Which Homes Have Sagging Floors?
If you own an old home there is a good chance you have soft or sagging floors because of how the house was constructed. Most old homes with sagging floors were not built on the modern concrete foundation, they are sitting on dirt. If the floor pitches towards the center or stairs, it can be an indication that the house was built on dirt. This is because the house has been settling further down over time.
As a home seller, you are already going to be carefully inspecting your home but those little things that you've forgotten about over time are a big deal when selling. Owners of old homes might learn to experience springy or slanting floors as part of the charm, but they are signs of structural damage.
As a home buyer, look at whether the floors pitch at all or take a piece of string to test the floor's deflection. Make sure the home inspection includes a report of the foundation and joist health. You don't want to get stuck with a sagging home to fix after you've just spent your savings on an otherwise beautiful home.
How Can I Spot Sagging Floors?
First, inspect the problem. Pay special attention to the joists supporting your house, if the joists are wood posts in dirt or with concrete poured around the base, then there is a good chance the joists are rotted. To test this just stick a screwdriver into the post at the floor line. If it feels mushy and nasty those will definitely need to be replaced.
Identifying Soft Floors
If the floor feels springy and spongy when you walk, the sub floor might not be completely attached. Another reason for a soft floor could be from overextended joists; meaning the joists holding the house up are too long and not supported enough.
Repairing Your Floors
It is possible, and preferable, to strengthen or repair existing framing members, like the floor joists, by adding reinforcing material.
- The best option is sistering, bolting identical lumber to the existing member.
- For even better stability you can sister with a flitch plate, a 1/4″ to 1/2″ piece of steel or plywood.
- Using two flitch plates to repair localized damage is also a good idea.
Sometimes these repairs aren't sufficient, so you might consider shoring up joists or beams that were cut, drilled, or notched for pipes, wires and ducts because the improperly drilled ones can lead to sagging as well.
In most cases, to fix sagging floors you will need to use jacks and support beams. This can be a tricky process to try alone so consider hiring a professional foundation repair team.
- New concrete pads with footings should be put down over existing dirt floors.
- Install temporary jack posts and support beams, then place permanent posts and beams over the new footings.
- Create a waterproof barrier between the post and the footing by placing wood posts on metal post supports.
A great way to check your improved floor and amount of deflection is to stretch a taut string across the floor.
Benefits of Fixing Before Selling
Having a professional repair crew like AquaGuard Foundation Solutions repair your soft or sagging floors for you will increase you entire property value. Our company provides warrantied solutions, highly-trained staff, and a determination to make every home stable and safe for living. If you have purchased a home recently and found these kinds of structural problems, don't hesitate to contact us.
AquaGuard Foundation Solutions offers free foundation repair inspection and estimate to homeowners in our Georgia service area. Each inspection is free of charge, and includes an in-person consultation with one of our foundation repair experts. Contact us today for a free estimate.