Detection and correction of bouncing, sloped and undulating floors
There may be a number of reasons why floors on a crawl space foundation appear bouncy, uneven, or wavy. Sagging or bouncing floors are not only a major nuisance for homeowners; But it can also leave homeowners wondering if there’s a potential safety issue or expensive structural repair down the road.
If you have bouncy floors in your home, you can usually detect this condition simply by walking across the floor in question. You can literally feel the ground shake or bounce up and down. Sometimes when walking on an inflatable floor you will even hear it squeak or make other noises. In other cases, you’ll notice items in cabinets or on nearby tables or countertops start to shake.
Obviously, these telltale signs of bad flooring are annoying. Any homeowner encountering this problem will want to know what is causing the bouncy floors, what can be done to correct the problem, and how much this repair job will cost.
The good news is that an experienced foundation repair contractor will usually be able to provide quick answers to the questions mentioned above. Bouncy floors are sometimes due to undersized floor joists, a miscalculation that occurred when the home was built.
In other cases, the beam that provides mid-span support for the first story beams may have settled or bent downward due to deteriorated or displaced support posts. After all, many older homes were built with wooden support studs in the basement or crawl space instead of steel studs. Wooden posts are vulnerable to rot and insect attack.
Fortunately, these causes of bouncy floors can be corrected without major disruption to the living space. An experienced foundation repair contractor will have tools and materials to reinforce undersized beams and raise a seated half-span beam to its original position, this time installing steel columns that won’t succumb to rot or insect attack.
Sloped floors can be more difficult to spot in a home than bouncy floors. Bouncy floors have a distinctive spongy feel underfoot and can even creak or make other noises, while sloped floors can still feel solid. If you suspect that a room floor is sloped, it’s fairly easy to test your theory. Place a small to medium size marble on what you suspect is the “high” side of the floor and see if it rolls down.
A tilted floor can be caused by the same conditions that turn a rigid floor into a bouncy one, even though one feels solid and the other doesn’t. When the floor slopes toward the center of the house, a foundation repair specialist will likely suspect that the center joist is in the basement (or basement).
If the floor slopes downward as you move toward an exterior wall of the house, a couple of conditions may be causing the problem. The ends of the floor joists and the rim joist along this side of the house may have rotted and collapsed, causing the floor to sag. Or the foundation wall may have settled, causing the entire side of the house to settle. In either case, a skilled contractor will need to perform the repairs.
Unfortunately, corrugated floors can be more difficult to diagnose and correct. Sometimes hardwood floors (like regular oak strip flooring, for example) can swell and warp if they get wet from a leak or spill. In other cases, a hardwood floor may become uneven or wavy because the floor itself has not been installed correctly.
Wavy floors can be caused by problems with the mid-span support joist below the floor joists on the first floor. If there is only a small section of the floor that is not level, the problem can sometimes be attributed to a single joist that has a defect such as a crack or knot that causes the joist to bow up or down.
Floors that sag, bounce, or have a wavy or uneven surface affect a home’s appearance, comfort, safety, and resale value. That is why these issues need to be addressed sooner rather than later. An experienced foundation repair contractor is more likely to accurately diagnose unstable flooring problems and provide the most successful and lasting solutions to these problems.