Uneven floors, sticking doors, and wall cracks occur because of foundation movement and crawl space framing movement. Movement occurs because the amount of weight that the foundation and framing are holding is more than the amount of weight that the structure can hold in that area. This is known as the load-bearing capacity.
All sagging floors and unlevel floors are caused by inadequate load bearing capacity whether it is due to the wood framing of the floor weakening from moisture and wood destroying fungi, from weak footings that support the CMU piers or a settling foundation. Settlement in a home at any age is not good and while it may be somewhat common for older homes, it is not good for the health and value of the home.
Most floors in crawl spaces are being supported first by the homes foundation, the concrete piers, then by the main carry beams, and then by the floor joists. The load bearing capacities of these 4 building components also go in this order generally. The concrete masonry piers can hold more weight than the middle-span of the beam and the middle-span of the main carry beam can hold more weight than the middle-span of the floor joists.
If the home is on soft ground, there are an undermined foundation footing, or the ground shrinks and swells then there can be foundation settlement. If the individual footers for the piers are too weak, the pier will sink. If the weight over the top of the middle span of the main carry beam is too much and the wood has weakened from wood moisture and fungus, you will see your floors settling and sagging.
Crawl space moisture is a common cause of uneven floors. When the wood framing that supports your floors becomes moist, it gets weakened. A common sight during our inspections is ‘compression’ of the floors joists and beams. With crawl space moisture, the wood framing can compress under the heavy weight of the home.
Basically, unlevel floors and doors can be caused by any combination of failing foundation, inadequate structure, an improperly designed home, or a moisture-damaged structure. Fixing these problems requires a professional crawl space repair contractor, specific products and methodologies, and is not recommended for a general contractor or jack of all trades.
Here’s the good news though. It is very possible to get a correction. We can install additional crawl space jacks, supplemental beams, or steel foundation push piers that can make your floors more level, fix doors & windows that are sticking, and permanently stabilize your floors.
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