How to Repair a Sloping Floor
In our last blog, we discussed the signs and causes of sloping floors. Installing jack posts is often the best solution for repairing sloping floors. Sloping floors are a common problem in older homes in Connecticut. Usually a floor that sags requires additional support in the basement. The problem may be due to too much weight on the floor because of a large piano or bookcase, or it may be due to cracking or rotting of one of the supports beneath the floor. Often there are other problems with cracks in walls and doors and windows that jam.
What Are Jack Posts?
Jack posts are commonly used for foundation repair projects. They are telescoping steel posts that are installed in the basement to “jack up” and provide permanent support for sagging floor joists. These strong steel columns, able to support up to 60,000 pounds, have screw-type jacks on the top so that, once in place, they can be gradually be raised to lift a sagging beam.
Is Additional Support Ever Required?
As the jack post raises the sagging floor, the load of the floor is transferred to the floor beneath the post. In most cases the steel plate at the bottom of the post distributes the load evenly across the supporting floor and doesn’t cause a problem. If the underlying floor is set on solid soil and has at least four inches of concrete, it generally does not require additional support.
If the concrete on the floor is already cracking or has other signs of weakness, then a concrete footing should be added as a base. This requires removing a 2 foot square hole in the concrete and digging a hole at least 12 inches deep beneath the concrete which is filled with freshly poured concrete and leveled to the existing floor. The footing should be cured for at least a week before the new post is placed.
How are Jack Posts Installed?
In some cases, only one jack post is required to lift a sagging floor at its lowest spot. In most cases, two posts are required. These combine to support a heavy piece of lumber that raises and supports an entire section of the sagging floor, rather than just a single joist.
Once it is determined that the concrete floor or footings are strong enough, jack posts are positioned directly beneath the joist or supporting beam. Then they are raised every three of four days over a period of weeks until the floor above is at the desired level. It is critical that the posts are not raised too fast before the structure has a chance to settle. Raising a floor too quickly could cause cracks and damage to the walls and remaining structure of the house, sometimes even the pipes. A similar process can be executed in crawl spaces beneath sagging floors.
What are the Benefits of Jack Posts?
Jack posts are designed to provide positive support to sagging, sloping floors above crawlspaces and basements. They can also remove bouncing or squeaking in floors without adequate support. They provide adjustable, supplemental support with an extremely high capacity of 60,000 pounds.
Jack posts have many benefits:
1. Quick Installation
2. Positive Support
3. Cost Effective Solution for Sagging Floors
4. Work well if you are also encapsulating your crawlspace
5. Protected from Zinc Corrosion
6. Large Capacity
To learn more about jack posts as a solution for your sagging or settling floors in your Connecticut home, please contact Residential ResQ for a free estimate on providing support for your sagging floors. Our service area includes Connecticut and some counties in New York and Massachusetts.
Older Homes Often Have Sloping Floors
Many older homes in Connecticut have issues with sloping and sagging floors. In some cases, the owners of these homes put the problem off as a normal part of having a classic house. Although a sloping floor may add character to an older home, the underlying issues that caused it may be a sign of bigger problems.
Causes of Sloping or Sagging Floors
For older homes in Connecticut, the usual cause of sloping and sagging floors is a problem with uneven foundation settlement. Settling occurs when the underlying soil shifts or compacts due to changes in the moisture content of the soil. If your home has floors that sag or slope, it’s a good idea to have a professional builder or foundation repair specialist like Residential ResQ evaluate the problem to determine what is causing it.
If the problem is due to something other than a foundation issue, you may want to contact a structural engineer. He or she will determine whether there is a problem with the structural integrity of the home and whether or not the floor itself or an underlying problem should be repaired. Then he or she will be able to recommend the type of specialist you should contact, whether a flooring specialist, carpenter, or general contractor for larger home rebuilding projects. In some cases, you may need to call more than one specialist to fix the problem.
Repairing a Sloping or Sagging Floor
Sloping and sagging floors caused by foundation problems are common but not easy to repair. Generally a foundation specialist will repair any structural problems first and then fix the sloping floor. There are two primary approaches to repairing the structure. The first one involves jacking up the floor joists and installing supports. At Residential ResQ we repair out-of-level floors by using jack posts. Jack posts are designed to provide long lasting strength to sloping floors above your basement or crawlspace. These posts are adjustable support columns that can hold up to 60,000 pounds.
If the problem is due to a sinking and settling foundation beneath the home, this may require jacking up the entire house and rebuilding the foundation footers. There are several methods for doing this, including using post and beam foundation repair. Because the floors probably sagged slowly over time, in order to avoid structural damage, jacking up an older home should be done gradually over a period of several weeks.
When a sloping floor is simply due to improper installation, the floor specialist may be able to pull up the floor and reinstall it properly or install an entirely different floor. Often the problem is with a sub-floor that has deteriorated due to moisture or been damaged due to too much weight. This is particularly true in older homes where the sub-floor may need to be rebuilt or reinforced to handle the weight of heavier flooring materials.
Residential ResQ Repairs Sagging Floors
Residential ResQ specializes in repairing and restoring Connecticut homes by offering expert services in foundation repair, basement waterproofing, crawlspace repair, and installing egress windows and wells.
If you suspect your sagging floor may be due to a foundation problem, Residential ResQ can repair and restore your home. We use only the highest-quality, American-made products from Earth Contact Products (ECP). Whether you have sagging floors in only one spot, such as over the crawl space, or throughout the entire home, Residential ResQ is prepared to lift and support them so they will be level for years to come. This will also eliminate safety hazards, strengthen your home’s structural integrity, and maximize its property value. Contact us today!
The Allure and Problems of Older Homes
Connecticut has a number of homes over 50 years old, including many that are considered “historic”: which age over 100 years old. Many of these homes offer a certain character and beauty that is often lacking in new homes. However, they often have problems with their foundations, basements, structure, and other systems due to their age. Residential ResQ has experience doing foundation repair and waterproofing in both older and historic homes in Connecticut.
Benefits of Owning an Older Home
There are a number of reasons homeowners prefer older homes, including some of the following:
- Established neighborhood – Many older homes are located in established neighborhoods with long-term homeowners who care about the area. These areas often have more mature trees and landscaping, and a stronger sense of community over all.
- Convenient location – Older homes tend to be located closer to shopping, recreational activities, and places of employment.
- Unique character – Most older homes have unique period architecture. Some include built-in bookcases and display cabinets that make them more aesthetically pleasing, things that can be difficult to duplicate in newer homes.
- Better construction quality – While not all older homes are well-built, many are constructed more solidly and with more durability than newer homes which may be built by cheaper mass-construction.
- Opportunity to build equity – Many older homes offer opportunities for homeowners to update kitchens and bathrooms, finish basements, add attached garages, build decks and patios, and install new landscaping that increases the value of the home far greater than the cost.
Common Problems with Older Homes
Foundation and Structural Problems
Due to soil moisture and erosion, most older homes eventually develop foundation and structural problems. Such problems include foundation cracks, uneven slabs or perimeter foundation walls, corrosion and dry rot due to moisture, and damaged piers, pilings, or concrete support for the entire structure. Signs of failure include wall, floor, and ceiling cracks, doors and windows that jam, bowed or leaning walls, and floors that are not level.
Residential ResQ can repair most foundation and structural problems through repairing cracks, leveling concrete, fixing leaning walls, installing foundation support systems, and installing interior and exterior drainage systems.
Mold and Mildew Damage
Older homes with excess moisture, especially in the basement or crawlspace, can develop problems with mold and mildew. While a small amount of indoor mold is not a serious problem, uncontrolled growth can cause problems in children and adults who have allergies or respiratory problems, including asthma. Mold also eats away the surfaces of wood, drywall, grout, and other porous substances and can lead to structural problems in your home.
Residential ResQ can repair your leaking basement, place proper insulation in your basement and crawl space, and install fans and dehumidifiers to prevent moisture that causes mold and mildew growth.
Plumbing and Electrical Problems
Another problem with older homes is old or substandard plumbing and electrical systems. A pipe failure can flood the home and cause major water damage to the home’s interior. It can also cause mold infestations. The solution is to hire a plumber to replace the pipes. Electrical wiring can cause problems with shocks, short circuits, and fires. Wiring installed before 1960 lasts about 70 years, while newer wiring will last at least 100 years. Hiring a licensed electrician is the best option repair electrical problems.
Once your plumber and electrician have taken care of the immediate issues, Residential ResQ can repair cracks in the floors and walls and other damage caused by broken and leaking pipes.
Lead and asbestos are two hazardous materials that were used in homes built before the 1980’s. Lead, potentially harmful to children, was commonly used in paint before 1978. Asbestos, a fibrous material which contributes to lung cancer and respiratory problems, was used as insulation material until the mid-1970’s. Many crawlspaces, walls, and pipes in older homes are covered with asbestos.
If you have small children, investing in lead paint removal and a water filtration system for drinking water are both good solutions for reducing exposure to lead. Asbestos is only a problem if you plan to tear out walls or floors containing asbestos.
At Residential ResQ, we take proper precaution when dealing with asbestos to make certain your family and our workers are safe.
Older homes may develop signs of termite damage which include sagging floors, pin-sized holes in drywall, hollow-sounding floors, and peeling paint. The best solution is prevention of infestations before they cause damage to your wood structure, floors, or drywall. Ways to prevent termites are to prevent water from pooling near your home’s foundation by installing drainage systems, to remove old shrubs, roots, and wooden mulch away from the foundation, and to seal foundation cracks which provide entry for termites.
Termite damage can be avoided by hiring pest control professionals before you are required to make more expensive structural repairs.
Residential ResQ can also install interior and exterior drainage systems, repair leaks in the walls and foundation, and seal crawlspaces to discourage termite infestations.
Residential ResQ Helps to Preserve Older Homes
Even the most elegant and beautiful home in an established neighborhood may have some of the problems outlined above.
Residential ResQ appreciates the investment you have made in your older home and offers many services to repair and preserve it for years to come. Our services include:
We also use only the finest quality materials from Earth Contact Products (ECP) to repair cracks, settling foundations, and bowed walls. If your home is older or newer, our professional services can repair and preserve it in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. Contact us today!