Thursday, March 21st, 2019 by Kinsey Price
If the floors in your home are bouncy, sagging or unlevel, they often point toward problems in your crawl space that fortunately can be fixed. Soft or uneven floors are not only a nuisance, but also most probably have you worried about how long the floors can support the weight of your house above.
To diagnose crawl space floor joist issues, take a walk around your living space and look for any areas where there is a gap between the floor and interior walls, namely where one clearly sees that the floor is sloping downwards. Also, inspect the interior walls for any cracks and any gaps around the door frames.
And don’t forget to note any doors that are sticking as you open and close them. *A tip is to also look at the bottom of the doors, and make sure the previous owners have not planed or ‘shaved-down’ the wood of the door to help it close. If this has happened, the floor will generally have arced scrape-marks on it where the door has struggled to be closed and opened.
Once the interior is covered, grab a flashlight and look under your house into your crawlspace. You are looking for any wood rot and deterioration of the floor joists. Because crawl spaces are often unsealed from groundwater seepage and wall moisture penetration, excess moisture and humidity are exposed to the wood joists which begin to rot, weaken and grow moldy. Weakened girders and floor joists are thus unable to continue supporting the weight above.
Also, inspect the distance between the existing block or brick columns – sometimes they are spaced too far apart from each other and the top beams become overloaded and sag between the columns. The girder sags with it, as does the floor above the girder.
And finally, find out if any of the columns have a gap between the top of the column and the girder it was supporting. Here in Virginia, the weak, expansive soil often causes the existing columns to sink or settle, and once that happens the structural integrity can be compromised and floors sag.
*A tip for property buyers is to inspect the tops of those existing columns in the crawlspace for ‘shims’. These are thin wedges of wood or metal that have been driven into the crevices or gaps between the existing column and the girders in an attempt to level off the floor above. This is a temporary measure and further steps will have to be taken by the new homeowners to fix the sagging floor.
If you are experiencing all or some of the symptoms mentioned above, you no doubt researched a permanent solution that will lift the floors and walls back to their original position. Look no further!
The option that works best is the SmartJack Floor Leveling System. Once installed, SmartJacks provide immediate stabilization and often degrees of lift. Made of galvanized steel to prevent rust and to eliminate any rotting down the road, SmartJacks can often be installed in less than a day.
Engineered to support large loads, and suitable for large homes and load-bearing wall construction, SmartJacks can be used in conjunction with our CleanScape encapsulation system which protects your crawl space from moisture intrusion and nasty climate changes.
If you've got soft and sagging floors in Locust Grove, Barboursville, Gordonsville, and the surrounding areas, give us a call (434) 299-9393 or click here to have one of our professional technicians evaluate your specific situation, get your home back on solid ground, and restore your peace of mind. Fortress Foundation Solutions brings you peace of mind for years to come.