Do you have sagging floors? If your house sits atop a vented, dirt crawl space, you may have a structural issue!
- It feels like you're walking downhill on your main floor.
- Floors feel soft, or noticeably sag, buckle or are uneven.
- Interior walls crack from the corners of doors towards the ceiling (may be most noticeable on the second floor, if the home is two stories)
- If you venture through your crawl space, you notice wet, sagging, cracked or buckling floor joists (the wooden rafter "ceiling" of your crawl space).
How to Find Out if Your Floors are Uneven:
Unless your house is severely damaged, uneven floors can be hard to spot. However, there are some unscientific ways to determine if your floors are uneven or sloping. One way is to drop a large marble on your floor and see if it sits still or rolls downhill. While this isn't the most methodical way to find out if you have uneven floors, it still gives you a general idea. The only way to know for sure if you have uneven or sloping floors is to have it evaluated by a professional. Contact the foundation repair experts at AquaGuard Foundation Solutions to get a free inspection!
How to Fix It:
Our patented SmartJacks adjustable steel support system can permanently stabilize your damaged floor joists. SmartJacks are engineer-designed and tested, can support 60,000 lbs per jack, and provide the best opportunity to level your floors back to position.
Causes And Solutions For Uneven Floors
Uneven floors are rarely caused by problems with the floor system itself. Rather, the culprit is typically either moisture penetration or the soil. Vented dirt crawl spaces are readily exposed to the natural elements outside. When it rains, groundwater seepage or wall moisture can enter the crawl space, linger, and create very humid climates (especially here in the South!). All that lingering moisture and humidity can damage the wooden floor joists that support your home above, much like firewood that is exposed to rain during a camping trip. Over time, these joists can start to sag, crack, and buckle, mitigating their structural integrity in the process.
The second catalyst for sagging floors is the soil itself. In Georgia, our homes are built on expansive Georgia red clay. This soil type is expansive, which means it will expand when wet and contract when dry. Thus, when it rains, that soil can wash out and erode. Similarly, during periods of prolonged drought, that soil can dry out, crumble, and erode, like a desert. Once that soil erodes, it will leave void pockets, and void-laden soil simply cannot support the heavy foundation walls or interior columns that are built on to of it. In time, gravity will take its toll, those walls or columns will sink, or settle, into the voids in the soil below, and as they sink, your floors can shift or sag as well, becoming unlevel.
Floors Above Crawl Spaces
The floor joists above a typical crawl space are supported by the perimeter walls of the crawl space foundation, and by a post or column-and-beam framework that extends down the center of the crawl space. Although the perimeter walls of a crawl space can settle or shift to cause floor problems above (such as uneven or sinking floors), it’s more common for the center support system to settle or sag because it wasn’t properly built in the first place. A center post-and-beam support system can also weaken and settle because moisture in a dirt-floored crawl space has caused wood supports to rot and collapse. As crawl space structures begin to sag, the floor above will sag in turn.
Other symptoms of a sagging crawl space include interior wall cracks, jamming doors, and gaps between walls or doors and the floor underneath them.
At AquaGuard Foundation Solutions, we can quickly and effectively repair a crawl space structural issue with our heavy duty crawl space jacks.
Crawl space jacks are adjustable steel posts that will stabilize sagging crawl space structures, and consequently, repair uneven or sinking floors. During installation, we prepare a base of compacted engineered fill at all jack placement points, located directly beneath the main support beam.
We install a pre-cast concrete base on this fill, and then extend a crawl space jack between the base and the beam. Once each jack’s threaded rod is adjusted beneath the post, the weight bearing on the beam is transferred to the soil below. Additionally, this system allows the contractor to push a sagging floor back toward its original level position.
Our warrantied crawl space jacks can effectively stabilize your crawl space—usually in a day.
Settling, Sinking Concrete Floors
Since masonry is more likely to break than bend, concrete floors that are uneven are generally cracked and/or broken as well. If your foundation is settling, it may be lifting the concrete floor as the rest of the foundation experiences movement. There are also times where the slab floor can lift or sink independently of the walls. Concrete slab floors crack and settle when the soils underneath them shrink, settle or wash away. Likewise, a concrete slab will lift, or “heave”, when the soils underneath expand. A concrete slab can move independently of adjacent foundation walls, or along with them. Since settlement isn’t uniform, one section of a slab may be elevated as another section sinks down.
Slab floors that are sinking independently of the walls can be repaired with a slab pier system, shown on the right. These piers are placed in cored holes in the floor, extending down to competent soils to hold your floor in place. They can even be used to lift a slab back to its original, level position. If the floor is cracked and uneven because of foundation settlement, then your contractor will recommend either foundation push piers or helical piers to stabilize the entire foundation. Foundation piers can also be used to lift the foundation to its original position in some cases. Foundation heave is a complicated and multifaceted problem that requires a professional inspection.
We’re Your Local Foundation Repair Experts in GA
To get your foundation fixed permanently, you will need to know exactly what is going on with your home and which solutions will best address the problem. It costs nothing to have a professional help you find out!
Our team of certified foundation repair experts can help. During our foundation repair quote, we’ll personally inspect your foundation issue, explaining what’s happening with your home and making suggestions for repair. Each of our visits comes with no obligation, and it includes a written foundation repair estimate.
To schedule your free quote, call or e-mail us today! We proudly serve Decatur, Marietta, Atlanta Metro, Athens, Gainesville, Cumming, Blue Ridge, Canton, Rome, Villa Rica, Peachtree City, Covington, and all surrounding areas in North Georgia.