Sloping floors are a cause for concern among homeowners. But did you know there are multiple reasons a floor can begin to slope and specific solutions for each? Likewise, certain signs indicate whether or not your sloping floor is something you need to worry about. In this article, we’ll cover all that and more. Read on to learn all you need to know about when sloping floors can become a legitimate concern.
Why Are Your Floors Sloping?
The first step toward knowing whether you should worry about sloping floors is to understand how floors become sloped in the first place. As mentioned in the introduction, there is more than one reason why this can occur. The sections below will explain the two most common ones.
Direct Floor Damage
One of the most common causes of a sloping floor is damage to the floor itself. Over time, floors and their supporting structures in your crawl space can take damage from several sources.
For instance, excessive moisture in your home can cause wood to rot. When the crawl space supports below your floor start to decay, it is typical for the floorboards they support to begin sagging. This sagging causes the entirety of your floor to become uneven.
Wooden floorboards can also become cracked, bent, and bowed through use and age. Regardless of what causes the damage to your floor and its joists, the result is often a noticeable floor pitch ranging from mild to severe.
Differential Foundation Settling
Sometimes, the source of your sloping floor has nothing to do with your actual floor. Instead, a sloping floor can be an indication of foundation settling.
When the soil below a foundation sinks or shifts, the foundation will sink and shift in turn. This often results in a change in the rest of your home.
Some foundation settling is normal, especially during the first year following construction. However, differential foundation settling is a bit different – and far more worrisome.
Differential foundation settling is more severe and uneven than normal settling. This can cause your floors to take on a significant pitch and may result in stuck doors and windows.
How Much Slope Is Too Much?
When you notice that a floor in your home has begun to slope, it can be challenging to diagnose the cause on your own. However, some signs can indicate that you should worry about your sloping floor and seek repairs sooner rather than later.
Mainly, paying attention to the degree of the floor slope is essential. To evaluate the slope, you’ll need to remember that the floor has a vertical rise and a horizontal run.
Generally, if your floor rises or falls more than half an inch over a horizontal run of 10 feet or less, you should call someone about your sloping floor. This degree of slope indicates that there is likely a problem with your floor or your foundation.
With that said, it’s also important to consider comfort and safety. Any time a sloping floor is difficult to walk on or causes a tripping hazard, the smartest move is to seek the help of a professional repair team.
Are Sloping Floors More Common in Certain Homes?
Any home can develop a sloping floor. However, some houses are more likely to have uneven floors than others. For instance, sloping floors are far more common in older homes that have had more time to settle over the years. Older homes are also more likely to have deteriorating structural materials in their crawl space foundations that can lead to sloping floors.
As hinted in the sections above, sloping floors are also more common in homes that have experienced foundation problems, regardless of age. When a foundation becomes damaged or settles unevenly, it can cause many issues, including sloping floors, stuck doors, jammed windows, and much more.
Will a Sloping Floor Collapse?
Whether or not a sloping floor will collapse depends on several factors, such as the cause of the slope and the total degree of damage. For example, collapse is unlikely when a floor has a slight slope due to normal foundation settling.
In contrast, when the materials of your floor or the wooden structural support in your crawl space deteriorate significantly, the odds that the floor’s structural integrity will fail are much higher. As such, it is always best to address sloping floors right away. Allowing a sloping floor to go unchecked will likely allow the damage to worsen, which can eventually cause the floor to fall apart.
Best Ways to Fix a Sloping Floor
Finding the best way to fix your floor depends entirely on the cause. For example, if you find out that your floor slopes due to damage to the floor itself, the best solution is to repair the floor and its underlying structure.
At times, you may be able to replace sloping floorboards on your own. However, hiring a professional repair team to take care of these repairs is always wisest. Hiring a repair team helps your repair project run smoothly, safely, and successfully.
Similarly, if your floor slopes because of a foundation problem, there is little to no opportunity for you to repair this issue on your own. Instead, you’ll need to find a foundation repair team to diagnose and solve the problem. Sometimes, a process known as underpinning will be necessary. Underpinning involves installing piers to level and stabilize your foundation to counteract the effect of differential settling.
Get Help for Your Sloping Floors
In some cases, a mild sloping floor is nothing to worry about. However, if your floor slopes significantly and becomes difficult to walk on, it is likely a sign of damage to the structural support in your crawl space or foundation issues. In either case, hiring a professional is again the most sensible first step towards leveling your floors.
If you have a sloping floor in the Charlotte, NC, area, contact us at HydroHelp911. Our team has over a decade of experience repairing foundations and crawl spaces, and we are confident we can provide the skills and guidance you need! Contact us today to learn more about the services we can offer you.