Not only do you have the possibility of moisture and buckling, you may also have foundation problems causing your uneven floor problems. Why do they become uneven?
Excess Moisture If your basement or crawl space has an excess water problem, your floor can begin to warp or sag. Wooden beams can soften or bend from too much water. There is a lot of weight on the support beams, so they are under a lot of stress. Excess water or dampness can also promote mold, wood rot, and pest infestations. All of those can attack the wooden supports of your floor, weakening them.
Insufficient Strength When building your home, if the designer or builder put the support columns too far apart, the floor can start to sag. The weight begins to pull on the floor and, in addition to uneven floors, the floor may begin to squeak and develop gaps between the wall and the floor.
Uneven Settling There are a lot of reasons that a house can settle and some settling can be expected no matter the age of the home. The problem is when part of the foundation settles at a different rate than the rest of the house. This uneven settling can put a lot of stress on the structure of the home and lead to uneven floors, along with damage to the foundation walls.
The first step in repairing an uneven floor is to find out what the problem is. Most foundation repair companies will provide you with a free inspection and estimate, so that is the best place to start. Fixing an uneven or sagging floor is not something you should do yourself. You can make a small mistake that can cause major problems throughout your home. A small problem that is easily fixed could become a large problem that will take more time and money to repair.
Depending on the cause of the uneven floor, a different solution has to be used to restore its stability and strength.
If the cause is due to excess moisture in your basement or crawl space, then a waterproofing solution needs to be implemented first. This is done through the installation of a vapor barrier, a dehumidifier, and a sump pump system. Once the basement or crawl space is dried out, then the work can begin on strengthening the floor joists and supports. There is no sense working on the supports first if they are only going to be exposed to excess water and you begin the cycle again.
If your floor supports were poorly designed or constructed, you may have to jack the floor to its original level and then reinforce the supports with sistered beams. Another option would be to build new support beams and foundation piers. There are many reasons that your foundation is settling unevenly, so a professional inspection needs to take place. A foundation expert can determine the cause of the settling and how best to fix it. There are several solutions including plate anchors, foundation piers, helical tiebacks, and more. You have to make sure that the right foundation repair solution is used, otherwise, you may have to start back at square one.
An uneven floor is more than unsightly, it can be a tripping hazard or things can become unbalanced and tip over. In addition, a sagging floor is usually a sign of a bigger problem that can allow the structural stability of your home to fail. Although problems like these can be scary because you’re worried about the cost or the time, leaving the issue for later will not make it get better or stop getting worse. It will just temporarily put it out of your mind until it is a huge problem that you can’t ignore and are forced to pay for. Contact a foundation expert like Foundation Systems of West Virginia today to give you a free inspection of your property and an estimate to repair your uneven floor.