Did you know that approximately one-quarter of all homes will experience some type of structural problems over their lifetime? The key is identifying and addressing these issues quickly. How to fix sloping floors will depend on the cause and its severity.
If you have sloping or sagging floors in your home, you may not have considered the cause. In fact, many people view uneven floors as a sign of character or charm in older homes, and nothing to worry about. But you should not overlook this issue.
Sloping floors could have minor consequences, such as cosmetic damage and shifting doors. And anything you put in that space will lean. And flooring not being flush with the trim can be unsightly.
Uneven floors could also mean that the structure of your home is at risk. Left unchecked, structural issues could be dangerous. They could cause problems throughout your home, including cracked walls, or windows and doors that will not close. And, if you are planning to sell your home, it will be difficult to do so with foundation issues left unaddressed.
Fortunately, there are processes you can follow to begin assessing the causes behind your sloping floors. The information below will help you get to the bottom of this problem. Keep reading to find out how to discern the cause and develop a course of action for addressing it.
There are many different causes for sloping floors. These range from flooring or subflooring issues to more serious foundational ones.
One obvious cause of sloping floors is the floor support itself. Segments of the support structure can settle unevenly. Support piers can sink and settle, while the wooden floor structure can bow, rot, and with enough damage, collapse.
If your crawl space is susceptible to moisture, a solution should be installed beneath the floors to control the mositure. If not, it can fall victim to mold or even rot.
An even more dier issue than flooring or subflooring is rot or damage to joists that support the floor. This can result from moisture or past flooding, or floor joists that were installed incorrectly. It could also be due to poor architectural design in older homes.
If you have a crawl space, you may be able to see the joists sloping using a level. If they appear warped or damaged, it could be a strong sign that they are the culprit for the slanted floor, and should be repaired.
Wooden sills, which sit on the foundation walls and support the floor joists, are also susceptible to moisture and deterioration. These will be more complicated to replace than joists, but it can be done by elevating your entire home to remove and replace the sill.
Unstable joists or sills is a problem that you must address. Although it is less severe than issues with the foundation, it is a structural problem that can become a bigger problem if overlooked.
One of the most common causes of sloping floors is foundation issues. This could be the foundation itself or poorly compressed ground underneath the flooring.
If this is the case, you may be able to see symptoms beyond sloping floors, like gaps between your foundation and baseboards or cracks in drywall. Doors or windows not opening is another sign of more widespread foundational unevenness.
Crawl spaces are particularly vulnerable to sinking since there is extra space that is not braced. If you have windows supported near a failing foundation, they will likely be affected.
Note that sloping due to settling or shifting of the foundation could be minor. Even resulting cracks in the walls, ceiling, or foundation can be easily fixed after foundation stabilization. Even if you see these things, it does not necessarily mean serious foundation issues.
However, if the foundation is compromised, then it is at risk of other threats, like further damage. A damaged settling foundation can affect the whole building being supported above.
Although it does not hurt for you to investigate the potential causes of sloping floors, the best course of action is to hire a professional. Many professionals offer free quotes, so it will cost you nothing to get an assessment of the problem and an estimate of the repair costs.
Replacing flooring and subflooring can be expensive, depending on the extent of the project. It is a less serious issue than the other cause of slope, but you do not want to go forward with flooring repairs when the underlying issue has to be addressed. And, if it does happen to be an issue with the flooring or subflooring, then you can have the peace of mind that you have ruled out other issues.
If it is a flooring issue, go with a contractor that has experience removing and replacing subfloor. There are many risks to improperly repaired subfloors. Only hire an expert when fixing the critical structure of your home.
Replacing joists or wooden sills is a little more complicated. Since these are structural supports, the house must be supported by temporary braces and jacks. This can be more labor-intensive and costly but may be a necessary solution to ensure the structural integrity of your home.
Also, crawl spaces are especially susceptible to moisture and mold, which can decay joists. So, in addition to replacing the structural supports, mold remediation, crawl space encapsulation, or dehumidifying equipment may be necessary to prevent future issues.
This is a more complex project than flooring or subflooring replacement. And it could be one that exists alongside other foundational issues. Depending on the extent of the damage and decay, replacing these structural supports can involve lifting the house.
Foundation and crawl space structural repair is the most in-depth and costly of these solutions. It will generally be more labor-intensive and costly. But there are a range of fixes for faulty foundations, as well as associated costs.
Foundation reinforcement is one avenue towards fixing sloping floors. This can be accomplished without replacing much or any of the original foundational structure of the home but involves installing steel piers or other supports to the structure. It could also entail installing new foundation footers, which support the floor structure.
Foundation repair could very well require jacking up the home to do the work properly. This is a complex endeavor, but one that may not be as disruptive as you might think. You may not even have to leave your home while the work is underway.
It does often involve bracing of the structure while the repairs are being made. It could also require landscaping repairs after the foundation repairs are complete.
Foundation repair is a serious endeavor and requires particular expertise and experience. In general, in order to fix the uneven foundation, you must support the portion that is lower.
Foundation repair can be costly, so it is important to find the right contractor to do the work. For such a significant investment, you will want to ensure that whoever is doing the work will do a good job.
Now that you know some of the causes of and how to fix sloping floors, you can begin putting together a plan on how to address the problem. Although there are a range of causes and associated solutions, remember that it will most likely cost you nothing to get an assessment. It is the first step towards getting your sloped floor fixed.
Bay Crawl Space and Foundation Repair serves homes in the greater Hampton Roads area. We offer competitive pricing and even financing for major projects. We also do our best to minimize disruptions to your daily life.
We provide free foundation repair analysis and suggested solutions. Our Expert Advisors can provide you with a free quote, so you have a helpful resource with Bay Crawlspace.