It’s estimated that around 25% of homes will experience some kind of structural issues during their lifetimes. One common sign of this kind of problem is uneven floors, which are not only unattractive but also can be dangerous as well.
When you own a home, the last thing you want is to have a major flaw running throughout it. Chances are you’ll want to get it fixed as quick as possible once it’s discovered. But the cause of uneven floors isn’t always obvious to come up with a repair plan. Understanding why this is happening is the first step towards a resolution.
We’ve outlined the six most common reasons for sloping or uneven floors in a home to help you get started on your research!
1. Structure Settling
Every structure, no matter when or how it is constructed, will go through a settling period. This is when the ground and the materials shift a little bit due to their placement and just the normal course of time passing.
Often settling looks like not quite level walls or uneven floors. But it can also look like a large shift in the whole house if the settling happens unevenly. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell how things will settle or a way to control that process completely.
But the good news is that settling is completely normal and doesn’t cause any major problems.
When there are problems caused by this settling that appear with major defects in your home, the problems can typically be resolved through some reinforcing or adding in extra supports.
2. Excess Water
Besides settling, the next most common reason for uneven floors is excess water under the floor or near the foundation. Even if there aren’t huge puddles of water, there can still be big consequences to this kind of extra moisture.
Water, while important to daily life, can also be ultra-destructive to so many of our structures. With a long exposure, it can warp the materials and weaken their internal structures, making it so they can’t hold their original shape. If the water freezes, it will expand and can break whatever is around it with that force.
Professionally waterproofing the interior and exterior of your home is the best way to avoid these issues and keep your home as dry as possible.
3. Worn-Out Materials
There are very few building materials that are meant to last for forever. And even those that have the potential have to be in ideal circumstances to make that happen. Sometimes the materials your home was built from, especially if it’s an older home, simply wear out and lead to uneven flooring.
This often happens in the floor joists or subfloor, as they are most susceptible to rot or insect damage. They are also very high-pressure aspects of a home and hold a lot of the structure together.
When you notice sloping floors, it’s a good idea to inspect these areas for moisture damage and general wear and tear. With the help of a professional team, they can be replaced or reinforced if necessary.
4. Ground Shifting
As we mentioned before, the ground under every building will go through a small settling period over time. This is completely normal and generally doesn’t cause too many problems.
But occasionally, the soil under a structure can be very unstable and shift enough to cause foundation movement. Most of the time this happens when the soil erodes due to not enough compaction during construction or other more natural causes. In some cases, whole areas of soil can be displaced and you’re left with large holes.
This process doesn’t happen overnight (though it can!) so you’ll likely see the early signs, like uneven floors, that will help you catch it early and avoid further damage to your structure.
5. Foundation Cracks
The most serious cause of uneven floors comes when there is significant foundation settling that has led to cracks and breaks. Obviously, this is a serious problem that will have major effects on many areas of your home but can impact your floors significantly.
Even the smallest crack can make the flooring have raised or lowered areas, instead of being one even surface. No matter which type of flooring you have in your home, you’ll be able to feel those differences and notice when something isn’t right. With some harder floors, like tiles or wood, some pieces of the flooring can even start to pop up and out of place!
Uneven floors are likely the first, most basic sign that you need professional foundation repair. The quicker you get that done, the quicker your floors can be fixed and your home returned to its sturdy form.
6. Poor Construction
Sometimes, uneven floors are just due to poor construction and a lack of attention to detail. There is a lot that goes into making any kind of structure, if you’re not using a top-notch building team chances are things will get overlooked and your final product will suffer.
That extends all the way back to when the plans for the structure are drawn up for the project. If things get overlooked or there’s not enough prep work to get the site ready, the whole foundation can be off. Which in turn leads to everything else being off inside as well.
What Causes Uneven Floors in Your Home
Taking care of your home can be a frustrating job! There are so many things that can go wrong and a lot of them are out of your control entirely. Staying on top of signs of a potentially major problem, like uneven floors, can help you best care for your home.
When you see an issue like this come up, you can quickly call in the professionals to assess the situation, come up with the best plan of repair, and then handle that work as well. This way you can feel confident and secure in your home, knowing it’s as sturdy as it can be!
If you’re in need of foundation assessment or repair, contact us today to schedule an appointment!