The perfect home is a desirable accomplishment. Picture waking up in a warm bed, going downstairs for a hot cup of coffee, and then you trip and spill it due to a strange dip in your flooring. Spilled coffee is the least of your concerns. Gaps or warped flooring indicate a below-level issue with your foundation. You may be scratching your head as to how this happened. If you’re left wondering what causes sloping floors in your home, read this guide. After, call a foundation repair team to address these concerns, so your house remains safe and secure.
One of the main causes of uneven floors in your home is excess moisture. Too much water is damaging to your structural integrity. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the basement, crawlspace, or throughout the plumbing system. Common issues include leaking or burst pipes, roofing pools, and broken drainage systems. Look out for broken shingles on your roof, as these can trap water, leading to excess water in your ceiling. From there, the water can travel down the siding and into the foundation, causing ground settlement and shifting. Broken downspouts and gutters can also cause water to run down the siding and result in the same issues. Excess moisture can further attract mold and pests and cause cracks in your walls.
Likewise, ground shifting is detrimental to your foundation and flooring. Ground soil naturally shifts over time. However, it poses a significant risk to your foundation in the process. Even if your home uses a slab foundation, a shift in ground soil can still cause floor sloping. These issues can exacerbate if your home wasn’t originally built on compact soil. Part of the natural phenomenon is due to house settling. Buildings naturally sink over time which can result in differential settlement. Differential settlement occurs when one part of the house sinks lower than the rest, thereby causing unevenness to your floors, doors, and windows.
Soil Contraction and Expansion
Sometimes the ground shifts due to droughts or severe heat waves. As this occurs, the ground soil weakens. Dry soil causes considerable grievances for homeowners because it increases the likelihood of differential settlement. Those who live in drier climates, such as the American South or Southwest, may soon discover this increasingly common issue feeds into their foundation issues. Furthermore, soils don’t only shift over time. They can also expand. Clay, for instance, is notable for triggering foundation issues. Clay sediment acts like a sponge that soaks up moisture. This allows it to expand and change. In doing so, your house undergoes a lot of pressure. Constant shrinking and shifting can take a toll on the structural integrity, which can further lead to uneven floors, cracks in your walls or siding, and sloping cabinetry.
Broken Structural Support
Another major cause of sloping or uneven floors in your home is broken structural support. There are a few common types of foundations used in homes: basement foundations, concrete slabs, and pier and beam foundations.
A basement foundation is the most expensive type but provides the strongest hold. It begins with strong structural walls eight inches below ground level. Concrete footings sit twelve inches below undisturbed soil and below the frost line. From there, foundation walls and cement slabs are poured in to provide durable support. If the concrete has not been poured correctly, or the initial ground survey didn’t account for certain conditions, such as flood risks, this can pose a greater risk to your foundation.
Concrete slab foundations require a flat concrete slab poured as a single piece on the ground. They are cheaper and take less construction time than basement foundations. Concrete-embedded beams run two feet deep around the perimeter with reinforced steel or wire mesh bars embedded within for additional support. Keep in mind concrete slabs shift in cold climates. As the ground contracts or expands, the concrete shifts with it. Also, contractors may need to cut into the slab to access them if your concrete slab sits above or adjacent to sewage or drainage pipes.
Pier-and-beam foundation posts are best for coastal areas. Long pillars—approximately fifteen yards—run deep into the stone and soil. They prevent homes from sinking due to proper weight displacement. It’s important to conduct a soil analysis before considering this type of foundation, or else you risk poor structural designs, which cause uneven flooring and foundation issues.
Poor Structural Design
As previously mentioned, poor craftsmanship can severely impact your home’s foundation. When contractors skimp on the necessary details when building your home, you pay the price. If soil conditions remain up to par and you fail to notice issues with your gutters, roof, crawlspace, or other areas where moisture can seep in, the problem may rest with the original construction of your foundation. Don’t be surprised if you notice warping, bowing, cracks, or bouncy floors. While foundations naturally weaken over time, if your home wasn’t made with sufficient detail to begin with, then you’re already at a disadvantage.
The last major cause of sloping floors is tree roots. It’s almost unthinkable, but nature sometimes has a way of fighting back. Tree roots grow in gnarly ways, meaning they spread apart in various directions. This can contribute to costly repairs for your foundation. As the tree roots expand, they further suck moisture from the ground soil, risking differential ground settlement. Therefore, a good landscaping rule is to plant trees as far away as possible to ensure you don’t risk tree roots disturbing your foundation.
Of course, the best people to call for foundation issues are The Crack Guys. Ask about our level sagging floor services to find out how we can help. While sloped floors may seem like a cosmetic issue, there may be a larger problem you’re not aware of. We have a wide selection of services to reinforce your foundation so you avoid these issues. Whether it’s foundation repair, crawlspace or basement waterproofing, crawlspace encapsulation, floor joist repair, floor support, or poly-rise slab lifting technology, we have it and much more. Call now to schedule an inspection at your earliest convenience.