so want it to be as nice as possible but we're already into it so much because we had to pay for the first and second floor repairs as well. It was a willed property that cost us over 80 grand so far and that's only because I did a fair amount of the work myself. I feel like the movie money pit...lol

We're planning on doing engineered wood flooring with tile in the kitchen and bathroom. I already leveled and tiled the kitchen before realizing it was such a big issue through the entire unit. Due to HOA building constraints and coding we have to replace the underlayment with "like material" so we have to stick with gypcrete. If I have it fully redone I don't want to level over what's already there because it would put the height of the floor above the threshold for the front door.
 

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JPfloor

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You mentioned a flood. No insurance?

How many sq ft? If it’s just the room in the picture $5300 sounds steep. And I would say Portland base self leveler could be considered “like material”. You wouldn’t have to go as thick as with the gypcrete.

And if that sag truly is 2 inches I’d guess you’d wanna double check that structural integrity report. As mentioned that’s a lot of sag.
 
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dopey696

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You mentioned a flood. No insurance?

How many sq ft? If it’s just the room in the picture $5300 sounds steep. And I would say Portland base self leveler could be considered “like material”. You wouldn’t have to go as thick as with the gypcrete.

And if that sag truly is 2 inches I’d guess you’d wanna double check that structural integrity report. As mentioned that’s a lot of

Ahhh man, now I'm getting nervous to move forward. We acquired the unit through a will when my girlfriends grandfather died. He abandoned the unit after breaking his hip. The unit was abandoned for over ten years and then the toilet sprung a leak and flooded this unit as well as the second and first floor units. We got sued day one by the first floor unit, we payed them off and then I did the work to fix the second floor unit. I've now been working on this unit to make it livable. I haven't actually seen any reports. It had a stop work order on the door when we acquired the unit. I got that cleared with the county inspector and was told no other inspections were needed except for replacing the windows. I double checked with the county clerk who saw no notices on the property record preventing us from moving forward with work and they emailed me paperwork for the permit to replace the windows.

The area to be leveled is 525 sqft with an average pour depth of 1.5 inches, and a minimum depth of 3/4 inches. This does not include the kitchen, bathroom and two closets. There was no insurance. It's been a nightmare. We've had to pay everything out of pocket.
 

JPfloor

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Well don’t let me get you nervous. If the county inspector gave you a pass I’m sure it’s safe.

525 ft is more than the room in the picture so I guess the price is fair for a 1.5” average on the pour. I don’t know that much about gypcrete. I know it has to be deeper than other Portland based levelers to maintain it’s integrity. With a minimum of 3/4” and a 2” sag the deepest part will be 2 3/4”….That’s a lot of gypcrete. If you want it done right best leave it to the pros with the proper equipment. I imagine they have a pump truck.

Also worth noting: engineered wood over gypcrete will void most warranties. Glue doesn’t stick to that stuff. There are some sealers they say can work… Maybe…Maybe look into a floating floor or again, a Portland leveler.

P.S. I didn’t even know they still used gypcrete. It’s every floor guy’s nightmare.
 
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C.J.

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Don’t care who you are but 2” of sag is a structural problem. Now you go and add how much weight worth of self leveler on top of that? How much bounce is in the floor? Or is it fairly stout?

You’re going to prime the floor before you pour anything. I recommend priming it twice since gypcrete will suck the moisture out of the new pour and shorten your working time. Ardex GS4 is the bees knees. Schonox AP and APF are also both excellent products to use for your situation.

Seriously though, you gotta figure out why you have 2” of sag before you go dumping a bunch of money on the floor.
 

JPfloor

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Looks like some new plywood in the center of the room. Somebody fixed something. County inspector said go ahead. I gues it couldn’t hurt to double check and maybe get a copy of the report…. Just in case your sofa ends up in the second floor unit…😎 I’ve read stories of buildings collapsing, Maybe they all started out with a saggy floor.🤔

All kidding aside I would grab a laser or just a long straight stick or a string and check if it really is that much of a sag. Maybe that 2 inches is the difference between where you removed the gypcrete and where you didn’t?

Yes the floor always needs to be primed but I hope you’re not pouring over the old gypcrete.

One of the only redeeming features of gypcrete is it’s light weight. That and it’s helpful in soundproofing.

And yea, common sense dictates if there’s excessive bounce in the floor you shouldn’t be doing any leveling with any pourable products. You had a professional company look at the space and give an estimate. One would hope they know what they’re doing. They don’t like getting sued any more than anyone.
 
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highup

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Do you have enough height to frame it level using conventional lumber?
I was thinking the same thing but being a condo, the Gyprete serves as fire protection, not just sound deadening.
 

highup

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As far as structural integrity goes, you have to remove the gypcrete anyway, right? If you remove it you can better see how bad the sagging actually is.
It would be interesting to see the tenants unit directly below this unit. Would they also have a 2-in issue in their ceiling?
 

JPfloor

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Original poster had mentioned height as being an issue. Also the issue of using a “like product” for the HOA.

Also one original thought was just to fill in and level what’s been removed. Looks like the center of the room was cut out to repair the plywood? It was mentioned that’s where it was sagging. Maybe it was just some rotting plywood? If the remaining gypcrete is flat enough and level enough maybe filling it in is the most economically feasible solution. It was mentioned it was too soft. I guess the question is how soft is too soft? Doesn’t look like it’s crumbling.

I’d guess the ceiling underneath was fixed after the flood, a 2” bulge would be pretty noticeable. That’s when and where the inspection should have been done but a quick peek couldn’t hurt.
 
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Incognito

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I'd say remove all the existing, hire the best local contractor and go back with the cheap, scabby Gypcrete because this sort of product was invented so builders could cheap out on STRUCTURE. Being very light you need less lumber to support multi-story buildings. There's no other good reason for that stuff to exist. So that means you dont now want to alter the design with anything heavier like lightweight concrete. If you were interested in upgrading the structure and getting a structural engineer to confirm your investment meets building codes that's a different story.

As you're stuck with this scabby Gypcrete choice you'd be best off going with something lightweight like laminate or LVT. Now I dislike those products but your circumstance limits alternatives. Your goal now is to get that unit back together on the cheap and get those tenants back in there. Engineered wood over concrete is a luxury option that doesn't make any sense at this point.
 
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County inspectors are not structural engineers. They are typically licensed general contractors and many of them couldn't cut it in the real world so they became an inspector.

That needs to be inspected by a competent structural engineer and addressed based on the findings.

When you're talking about leveling even a circular area or dip 2" you are adding a ton of weight to that already sagging structure. You could literally cause a collapse and kill the person below. While I'm all for saving money, a structural issue is not something you DIY. Get it inspected or you could be in for a lot more than another lawsuit from the tenant below.

Remember, the guy that said it's ok meant "as is". They have no idea that you are considering adding that kind of weight.

Wish you the best with it but please be safe and protect yourself moving forward.
 

dopey696

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I actually have pictures of the damage when I first walked into the second floor unit. I will attach them below. There was not a stop work notice order on the door and no inspection of that unit was required from what the owner told me. There floor was not sagging, and as far as I can tell the ceiling was not sagging either and a sag in the ceiling was not mentioned to me when I had a company do the drywall and insulation in that unit the floor was also redone over existing gypcrete.

The gypcrete serves as a one hour fire barrier as well as sound proofing. I am going to tear out all of the existing gypcrete and have it repoured. The concern now is with the sagging floor and what to do about it before having the new gypcrete pour.

The floor is pretty rigid, I had to cut out that section in the picture to replace the plywood subfloor because it was soft. There is one other area where the subfloor needs to be replaced in the bedroom near the closet. After that there will be no noticable movement in the floor in any area that I see. I did framing for about eight months nearly 25 years ago so Im not sure I would have the knowledge to sister in new joists, most of my experience is in tile and flooring. I suppose I could copy what's already there, tie it together and it'd be fine but I dunno. If that needs to be done I would probably hire it out to be sure it's done right.

I appreciate all the input and I hope I responded adequately to everyone's comments. After reading all the responses I am going to contact a structural engineer to come in and make an assessment of the situation before moving forward.

Once I get to the flooring I'm using a click together floating floor (possibly the LifeProof brand) with a sound barrier mat, nothing will be glued or fixed to the gypcrete. I will seal the subfloor as well as the gypcrete to get better adhesion and for dust prevention and waterproofing.
The pink covering on everything is the sealer that I use, it's a water proofing penetrating sealer and is approved for use with gypcrete.
 

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I have a friend with a similarly constructed home. After living in it for a year, his ceiling in the floor below separated from the wall. Passed inspection when they bought it. After hiring a structural engineer they found out that the joist system was nearly 3' longer than was allowed for the joist spacing. It lent itself to additional movement and caused the issue.

I hate for you to spend the additional money but it would be terrible if you did all the work and then found out you had to rip it out because of an issue. It truly is a safety issue with that much of a sway in the floor.

Keep us posted on how you make out and good luck with it.
 

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