Uneven Floors in Your Home
One of the most obvious signs of a foundation problem is an uneven floor. If you have hardwood floors, tiles, or laminate, you'll be able to see if your floor is no longer level just by looking at it. In some cases, the floor may only be slightly off, while in others it may be significantly uneven.
If you notice that your floor is no longer level, it's important to have a professional foundation contractor take a look at it as soon as possible. The sooner the problem is addressed, the less likely it is to cause major damage to your home. Left unchecked, an uneven floor can lead to cracks in walls and ceilings, doors and windows that won't close properly, and even structural problems. So if you notice that your floor isn't as level as it used to be, don't ignore it - call a foundation expert right away.
Sloping or Uneven Floors Can Tell You a Lot
If you drop a round object on the floor and it rolls down to the next wall, or, as you walk into an entry or foyer, it feels as though you are walking downhill, you might have a problem – one that could potentially be a serious problem, depending on the cause.
Walking on uneven floors is a reality many home and business owners face. Older structures, especially, tend to have more slopes and sags than newer structures do. Some people actually embrace their structure’s uneven floors as a novelty quirk. For others, however, it can be a frustrating nuisance. The truth is that uneven floors can be a sign of a very serious problem.
There are a variety of causes for uneven floors ranging from inconsequential to severe. We want to provide a brief overview of the three most common causes of uneven floors and how a home or business owner can address the problem.
What Causes Uneven Floors?
One of the most common problems that homeowners face is uneven floors. There are a number of different factors that can cause floors to become uneven, and the severity of the problem can vary greatly. In some cases, uneven floors may simply be caused by settling foundation or changes in temperature and humidity. However, more serious problems, such as foundation damage, can also cause floors to become uneven.
If you suspect that your floors are uneven, it is important to have a professional inspect your home to determine the cause of the problem. Once the cause has been determined, they will be able to recommend the best course of action to take in order to fix the problem.
#1: Extra Moisture
The most frequent cause of an uneven floor is from a buildup of moisture or from water damage. The water can come from a pipe that is hidden within a wall and is leaking or it can come from the pooling of groundwater around or beneath the foundation. This water can adversely affect your flooring and can cause wooden beams and sub-flooring to warp.
Moisture can damage the foundation of a structure when there is poor drainage around the structure. This is typically true in climates that experience a wide range of seasons (i.e., where water can freeze and expand during the winter months or where there are seasonal heavy rains that create standing water and saturated soil). In these conditions, the foundation will move and can even crack, as long as the moisture continues to be an issue.
What Can An Owner Do To Fix Uneven Floors Caused by Extra Moisture?
Fortunately, both moisture problems are repairable. Naturally, the quicker the problem is identified, the easier and less expensive it will be to repair.
To repair excess moisture due to a leaky pipe or water damage, the repair will have to start with the root cause. In most cases, an owner will have to call a plumber to repair and replace the leaking pipe. The plumber can, then, also find and repair any other leaks that may be causing other water damage issues.
Once the leak is fixed, the owner may have to replace the flooring (depending on how severe the damage). Not only can a leak and excess moisture cause an uneven floor but it can also lead to more serious problems such as mold, rot, and cracks. It is important to consult with a professional to have them assess the problem and help determine whether the floor will need to be replaced.
Repairing a foundation with poor drainage can be more involved and more expensive than one might think, depending on the damage. An owner will need to consult with a foundation repair professional to have them look at the structure’s foundation and the uneven floors. From there, they can determine whether addressing proper drainage will help solve the problem or if the foundation itself will need repairing.
#2: Soil Movement
The fact of the matter is that soil moves over time. When the soil is wet, it will expand and when it is dry, it will shrink. That is simple science. When that happens, it may cause a foundation to move, affecting a structure’s floors.
Before building contractors lay the foundation of a house or building, they must compact the soil below where the foundation will reside. This helps keep the foundation in place and prevents the structure from settling and moving over time. Sometimes, the soil is not as compact as it needs to be, resulting in shifting and uneven floors.
What Can An Owner Do To Fix Uneven Floors Caused by Soil Movement?
Fortunately, a home or business owner can repair and prevent and/or retard the erosion of soil around their foundation. Again, a structure’s owner should consult a foundation repair professional who can diagnose the issue.
From there, the owner and the foundation repair specialist can decide how to address the repair of the foundation. If there is no major damage to the foundation, addressing better drainage and adding waterspouts can help direct water away from the foundation.
Other options include repairing the foundation grading or adding a slanting swale (a sloping ditch that is designed to prevent moisture from seeping back into the foundation area). Good foundation grading should have a ground slope of 3% to 5% around a structure.
Adding soil around a foundation to improve the grading is also recommended. If that is not an option, adding a slanting swale could be considered. Both options can help direct water away from the foundation.
#3: Poor Structural Design and Foundation Damage
The last major cause of uneven floors is a damaged foundation. Damage can come from those issues addressed above, but also from a poor structural design or from the just sheer age of the structure.
If the foundation problem is the result of poor design or faulty construction, it may be incapable to hold up the structure. This may be the source that is causing warping, cracks, and/or uneven floors.
The foundation of an older structure naturally will weaken as it ages. As it weakens, joists, floors, and walls can warp, and eventually, that will lead to more severe problems – such as cracks and breaks in the floor or in the foundation.
What Can An Owner Do To Fix Uneven Floors Caused by Foundation Damage?
Foundation damage repair is always going to be expensive to address. Of course, this all depends on the extent of the damage. It is important to consult with a foundation repair professional to discuss the problem and what will be required to properly and permanently repair the issue(s).
Foundation Repair Specialists can address all the above issues. They use many methods, including floor jacks and foundation piers (steel push piers or hydraulic piers). These Professionals will pump grout in strategically placed holes in (or below) the foundation to raise it back to its original location.
Uneven Floor Repair Contractors
If your home has an uneven floor, it could be caused by foundation issues. While this may seem like a serious problem, there are many repair contractors who specialize in correcting foundation problems.
Whether you are a homeowner or someone that is looking to buy a home, you should never ignore the issue of uneven floors. Sagging, sloping, and buckling floors are typically a sign of a much bigger problem that can cause serious and, potentially, expensive issues down the road. Repairing the problem early on will save money and prevent the structure from falling apart.
If you have uneven floors in your home, give us a call, and let’s talk about it. We will work with you to diagnose the problem and help you find the right solution.