Crawl Space Repair Problem Signs: How to Discover and Fix Sagging Floors
Have you noticed that your floors are sagging recently? If you have, you probably know how annoying this can be. The thing is, it’s not just annoying on an aesthetic level. It’s also detrimental to your crawl space’s health. If you don’t know whether you have the right fixes for your sagging floor, keep reading to learn more about how you can identify and fix sagging floors.
How Can You Tell That You Have Sagging Floors?
Sagging floors are one of the problems that can be most detrimental throughout your home. It’s common for sagging floors to have a very serious baseline problem. Here’s what you need to know about finding these flaws early, long before you even notice that the problem is there.
- Know the Secondary Signs
There are some secondary signs that may clue you in to the fact that your floors are at risk of sagging. These secondary signs make it a little easier to know that you could be dealing with structural damage in your crawl space:
- High indoor humidity
- Musty crawl space smell
- Waterproofing concerns
- Generalized crawl space issues
However, it’s important to remember that none of these are indisputable signs of something that might turn into sagging floors in the future. Sagging floors typically occur because of issues with your floor joists, but these secondary signs can indicate all sorts of different crawl space issues. However, they can still be useful in recognizing crawl space concerns.
- Get an Expert Inspection
An expert inspection is easily the best way to check for sagging floors. When you have information from an expert, you’re more likely to notice that sagging floors are happening before you can see it with the naked eye. Professional crawl space repair experts just have the tools and education you need to make sure you’re doing the crawl space inspection correctly.
This expert inspection is especially beneficial because you can ensure that you notice sagging floors long before you start to see the floors sag. Sagging floors are extremely frustrating, but your eye typically won’t notice a very slight decline. However, an expert can use tools to notice these slight declines, making it easier to catch early.
- Perform Inspections Yourself
An inspection you do yourself won’t have quite the same punch as an expert inspection, but you don’t want to do expert inspections more than about once per year. Your inspections may not be quite as powerful as an expert inspection, but that doesn’t make them any less beneficial, especially since you can do them more frequently.
Sure, you might not be able to notice slight floor sagging, but you can take note of your floors once every few months and notice when something’s changing. This is what’s so important about doing your inspections; it’s a great way to make sure you know when something has started to change.
What Can Sagging Floors Do to Your Home?
Sagging floors can have a serious impact on your home as a whole, which are often not very easy to notice upfront. Here are some of the most significant impacts of sagging floors on a home overall.
- The Crawl Space
Most of the problems in the crawl space stem from the underlying causes of the sagging floors. Most commonly, sagging floors occur due to issues with your floor joists. When you have floor joist concerns, you’re going to end up with sagging floors as well as a whole host of other issues. Extremely serious concerns can even end up causing long-term damage.
Because the floor joists are on the ceiling of the crawl space most frequently, it’s easy for them to cause the crawl space to bear the brunt of the damage. Additionally, because floor joists typically falter because of a crawl space problem, you might have two problems back to back, like standing water in your crawl space.
- The Home as a Whole
The second most serious area for problems with sagging floors is the general home. This is because sagging floors can contribute to foundation issues. Think about it: When your floors start to sink in the middle, regardless of the reason, it’s common for the edges of the floors to pull inward. That can cause the foundation underneath the home to shift, causing massive concerns.
These foundation problems are what a lot of people are thinking about when they discuss how sagging floors can cause crawl space problems. Additionally, whatever is causing your sagging floors could also create other problems across the home. Moisture problems, for example, can move up from the crawl space into the home and cause serious damage.
- Across the Property
This is less common, but your sagging floors can have an impact on the rest of the property. However, it’s typically through relatively subtle means. The most common method through which sagging floors can have a serious impact on your property is hydrostatic pressure.
Specifically, even though sagging floors typically come from issues with your floor joists, they can potentially come from issues with your foundation walls. If the foundation walls bow inward, you’re going to see sagging floors. That can indicate something is wrong with the soil on the entire property, which is something you need to pay attention to.
FAQs About Sagging Floors
There are many reasons you may experience sagging floors in your home. Understanding more about what might cause your sagging floors can be a good way to anticipate problems, which can lead to a more effective fix.
- Not Enough Support in the Floor Joists
Floor joists are what give your floor strength. It’s common for sagging floors to happen simply because your floor joists don’t have enough support. There are several reasons support in a floor joist can start to waver, ranging from a problem with initial construction to a secondary concern that can arise from waterlogging or wood rot growth.
Without support, the area that the floor joist should support can start to sink. This can very easily lead to sagging floors, especially if you’re having these problems in just a single room. Support for floor joists should be one of the most important things you look for when you’re trying to figure out why you might be having sagging floor problems.
- Hydrostatic Pressure
It’s also possible for hydrostatic pressure to play a role in your sagging floors. This is a type of pressure that happens due to the weight of water as it presses on your home’s foundation and underground walls. Hydrostatic pressure can impact your foundation. It pushes the walls together and causes the floor to bow slightly.
This hydrostatic pressure can also lead to a variety of problems in your home, stretching far past just sagging floors. You might have cracks in your foundation and standing water problems, among others. Fixing these problems can be a crucial part of making sure that your home stays healthy throughout the years.
Many people look for ways to avoid problems with their sagging floors. You might wonder whether you could have sagging floors that aren’t a big deal. Here’s what you need to know about the concept of sagging floors that aren’t impactful.
- Sagging Extensive Enough to Notice
One of the most important things to remember is that by the time you’ve started to notice your sagging floors, they’re bowed enough that something is happening underneath. These general sagging floor problems that you’re experiencing aren’t just aesthetic ones. You’re having an underlying problem that you need to tackle.
If the sagging is important enough to notice, it’s going to be a very big problem. Those sagging floors need to be an important thing that you tackle when you start dealing with your home health overall. You should treat it that way and not brush off the problems; you may end up with serious concerns.
- Talk to an Expert
There is a very small amount of floor sagging that might be normal in certain homes, especially depending on the circumstances surrounding the sagging floors. However, this typically indicates sagging that’s not yet noticeable, not sagging that you’ve already noticed. In most cases, “small amounts” of sagging are only noticeable when you use a laser level.
You can’t decide for yourself whether floor sagging is a serious problem because you need to check on potential reasons for the floor sagging. Understanding the underlying causes of floor sagging should be an important element of your home fixes. That’s why it’s a good idea to talk to an expert, as it can help you avoid potential future problems with the joist.
Sistering a joist is when you add additional material into a joist in an attempt to strengthen it and make it more like its initial situation. This is a potential fix that some people might look into, but it tends to not be as effective as other joist repair options.
- The Problems with Sistering
Sistering a joist rarely works. More commonly, it ends with the joist being even weaker than it initially was. You typically have to move the joist around quite a bit to be able to sister it, which can weaken it and make it more difficult to place lots of weight on it. This is especially true if the joist has problems with mold and mildew or other growths.
At the end of the day, the sistering process tends to produce joists that are very weak and unhealthy. This unhealthiness will only continue in the future, which might lead to even worse problems in your home’s flooring. You want joists that are strong and well-established. That’s why you need help from an expert.
- A Better Option
If sistering a joist isn’t a good option, what is? Your best bet in general will be to add a new joist system around the currently weakened joist. Groundworks’ crawl space jacks, for example, can help you maintain your joists because instead of simply sistering the joist, it adds a whole new element of structure to the joist system.
This is by far the best option for your crawl space and sagging floors. Because Groundworks’ crawl space jack system is extremely effective and can even bring crawl spaces up to their initial position, they’re a great option for any crawl space that’s experiencing concerns. Complete support for your floors will almost always be the most beneficial option.
Fixing sagging floors is a long and involved process. You can’t assume that you’ll be able to fix the problem. If you try to fix it, you might end up with a problem worse than the initial one.
- The Difficulty of Fixing Sagging Floors
Although there are many ways you might think you can DIY a sagging floor problem, chances are this won’t do anything. Instead, it’s far more common that you’ll end up making the problem worse, which can cause you to have to pay even more when you finally do call an expert. Instead of saving money, you’re flushing money down the drain.
If you fix your problem with a non-functioning DIY system, you’re probably going to have to revisit it in the future. It could maintain the problem for a very short amount of time, but it typically won’t be for very long. That makes the DIY “fix” a frustrating waste of time and money that you could more effectively spend elsewhere.
- Reasons to Talk to an Expert
Talking to an expert helps save you from the process that you would have to embark on yourself, which typically includes wasting time, money, and energy. An expert’s help is always beneficial in this situation. Even if you just call in an expert to see what’s going on in your home, you’ll be able to get some sort of help for your system.
Instead of waiting until you can’t wait any longer, talk to a Groundworks crawl space expert early on to learn more about your options for fixing sagging floors of all levels and concerns. You can schedule a free inspection with Groundworks today to find out what you need to do.
Make Sure You Get a Complete Fix for Sagging Floors with an Expert’s Help
A complete fix for sagging floors is easier than you might think. You don’t have to live with the sagging floors or hope you’ll be able to fix them. Sistering a joist or placing something underneath the floor typically won’t work. You need an expert’s help.
If you’re looking to fix your sagging floors completely, you need to ensure you’re looking at the total picture. Only an expert can do that. Sagging floors don’t have to be an eternal problem you can only stop from getting worse. If you do it right and contact a repair expert, you can reverse the problems you’re experiencing with sagging floors for good.