Sagging floors are, unfortunately, relatively common in many houses. Some of the most common reasons for floors to sag include soil settlement, improperly sized beams, wood rot, and wood-eating pests.
Because there are different possible causes, it is helpful for homeowners to know the cause to be able to seek the right solution. Working with a crawl space professional can help you get to the bottom of the problem and seek a good solution.
Can Water Damage Make Your Floor Sag?
Because water easily seeps into the ground surrounding your foundation, it is one of the most likely suspects where a sagging floor is concerned. The floor joists, beams, and sill plates are all made of wood, making them more vulnerable to water damage.
Crawl spaces might be under the soil line and also have direct contact with the concrete, which makes water intrusion more likely. Water intrusion leads to soil saturation, which contributes to deterioration, making your floor sag.
Is it True That Humidity Can Cause Sagging Floors?
Sagging floors can be caused by factors like humidity and insect damage. High humidity levels are particularly bothersome for joists and beams.
How humidity causes problems by porous wood absorbing water from the air. The water absorption causes eventual softening that leads to wood rot. Decaying wood elements will compress, possibly lowering the floor several inches.
Can Insects Cause Wood Damage in Floors?
Insects, particularly termites, may also damage your floors. Some beetle species, particularly wood-boring types that lay eggs inside the wood, produce larvae that eat wood, leading to severe damage.
How Does Human Error Lead to Floors That Sag?
Recent HVAC, electrical, or plumbing work could account for some of the problems with your floors. The products required for these types of work are sometimes difficult to fit into place.
Contractors installing these components when there is a tight squeeze might cut or notch joists or the main support beam to create space for venting or pipes. The floor will end up with weak spots, which may split or crack eventually.
Can Home Age or Outdated Materials Cause Sagging Floors?
Homes built according to outdated building codes may have structures in the wrong proportions, such as support posts too far from each other or support beams that are too long. Floors may sag because of the stress on the beam, resulting in eventual failure.
When a house was built over 50 years ago, there is a higher chance of inferior materials having been involved. For example, shims installed to even out the floor may have been made of wood rather than the metal preferred today.
The wood used in older homes was also not pressure-treated or pre-treated before the 1970s. Wood without these treatments is more vulnerable to water damage, as well as insect damage.
Another thing that many homeowners don’t keep in mind is that older homes have floors not designed to withstand heavier materials popular today, like stone-tiled flooring or counters with granite tops. If the floor surface is already failing, these heavier objects will add more stress.
Despite the number of reasons for floors to sag, the one thing that homeowners need to know is that prompt action is necessary to prevent further damage. There are solutions available regardless of the cause, but you’ll require the assistance of a professional to make the best choice.
Falcone Crawl Space has the experience needed to address all your structural issues including sagging floors; contact us with any questions that you have.