Occasionally, you may come across a room that is significantly lower than those surrounding it. In those cases, there are several reasons why you might want to raise the floor height of that room. Yet, while raising the floor height of that room may be a priority for you, the cost is always a significant consideration for any such project.
There are many ways to raise floor height, all of which will come at a different price point. Of those methods, using dry pack mortar is one of the cheapest options. However, there are some instances in which you might need to opt for a different approach.
If you are interested in raising a floor in your home without breaking the bank, then read on. We’ll show you the cheapest way to raise a floor. Then we’ll explore a few other options that will also get the job done.
Dry Pack Mortar: A Low-Cost Method for Raising Floor Height
As you will later see, there are a few different ways that you can raise the height of a floor. Each method is suitable in different situations, and the one you choose to use will depend on numerous factors. However, if finding a low-cost option is your top priority, you should use dry pack mortar to raise your floor.
What Is Dry Pack Mortar?
For those hoping to save money, dry pack mortar is the right material for you. Dry pack mortar is a form of sand-based cement that goes by many names, including:
- Deck mud
- Floor mud
- Dry pack
Regardless of the name you use to refer to this material, it generally consists of the same basic ingredients, sometimes in varying ratios. A mixture of sand, cement, and water is what allows dry pack mortar to be so useful in many construction settings. To your benefit, dry pack mortar is also incredibly inexpensive.
When it comes to raising a floor, dry pack mortar can be extremely useful. Due to the physical qualities of this material, you can easily fill small to medium-sized rooms and create a level walking surface. Now, let’s look at some of the tools you will need to make that happen.
Tools and Materials You’ll Need
As is the case with any home improvement project, raising the height of a floor using dry pack mortar requires a specific set of tools and materials. The basic items that you will need before you can take on this project are in the list below:
- Dry pack mortar
- Thin metal channel(s)
- Concrete float
Finding those items should be relatively easy and low-cost. After you have gathered them, you are ready to begin the specific steps necessary to raise a floor using deck mud.
How to Use Dry Pack Mortar to Raise Floor Height
Using a dry pack mortar material to raise your floors is a great option from a cost standpoint. But as an additional benefit, it is also an easy process to perform. Yet, while the steps below are relatively simple, you should be prepared to spend several hours on this project to ensure the quality of your work. After all, you’ll want your floor to remain level for years to come. Here is how to do just that:
- Remove tile or other surface treatment from the floor
- Lay chicken wire on the sub-floor
- Use buckets to fill the floor area with dry pack mortar
- Level the dry pack mortar with the concrete float periodically as you pour
- Lay one or more metal channels to act as a level guide
- Continue pouring and leveling until the floor area is just below your desired height
- Remove Excess dry pack mortar
- Replace tile or other floor treatment
In general, the method we just described is best for rooms that are on the smaller side and just a few inches or less below your desired height. However, this does not mean that using dry pack mortar is the best option as you attempt to raise floor height.
Some Other Ways to Raise Floor Height
Sometimes, going with the cheapest option is not always best. If you find that is the case for you, you need to find an alternative way to raise the height of your floor. The next sections will give you two reliable ways to do just that.
Use Concrete Screed
If the low floor you are dealing with is made of concrete, then using a concrete screed material is an option for you. Concrete screed is similar to regular concrete, but it typically is much finer. This quality makes screed great for creating level floor areas. This method is especially useful if you are aiming to raise the height of a garage space to the height of the rest of your home.
Use Timber Frames
This method is also very time and skill-intensive. However, it will lead to some lasting results that you can rely on for the foreseeable future.
Installing timber frames on your floor calls for some degree of carpentry skill. At the very least, it is more difficult to do than using dry pack mortar.
To use timber frames to raise floor height, you will need to take careful measurements. Then cut your lumber to form floor joists that will effectively raise the floor height. Since this process can be exceptionally challenging for someone who is not experienced, it is advisable to hire a professional to complete the job the right way.
Why Are Some Floor Heights Too Low?
By this point, you know some of the best ways to raise the height of a floor. But have you ever stopped to wonder why a floor may be too low in the first place? There are many reasons why that outcome could unfold, but some are more likely to be the cause than others. Here are three of the tops reasons why floor height might be too low in one of the rooms in your home:
- Former design features: At one point in time, conversation pits were a trendy living room feature. These pits have since become less popular, leading some homeowners to attempt to raise the floor height where a conversation pit once existed.
- House renovations: Occasionally, a room will become lower in relation to those around it as the result of a home renovation. If this occurs, it is generally a sign of poor planning as contractors likely raised the level of surrounding rooms without considering the height of the room that now appears sunken.
- Structural damage: A sunken floor is sometimes the result of structural damage. If you notice that a once-level floor begins to sag, this is most likely the case. If you suspect a structural issue, you should seek the help of an expert. Using our methods to raise floor height will not be applicable if the underlying floor structure is in a weakened state.
There are countless other reasons why a floor can appear lower than those nearby. However, those are the main ones. As long as it is safe to do so, the methods of raising floor height that we have supplied should work well in most situations.
Raising a floor is a great way to ease the transition between living spaces in your home. But before you embark on such a project, you should know the most cost-effective way to complete the process. Dry pack mortar is a fantastic option for those who don’t want to spend too much. But if that solution is not applicable, don’t be afraid to use one of the other fixes we described above.