Uneven floors can have a marked impact on your home’s structural safety and cosmetic appearance. What can you do to fix this problem?
Fixing Foundation Problems Early: Uneven Floors
Of the various foundation problems you might experience, uneven floors may be the least noticeable. Sure, you’ll probably notice an uneven floor if you can no longer place furniture there correctly because of the significant slanting, but a small slant will probably go by relatively unnoticed.
The problem is that these uneven floors are a genuine concern for your foundation. They may even portend serious disaster, even including a home floor cave-in if you leave it for long enough. Here’s how you can check these foundation problems early so you don’t have to worry about them as much.
How Can I Uncover Uneven Floors Early On?
Finding out about your uneven floors as early as possible is key to making sure you can fix the problem. However, because uneven floors typically start out very subtly, you may need to look a little deeper. Here’s how you can find out about your uneven floors as early as possible.
- Know the Warning Signs
First off, it’s vital to know secondary warning signs of uneven floors. Because uneven floors have an impact on the rest of the structure, you’ll see other problems associated with them. Here are just a few of the symptoms you might see:
- Drywall cracks
- Floor and wall gaps
- Nail pops
- Stuck windows and doors
- Floor cracks
As you can see, these are much more obvious than an uneven floor. They’ll also typically show up earlier than you’ll be able to notice an uneven floor with the naked eye. Whenever you start to experience foundation problems that often stem from a sinking foundation, you should request help from an expert to know your next moves.
- Get an Expert Inspection Every Year
Most homeowners don’t have an expert come in and inspect their home foundation every year. At most, you may have some who do it every so often, but it’s relatively uncommon for homeowners to stick to the recommendation of once per year. Unfortunately, many homeowners feel like it’s not worth it because so often, the foundation comes back with a clean bill of health.
It’s important to remember that even though foundations often have no problems, this isn’t the default setting. Foundations can have very serious problems that can negatively impact the entire home and drop your home value tremendously. You’re committing to an expert inspection every year because it will be what saves your foundation if you eventually do have a problem.
- Self-Inspect Regularly
Even though expert inspections are important, it’s also important to inspect your own foundation in whatever way you can. Sure, you may not be able to get down into your basement or crawl space and take stock of all the various foundation issues you might have, but you can do your own inspections once a month to see if there are any warning signs to pay attention to.
If you have a level, you may even be able to check for uneven floors every once in a while. Just place your level on what you assume to be a flat surface, ideally both close to the room’s walls and close to the room’s center. This won’t be as thorough as an inspection from an expert, but it may at least clue you in to any ways your floors might be changing over the months.
How Can Uneven Floors Impact My Home?
Uneven floors can have an impact far beyond any that you may think about initially. Here are just a few of the ways in which uneven floors can impact the entire home.
- Individual Rooms
When you only have uneven floors in a single room, that room will start to have certain issues because of those uneven floors. Most commonly, you’ll see problems like floor and wall gaps, which form because of the way in which the weight distribution of your home changes in response to the root cause of the uneven floors.
Every individual room that’s seeing uneven floor problems will have its own general concerns. These concerns may be similar between rooms or may be completely different. For example, while you might see floor and wall gaps in one room, you might instead see nail pops in a different room. That’s why it’s important to look at everything holistically instead of just checking off symptoms from a checklist.
- Generalized Home Structure
Individual rooms won’t be the only things that have a problem when you have uneven floors. Even if your uneven floors are only present in one of the rooms, it will still have resounding repercussions throughout the rest of your home. That’s because the stress on an individual room will cause stress on other areas, which will eventually encompass the whole home.
Additionally, uneven floors often don’t stop at a single room. It’s common for uneven floors to occur because of a foundation problem, which may stretch across the entire home. If your foundation is sinking on one end of the home, for example, you’re going to start seeing issues throughout the home, regardless of where you’re seeing the uneven floors.
- Structure Outside the Home
Lastly, your uneven floors may even impact structures that are on the same property but aren’t technically part of the home. These structures can start to have warping, uneven concerns, and general problems at the same time as the home. This tends to be extremely obvious when it comes to things like concrete surrounding the home.
You probably have a lot of concrete on the same property as your home; it may be part of your driveway, sidewalks, and pool deck. When you notice uneven floor issues, it’s typically because of issues surrounding the soil underneath your foundation. That soil tends to be the same across an entire property, which is what leads to other problems with concrete across the general property.
FAQs About Uneven Floors
Many people have the misguided opinion that a problem needs to be extremely bad before you can take steps to fix it. However, this isn’t true with most home problems and it isn’t true with an uneven floor. As soon as you notice an uneven floor, you should take steps to fix it.
- Very Subtle Problems vs. Very Severe Problems
It’s possible for your uneven floor to initially show up very subtly. Uneven floor problems can start with a floor that tips very slightly to one end. It doesn’t have to start out as something that’s extremely frustrating to deal with. Even a bit of sinking or sagging can indicate that you have an uneven floor problem. As soon as you notice it, it’s a good idea to call in an expert.
If you avoid dealing with your uneven floor for long enough, it may progress to a much more severe tilt or damage-like cracks, bowing, or sinking. If it’s not addressed early, it may become unusable and unsafe. In the worst cases, the flooring may even collapse, let in pests, or start to result in flooding during the rainy season.
- Fixing Underlying Concerns
An uneven floor is a symptom, not the problem itself. Whether that problem is an issue with the home’s floor joists or a generalized foundation concern, it’s ultimately still a problem, and you must handle that underlying concern if you want a permanent solution.
The best way to fix your uneven floor is to repair the underlying cause. Not only will this prevent the damage from getting worse, but it can stop the problem from spreading to your walls, foundation, and support beams. That will make it a more straightforward, one-time repair, instead of a full replacement or a series of repairs across your entire home.
If there was a problem in the building of your home, a floor may start out uneven. In this case, you may need to take different steps to ensure that you’re able to even the floor.
- Poor Construction Methods
When the construction team initially builds the home, they have to follow several rules. These rules help ensure that the home comes out sturdy and effective. For example, the team should make sure that the floor joists have the proper spacing, that the wood they use is sturdy and heavy-duty, and that they tamp down the soil under the home before building.
However, if the team doesn’t follow those rules appropriately, they may not be able to create a sturdy home. That may cause the floor to become uneven almost immediately. This problem can get worse over time as you continue to use it.
- Incorrect Measurements
This requires even more sloppiness on the part of the construction team, which means it’s not very common. However, it does happen from time to time. If the team takes the measurements incorrectly or measures structural cuts inappropriately, they may end up with pieces of flooring or support beams that are the wrong size, shape, and thickness. These measurements will be what allow for a floor slope.
As mentioned, this is very uncommon. It’s not very likely for a construction team to stay in business for very long if they constantly make mistakes as serious as measuring incorrectly. If you’re having issues with a sloped floor as soon as your home is built, you should probably reach out to the construction crew before you talk to a foundation repair expert.
You might find yourself asking whether uneven floors even matter in the first place. The truth is that uneven floors are an important thing to pay attention to. Your uneven floors could be indicating a serious problem that you’ll be able to tackle early on.
- Cosmetic Problems
Of course, the first problem is that uneven floors look ugly in your home. You can’t use uneven floors properly, which makes it a cosmetic concern for sure. Extremely uneven floors can even make it so that you can’t use tables and chairs effectively because the floor will cause these things to move toward the slope.
However, an uneven floor isn’t just a cosmetic problem. It indicates serious problems throughout your home’s foundation. That is the main reason that you need to think about your sloped floors as soon as you start to notice them.
- Problems Underneath the Floor
The bigger problem has to do with the fact that you’re certainly going to experience additional problems underneath the floor. Your uneven floor may not be due to the flooring itself, but the support beams or foundation that lie underneath it. For example, crawl space floor jacks are designed to make your flooring more robust and able to bear greater loads. If these are failing, the symptom will be a clearly uneven floor. No matter the root cause, it’s a serious problem.
When it comes to sunken floors, you shouldn’t brush off your uneven floor because it’s not a big deal to you. Instead, you should call in an expert to assess what underlying issues are damaging your floor. A foundation repair expert can help you decide what to do with your uneven floors so you can function properly again.
DIYers may wonder whether they might be able to fix their uneven floor all on their own. After all, if you can DIY other things in your life, why can’t you DIY an uneven floor? Of course, this is misguided, and you should not try to DIY the uneven floor problem.
- DIY Fixes
Trying to DIY your uneven floor fix is not a great idea. DIY fixes can be great for smaller problems. If you have a broken door, for example, you might be able to replace the door yourself. However, they’re not the best option when it comes to very serious concerns like an uneven floor.
That’s because uneven floors are very different foundationally from a simple problem like a broken door. These floor concerns tend to revolve around foundation issues, which means it’s a better idea to get an expert’s help in tackling it, as DIYers typically aren’t equipped for this problem. You’ll lack the gear, the safety measures, the materials, and the experience to repair the damage or install a support system correctly, and even if you could manage all this, it’s far more costly than handing it over to a professional.
- An Expert’s Help
An expert is the only person you can call to get the right fix for your uneven floor. You need to put in the right amount of time, effort, and money when it comes to an uneven floor. If you try to cut corners in any way, regardless of how you’re doing it, you’re much more likely to end up with a problem that’s even more expensive and time-consuming to fix.
Play it safe and call in an expert from Groundworks that can fix your uneven floor for good. This is absolutely the best way to ensure that your uneven floor doesn’t have an impact on your home anymore. You can schedule a free inspection to learn more about your options moving forward.
An Expert Can Help Return Your Floors to the Right Position
Fixing your uneven floors requires much more than just waiting and hoping things get better. If you wait for too long, you risk causing damage that’s much more difficult for an expert to fix. The best experts can fix almost any foundation problems, but it won’t be easy or cheap.
Instead, as soon as you notice issues with uneven floors, you should contact a foundation repair expert. The earlier you realize that your floors are strangely uneven, the better. You can request a free inspection to determine whether your floors are uneven and learn more about how you can fix the problem.