How Foundation Problems Can Lead to Floors That Are Sinking or Uneven
Monday, October 26th, 2015 by Thrasher
If you have a crawl space and the floors above are out of level, you may have a structural problem in your crawl space. Common signs include a floor that sags towards the center of the house, floor cracks, and interior doors jamming. Crawl space jacks can address the structural problems.
Another common cause of unlevel floors is settlement or foundation heaving. Foundation settlement can be solved by installing foundation piers.
Causes and Solutions for Uneven Floors
Uneven floors are rarely caused by problems with the floor system itself. Instead, it's often a settling or shifting foundation issue that has impacted the floor system. Floor beams and joists are made from wood that will usually bend or flex rather than crack or break. The same can't be said for masonry foundations. When soil issues cause a foundation to break, the floors above usually bend.
The following are common causes of uneven floors and our solutions for each:
Floors Above Crawl Spaces
The floor joists above a typical crawl space are supported by the perimeter walls of the crawl space foundation, and by a post or column-and-beam framework that extends down the center of the crawl space. Although the perimeter walls of a crawl space can settle or shift to cause floor problems above, it's more common for the center support system to settle or sag.
A center post-and-beam support system can weaken and settle because moisture in a dirt-floored crawl space has caused wood supports to rot and collapse. As crawl space structures begin to sag, the floor above will sag in turn.
At Thrasher, we can quickly and effectively repair a crawl space structural issue with our heavy-duty crawl space jacks called the The SmartJack(R) system. This system has several great features:
- Base of engineered fill
- Precast concrete base
- Steel posts stabilize and support beam
- Can be easily adjusted in future if necessary
This system allows the contractor to push a sagging floor back toward its original level position. Our warrantied crawl space jacks can effectively stabilize your crawl space, usually in a day.
Settling, Sinking Concrete Floors
Since masonry is more likely to break than bend, concrete floors that are uneven are generally cracked and/or broken as well. If your foundation is settling, it may be lifting the concrete floor as the rest of the foundation experiences movement.
There are also times where the slab floor can lift or sink independently of the walls. Concrete slab floors crack and settle when the soils underneath them shrink, settle or wash away. Likewise, a concrete slab will lift, or "heave", when the soils underneath expand.
Slab floors that are sinking independently of the walls can be repaired with a slab pier system, shown on the right. These piers are placed in cored holes in the floor, extending down to competent soils to hold your floor in place. They can even be used to lift a slab back to its original, level position.
If the floor is cracked and uneven because of foundation settlement, then your contractor will recommend either foundation push piers or helical piers to stabilize the entire foundation. Foundation piers can also be used to lift the foundation to its original position in some cases.
Contact Your Foundation Repair Experts
To get your foundation fixed permanently, you will need to know exactly what is going on with your home and which solutions will best address the problem. Our team of certified, in-house foundation experts can help. During our foundation repair quote, we'll personally inspect your foundation issue, explaining what's happening with your home and making suggestions for repair.
Each of our visits comes at no obligation, and it includes a written foundation repair estimate. To schedule your free inspection, call or email us today! We proudly serve Sioux City, Lincoln, Omaha, Council Bluffs, Bellevue, Grand Island, Kearney, Norfolk, Fremont, North Platte, and nearby in Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri.