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What Does Your Uneven Floor Mean?

Table of Contents

1. What Causes An Uneven Floor?
2. How To Level An Uneven Floor
3. Should You Worry About Uneven Floors?
4. Sloping Floors Vs. Sagging Floors
5. How To Prevent Uneven Floors

Are you putting in new flooring? Re-doing the flooring in your home requires a level subfloor. Putting in new flooring on top of an uneven subfloor can further the sloping problem and cause furniture to rest unevenly on the floor. If you suspect that your floors are sloped or uneven, the issue needs to be resolved before installing new floors.

How do you determine whether or not your floor is sloped? Take the following steps to determine whether or not you have an uneven floor in your home:

  1. Position a 4-6 foot beam level on the floor and examine the bubble in the level’s horizontal tube. The bubble should be floating in-between the two vertical lines on the tube. Adjust the level until the bubble is in the correct spot between the lines.
  2. Examine any gaps you find between the level and the floor. Gaps that are smaller than 1/8 inch are normal and that area of the floor is level enough to install new floors. Any gap larger than 1/8 may require you to find the cause of the unevenness and fix it. Mark these areas for further examination.
  3. You should also mark parts of the floor that are 1/8 inch or higher than the rest of the area. Both these higher and lower areas need to be fixed before putting in new flooring.

What Causes An Uneven Floor?

What is causing your floor to be uneven? The cause of a sloped and uneven floor may be as simple as low-quality subfloor or normal home settlement. However, the cause of an uneven floor could also be a foundation issue. If you see significant sloping and unevenness in your floor, accompanied by issues like floor or foundation cracks , sticking windows or doors, leaks, and bowing or leaning walls, you may be facing a foundation problem.

Often, a settling or sinking foundation is the result of soil movement below the concrete. When the soil dries out, it shrinks, causing voids and gaps to form in the ground. The foundation will then sink into these gaps. Wet soil can also cause heaving foundations and uneven floors, as the wet soil expands and pushes on the concrete above.

How To Level An Uneven Floor

The first step in fixing an uneven floor is to determine whether it is the result of a foundation issue or of a problem with the subfloor itself. The experts at Bay Area Underpinning can inspect your home to assess the severity of the problem and find the best solution. We even offer free estimates for foundation repair jobs.

If the issue is just a problem with the subfloor, it can be fixed with self-leveling compound and sanding or grinding. For higher spots on wood subfloors, sand down the area until it measures level with the rest. Higher spots on a concrete subfloor can be ground down until they are level. If there are low spots on your subfloor, pour some self-leveling mortar into the dip until the area is level.

Foundation problems are more serious and their repair should be left to professionals. If your sloped floors are the result of a foundation problem, Bay Area Underpinning can help. We will install underpinning devices to lift the foundation, which will help to level the floors in your home. These piers anchor into the ground and are hydraulically lifted to raise the concrete slab of your foundation and level floors.

Call us now for professional floor leveling and foundation stabilization in the Bay Area.

Should You Worry About Uneven Floors?

Yes, you should worry about an uneven floor because an uneven floor is a sign something is wrong. Two possible causes of an uneven floor are differential foundation settlement or settled crawl space support posts. If these issues aren’t addressed, they can lead to structural damage and even more costly repairs.

If you notice your home’s floor is uneven, contact a foundation repair contractor right away and ask for a foundation evaluation. They will let you know if the problem is related to the subfloor or something more serious.

Sloping Floors Vs. Sagging Floors

Both a sloping and a sagging floor are an indication something is wrong. It could be just the subfloor, or it could be a foundation problem. However, a sagging floor is a problem found in crawl space foundations, and it indicates a problem with the wooden structures in the crawl space holding up the ground floor. The floor above the crawl space might even feel bouncy when you walk on it.

How To Prevent Uneven Floors

Because most foundation problems are caused by water, controlling groundwater around the foundation is the best way to prevent an uneven floor. In other words, you don’t want water-saturated soil around your home. Here are some things you can do to avoid this:

  • Clean your gutters regularly to ensure they’re not full of dead leaves and other debris. Clogged gutters can cause rainwater to spill over the side of the house and soak the ground around the foundation.
  • Use downspout extensions to carry rainwater a safe distance from the foundation before release. Downspout extensions are inexpensive and easy to install.
  • Keep trees away from the foundation. Trees with extensive root systems can wreak havoc on a foundation. The roots can push up on the foundation and “drink” water from the soil, leaving behind voids. If the foundation settles into the voids, you’ll get differential settlement and uneven floors.
  • Consider relocating water-hungry vegetation planted next to the house. While flowers and shrubs might look beautiful next to the house, they need water, and you’re trying to avoid adding water to the ground around the foundation.
  • Install a drain tile system. When it comes to foundation waterproofing, you can’t beat a drain tile system. Instead of merely putting up a barrier to keep water out, a drain tile system prevents excess moisture from building up in the soil around the foundation. There are two types of drain tile systems, exterior and interior. An exterior drain tile system is installed around the outside perimeter of the foundation at the footing level. An interior drain tile system is installed around the inside perimeter of the crawl space or basement.
Steve Egloff

Steve Egloff

Founder of Bay Area Underpinning

Steve is the Founder of Bay Area Underpinning, a foundation repair company serving the San Fransisco Bay Area, California. Bay Area Underpinning was founded in 2005 with the goal of providing a cost-effective, engineered solution to foundation settlement problems with an emphasis on educating customers to make them feel comfortable with the various methods of foundation repair.

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