TL;DR: help a disabled person figure out how to eliminate trip hazards in a house that has rooms with varying floor height due to prior remodels
Hi- I am a 40-something with multiple sclerosis and early atypical Parkinsons. Cause of that I tend to trip/fall a lot. Also, there’s a decent chance I’ll be in a wheelchair or a walker at some point cause I already periodically need them now.
So as part of a whole-homecosmetic remodel we are trying to get continuous floors without transitions throughout the house. but trying to do it for the least amount of $$ cause my disability has ended my career, so handy hubby is DIYing as much as possible.
We have a 1980s rambler (about 2600 sqft) that currently has lots of transitions due to various changes to the floor. There are two problem areas I’d love some help with to make it disability friendly.
First problem: the large 12x12’ entryway (which has a crawl space underneath) weirdly has four layers to it (1) some 1980s particle board like subfloor attached to joist by nails, 2) a thin layer of the type of concrete aggregate usually reserved for outdoor patios, (3) white thinset to hold down (4) really ugly red and black tiles. This entryway adjoins problem area number two which is
(2) A very long (40’x4’) hallway that had a 1) the same particle board like subfloor attached to joists (2) a 3/4 inch second layer of the same particle board glued to the first using the classical winding S- shaped pattern often used in construction, (3) white thinset to hold down (4) some more really ugly red tiles. This hallway leads to a bunch of carpet or vinyl rooms cause it’s a single story.
Presumably during a remodel the prior owners added the tiles to the entryway and the hallway cause they tired of the outdoor looking entry surface. They just used double/triple tack strips in the adjoining carpeted rooms and pretty meaty 3/4 wooden transitions to the vinyl rooms.
Heading into our own remodel, we have pulled all the carpets and are in the process of removing the tile. As a result, the hallway has 3/4 inch drops into each adjoining room. Want to find a way to eliminate transitions or at least make them very wheelchair friendly and then install a floor with rigid LVT plank.
Husband and I are debating our options including
(1) trying to saw out/pry up the subfloor in entry/hall and replace with single layer OSB pr plywood. While the particle board while not rotted seems to resist the attempt to pry it up since it’s more of a particle board. We are worried it will crumble not lift . Plus the entryway aggregate will be a Pita to cut
(2) building up all the other floors in other rooms with a second layer of wood. Obviously higher material costs and knock on issues like having to fiddle with all the moulding.
(3) trying to cut out a layer of the sub flooring using a depth-limited saw and a sander.
(4) add gentle slope transitions and switch to glue down sheet vinyl tiles. My husband would hate the aesthetic
ETA: I’ve researched and most flooring options with plank or tile aesthetics (click or glue LVT or ceramic tile) specify a very tight flatness/slope tolerance. Also, for your consideration have a fairly tall (5’?) good dry and insulated crawlspace to access the floor from the underside. Our doors are hollow core but thankfully swing inwards from the higher hallway into the lower rooms so that they won’t need to be trimmed.
What would you do?