How to Fix a Sagging Floor Above the Crawl Space
If you’ve ever been in a house with a sagging floor, you know how annoying it can be. Sagging floors are unsightly, and can be dangerous as well. A sagging floor means that it has lost support, and it may eventually collapse into the crawl space.
Before you can repair the sagging floor, you need to know what causes it.
Causes of a Sagging Floor
Since your foundation is built on soil, weak soil conditions can cause a variety of structural problems such as bowing walls, settling foundations, cracked concrete, and sagging floors. If the soil under the crawl space is weak, the columns holding up the floor can sink. The sinking column can cause a gap to form between the top of the column and the girder it was supporting. This gap can allow the floor above the girder to sag.
Improper Spacing of Columns
There should be codes and guidelines that a contractor follows when building a home, but if a home was built prior to 1970, the rules may not have been in place. The columns in a crawl space should be spaced a certain distance apart. If the columns have too much space between them, the floors will not have the support that they need. The beam or girder supporting the floor can begin to sag between the columns, allowing the floor to sag.
Weak Floor Joists or Girders
If your crawl space is not sealed, you may have a problem with high humidity and moisture. If you have wooden beams or floor joists, they can soften when they get wet. This causes them to bend, and allows the floor above to sag. Once the floor joists can no longer strongly support the floor, it will begin to feel spongy and uneven.
Signs of a Sagging Floor
Although a really sagging floor is obvious, we hope to repair your home before it gets to that point. Here are some things to look out for before your floor gets really bad.
Check your floor joists for wood rot or excess moisture. Do they feel soft or have mold growing on them? Do they show signs of warping or compressing? These are all indications that your floor joists may not be supporting the floor like they should. Also, while you are in your crawl space, look for gaps between the columns and the girders that hold the floor up.
Inspect your floor. Is it uneven or sloping? A simple test is to use a tennis ball and put it in the corner, it may roll to a low spot that isn’t visible to the naked eye. You can also look for gaps between walls and the floor. While looking at your walls, look for cracks in them. The cracks could be caused by the wall being pulled down as the floor sinks.
Are your door jambs level? If the doors are sticking or you see gaps when the door is shut, they may be being pulled out of level by a sinking floor.
Repairing a Sagging Floor
The steps that need to be taken to repair a sagging floor are not something the average homeowner should take on. Crawl space repair is NOT a DIY project.
If you need to repair a sinking floor, you have to start from the bottom. You will need to get the humidity in the crawl space under control. Installing dehumidifiers and having the area encapsulated will help reduce the moisture level in your crawl space. A vapor barrier will prevent water from entering the crawl space and a dehumidifier will dry out the air that is there.
In addition to keeping your floor joists from weakening, a dry crawl space will prevent mold from going and pests infiltrating your home. Over half of the air you breathe in your home comes from the crawl space, so it’s important that you have clean air for you and your family to breathe.
When inspecting your home to discover the cause of your sinking floor, Airlift Concrete Experts will make sure your foundation is stable. If the foundation is sinking or settling, we can install steel piers to stabilize the foundation, making your home safe and secure.
If the foundation is stable, your home may need to have crawl space jacks installed to support your floor. The crawl space jack is a steel column that will lift the floor joists, keeping your floors from sagging.
Stabilize Your Home
When you repair a sagging floor, you will increase the value of your home and make sure that you and your family have a safe place to live. By taking care of your crawl space, you will have a healthier and more comfortable home. Contact a sagging floor expert as soon as you suspect that you have a problem. The sooner the repair is made, the less it will cost and less amount of work it will take to secure your crawl space.