6 Reasons Why Your Floors Are Sagging
Did you just buy a home and notice that your floors are sagging in certain rooms or certain areas? This may be the case especially if you bought an older home. There are many causes of sagging floors, ranging from construction issues to natural decay. Depending on the state of deterioration, you may be able to repair the floors. In other cases, your only option is to get new hardwood flooring.
Either way, it is a good idea for homeowners to understand why their floors are sagging. Once you know what causes the sagging in your floors, you can then identify measures to fix the issue once and for all. Here are six reasons why floors tend to sag after a while:
1. Improper Loading
The term 'floor load capacity' is the total maximum weight that a floor can support over a given area. Floors are specifically engineered to carry a maximum static load and a maximum dynamic load. This amount can't be exceeded or else it will compromise the flooring structure.
For example, there may have been a really heavy waterbed or pool table in the room, which surpassed the floor load capacity. This excessive weight will result in the floor sagging. The damage to the floor will gradually occur over time.
2. Support Issues
Another reason why your floor may be sagging is due to support issues. The flooring in a room usually consists of long joists, which are supported by a central beam. This beam is supported underneath by posts. It has to support a lot of weight from the second floor of your home, as well as the roof.
A problem occurs when these posts start to rot, shift, or settle. These reasons can cause improper support on the beam, so the floor starts to sag. You may have noticed the floor in is sagging toward the center of your home. This is a good indication of a support issue. Another way to diagnose a sagging floor is to listen for squeaking, see if the floor feels bouncy, or if there is a gap between the floor and bottom of the wall.
3. Infestation Damage & Decay
Infestation damage, decay, and moisture issues can all weaken the floor joists and cause your floors to sag. Does your basement always feel damp? What about your crawlspace? If you notice this, start looking for signs of insect damage to any structural elements.
For example, some beetle species can leave floor joists riddled with small holes. Carpenter ants are usually noticeable as soon as the weather turns warm in the spring, so be on the lookout for them once spring rolls around. If termites are your issue, look for mud tunnels on your foundation or posts. This is the most telling sign that you have a termite issue.
4. Settling in the Foundation
Over time, the foundation of your home starts to settle. This happens typically if your living room is on one side of your home, rather than in the center of your home. Besides settling in the foundation, you may also notice that you have squeaky floors, cracks, or other breaks in the brickwork on the outside of your home. Another symptom might be cracks in the drywall inside of your living room.
5. Improperly Sized Floor Joists
Another reason why your floors may be sagging is due to improperly sized floor joists. In most cases, a floor joist is a 2-inch-wide-by-10-inch-thick piece of yellow pine or Douglas fir. It’s not uncommon for other wood species to be used as floor joists, but these two are the most common.
When the joists are not sized at these dimensions, they may not be strong enough to hold up the flooring. This will then result in sagging. It’s hard to know if this is the issue at play with your flooring. If you suspect this to be the case, it’s best to call the professionals in so they can assess the situation. Flooring contractors can repair any improperly sized floor joists.
6. The Span of the Floor Joists
Another issue with the floor joists may be that their span is too long. The span is the distance measured in inches, from one supporting point to the next supporting point, with no supports in between.
When the span is too long, your flooring is going a few inches without support. If this repeats with all of the floor joists, then you’re looking at many inches of unsupported floor. As you may have guessed, this can be the reason why your floor is sagging.