I have a victorian mid-terrace which has settled quite a bit over time. This has led to the whole first floor sagging slightly in the middle. As such, the ceilings on the ground floor slope downwards slightly towards the centre of the house. We have a narrow hallway, where the problem is exacerbated visually because it looks like the original plaster trim has had to be broken off on one side because of this sag. I would like to disguise the problem by putting a false ceiling over the original which doesn't slope. How would I do this? What is the minimum distance I can put the new ceiling from the original. I would also to put recessed spotlights in the new ceiling.
Are you sure it is just the floor that has sagged?
From the way you describe it I am wondering which way the first floor joists run. If so are they sloping until they hit the centre wall?
If I am right it may be the centre wall which has dropped over time.
I might have misunderstood so please advise. You can put a false ceiling as close to the original as you want. You will need to fasten bearers against the ceiling at right angles to and screwed to the origianal joists. Then fix a wall plate of 3X2 around the room. Next fix new joists between at 400 centres. Fix the new joists to the beareres as necessary to support the new ceiling and to level it across the length as longer timbers are seldom totally straight. In any event as they dry they tend to twist.
The first floor joists seem to run from the front to the back of the house. There are two supporting walls/joists on the ground floor. One runs the width of the house and is situated midway from the front to the back of the house. In the living room, this has been knocked through. The other supporting wall runs at 90 degrees to this, from the front of the house until it hits the aforementioned supporting wall. This second wall separates the narrow hallway from the living room. There has been movement on the house, which I'm fairly sure has stopped. The bay window at the front of the house is also a bit lopsided. How expensive is it to properly straighten up the house, without resorting to cosmetic quick fixes?
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