It's estimated that around 25% of homes will experience some kind of structural issues during their lifetimes. One common sign of this kind of problem is uneven floors, which are not only unattractive but can also be dangerous.
As mentioned above, it's common to find slanted floors in a house more than 15 years old due to the home's foundation shifting over time. However, the uneven floor may be an indicator of a larger, unseen problem with the house.
In some cases, a slight slope may be normal and not cause for concern. However, if the slope is severe or getting worse over time, it could be a sign of a serious problem that requires immediate attention. One potential risk of sloping floors is damage to the structural integrity of the home.
Uneven floors are most common in old homes because the home's foundation shifts over time. For example, it may take about 15-20 years for a foundation to shift and the floors to become uneven.
Subfloor unevenness cannot be greater than 3/16 of an inch over a 10-foot span or 1/8 inch over a 6-foot span. Subfloors must not slope more than ½ inch per 6 feet (25 mm per 1.8 m) Subfloors must be structurally sound.
Although no subfloor is perfectly level, you should always try to get it as perfectly level as possible. This is important especially if you are installing very thin, flexible flooring like luxury vinyl tile (LVT).
The typical costs for repairing sagging floors start at $1000 and can go up to $10,000, with the average rate being around $300 per square foot. But this can vary depending on the extent of the damage and materials needed to get the job done.
Many homeowners and owners of commercial property have dealt with a sagging floor. Floors can sag for many reasons. For instance, they may sag due to the natural settling of your property or building materials over time. However, a sagging floor may also signify damage from water leaks or pests, like termites.
Many homes have floors that are not perfectly level. Oftentimes, a slight slope is no big deal. On the other hand, a sloping floor that worsens over time can be an indicator of a much more significant issue.
Instead, hiring a flooring repair contractor may be the better option, especially when it comes to leveling floors in old houses. Homeowners can expect to pay between $2 and $30 per square foot of professional floor leveling, depending on the required approach.
Use A Self-Leveling Compound
The best solution for uneven flooring is a latex floor screed. It is a powder mix that you can pour down on the uneven flooring and let it settle down by itself. Then you can use the wooden screen to even out the floor.
What Happens if You Don't Fix Sagging Floors? If you ignore sagging floors, it can lead to consequences such as property damage that your insurance company may not cover. It can also lead to injury when someone trips or falls on uneven floors, or even property loss if the damage is great enough.
Average Cost to Level the Floor in a House
On average, you are looking at about $3 – $5 per square foot.
One of the primary causes of uneven floors is foundation issues. If the foundation of your home is unstable or has settled over time, it can cause the floors to become uneven. This is particularly common in older homes that were built on pier and beam foundations.
Living on a higher floor has its advantages. You get better views of your locality, better light and ventilation, and there is lower impact of street-level disturbances compared to those on the ground and lower floors. Higher floors are also usually free from the menace of mosquitoes and rodents (mainly rats).
Does home insurance cover foundation movement or sagging floors? Foundation damage caused by shifting or settling earth or sagging floors caused by rotting floor joists are typically not covered by homeowners insurance. If the damage is caused by flooding or an earthquake, you'll typically require separate coverage.
If you hear rattling every time you walk around a corner, the floors are probably getting by with minimal support. Bouncy floors cause furniture and other items to shake and vibrate due to inadequate support. If the floors do not feel firm, that's a sign the floor joists need more support.
If the floor sags more than a few inches, it may collapse completely, putting everyone in your house in danger. Sagging floors can also cause misalignment of doors and windows, making them harder to open and close. Sagging floors can even crack the walls of your home in extreme circumstances.
A full replacement costs $5,000 to $20,000. If you're only repairing individual joists, expect to pay $100 to $300 per joist.
Forgetting to level the subfloor
The subfloor must be level before installing laminate flooring. If the subfloor is leveled, the laminate planks will not lay properly, causing uneven and unsightly floors. If the subfloor is not level, you can use a self-leveling compound to level it out.
A: Sagging floors are more common than you might think. In my opinion, the most common causes are wood-eating insects, wood rot caused by water leaks, undersized beams and soil settlement.
Solid hardwood flooring has been known to last up to 100 years, while the engineered version has a life of almost 50 years. Both options can be refinished throughout their lives, meaning your century-old floors can still look like new with proper care and maintenance.
After about 10-15 years, hardwood floors should be sanded down to bare wood, resealed, repainted and refinished. PVC floors, with a life expectancy of 15 years, are better off being replaced that resurfaced. Poured Urethane floors—which, like hardwood, last about 38 years—must be resurfaced every 10 years.