Sloped Floors

Identification

What are the warning signs of sloping floors? How is the problem identified? How severe are sloped floors? What are the risks?

Homeowners usually notice either obviously sloped floors or defects to finishes. Some less obvious deformations that could be the result of sloped floors include gaps in hardwood floors, doors that jam shut or won’t latch properly, cracked tile, warped or wrinkled carpet and vinyl flooring, or counter tops that are separating from the walls or backsplashes.

Cause

What causes sloped floors? Why does it happen? Any underlying factors?

Sloping floors can be caused by settled interior support piers beneath the first-floor level. They can occur due to a myriad of framing issues, such as undersized framing with loads from above that have not been adequately supported with a continuous load path to the ground or deteriorated framing. Deionized framing can be caused by wood destroying insects (termites or powder post beetles), water damage and rot, heavy interior finishes (tile floors, stone-topped counters or kitchen islands, etc..), or settled slab foundations.
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Solution

How are sloped floors fixed? What methods are used?

Sloped floors are usually fixed by jacking up floors and re-shimming the first-floor girders to the interior masonry piers adding new supplemental supports. We may also choose to replace or reinforce deteriorated framing, or lift the slabs by pressure grout or polyurethane foam which is injected beneath the slab.

Cost of Inaction

What is the potential cost of inaction (financially, physically)? How do sloping floors get worse over time?

Failure to address sloping floors can result in recurring cosmetic damage to interior finishes such as drywall and tile cracks. In some severe cases, neglect can result in structural failure. In many instances, failure to address sloped floors can result in a higher cost of repair than if action had been taken sooner, and the longer people wait, the more difficult it is to correct. If problems are identified soon enough, relatively minor corrective measures can be implemented along with preventive maintenance to help avoid future sloping problems.