A sloping floor can be a scary problem for Bay Area homeowners. This is because a sloping floor or an uneven floor can often be a sign of foundation settlement or soil movement.
Not always though. Sometimes, slightly sloped or uneven floors are NOT the result of foundation failure, and if the slope isn’t very significant, it may result from warped floorboards, a sagging subfloor, or rotting floor joists.
When a sloping floor is a sign of foundation failure, you’ll probably notice other problems as well. For example, you might see ceiling cracks, gaps between the walls and the floor or ceiling, doors and windows that stick, etc.
Signs you might have a sloping floor include,
- Round-ish objects dropped on the floor roll toward a specific area.
- Tables and chairs don’t sit level on the floor.
- Floors feel bouncy when walking across them.
It’s essential to have a sloping floor examined by a professional as soon as possible. Even if your sloping floor isn’t the result of a deeper foundation problem, it can still be an inconvenience and possibly a trip hazard.
Why Do I Have A Sloping Floor?
Floors start to slope or become uneven for various reasons. In many older homes, the foundation underneath the house is made of non-reinforced concrete, brick, or stone. These foundations are prone to settling over time, especially with changes in the moisture content of the soil or changes in temperature.
Settling foundations need to be lifted and stabilized to correct sloped floors and prevent future settlement. Some older foundations may be too far damaged to salvage and may require complete foundation replacement.
If your home has a crawl space, the crawl space beams and posts might be the cause of your sloping floor. We often see this in the Bay Area when we perform foundation inspections. If the beams and posts in the crawl space that hold up your home start to rot or rust, they will become unstable and might start to sag. This can cause the floors above the crawl space to become uneven.
Finding the cause of your sloping floor is vital since this will determine the chosen repair solution.
Can I Fix A Sloping Floor Myself?
In most cases, repairing a sloping floor is not a do-it-yourself job. If the sloping floor is due to a foundation problem, the repair will likely be quite involved and require special equipment and professional installation.
However, if the issue is the joists and posts in your crawl space, there are a couple of possible DIY fixes. You can try sistering the affected joist with a new one to improve stability. However, if the old joist is rotted, damp, or infected with termites, these problems could also happen in the new joist. In some less severe cases, sistering the joist can work to stabilize the above floor. However, in many cases, it’s merely a temporary solution that treats the symptoms but, not the underlying cause. When crawl space beams and posts cause the problem, it’s better to install screw jacks.
How To Level An Sloping Floor
There are various ways to level a sloping floor including:
- Underpinning: Lifting the foundation using resistance piers or helical piers is another possible repair solution. In this process, the piers are driven deep into the ground under the foundation to stabilize the home and then lifted hydraulically to level the foundation and even out any sloped floors. For more information see Underpinning A House: What Every Homeowner Needs To Know.
- Foundation Replacement: If the damage to the foundation is severe, or if the foundation itself has worn down with time, you may need to have the entire foundation replaced. However, in the vast majority of cases, foundation replacement is not necessary.
- Screw Jack Installation: If the sloped floor results from crawl space beam and post problems, screw jack installation and replacement might be the answer. Screw jacks can replace crawl space posts and can be adjusted to level sloping floors above at any time. These are one of the most effective and affordable options for sagging floor or sloping floor repair in crawl space foundations. For more information see Crawlspace Beam, Girder, and Joist Problems.
If you need help with a sloping floor and you’re in our service area in Northern California, contact us today. We specialize in foundation piers, screw jacks, and other methods to lift sagging and sloping floors.