Old houses come with many quirks. One of the most common is uneven floors.
As you’re walking across a room, you may notice small dips and changes in the flooring. With carpet, it’s not as noticeable. Unfortunately, as soon as you try to lay rigid floorings, such as hardwood or tile, it becomes a real problem.
On top of that, if you are trying to sell your home, uneven floors could potentially hurt your home inspection. Uneven floors can be a sign of other underlying issues.
If you are selling your house and have noticed uneven floors, it would be wise to fix the issue before you sell. It’s important to check this off of your list when selling, to ensure you get the best possible deal.
Keep reading to learn how to level a floor before a home inspection.
Slants vs. Dips
One important distinction to make before you begin this process is the difference between slants and dips.
A slanting floor is distinguished by a distinct difference in height from one side of the room to the other. The edges of the room are not level with each other and there is a slight slope. This means that your floor could be 1-2 inches higher on one side of the room than the other.
A slanting floor often indicates foundational issues. This is not something that you should try to fix on your own. Foundational issues can seriously hurt the sale of your home, and you should seek the help of a professional immediately.
Fixing foundational issues is not cheap, but it will make a huge difference in the sale of your home. However, dips are often much easier to fixe and sometimes you can even tackle the project yourself.
A dip occurs when all the edges of the room are level with each other, but there are random spots in the middle of the room that are lower than the rest of the floor. You could also have spots that are higher than the rest of the room.
Technically the room is level because the edges of the room are all the same height. However, the dips and humps cause the floors to be uneven.
How To Level A Floor
There are many possible causes of uneven floors. Below are some helpful tips and possible causes that will help you fix the issue.
1. Determine Uneven Areas
First and foremost, you need to determine what kind of issue you are dealing with. Sometimes the slants and dips can be difficult to determine with the naked eye. There are a few tests you can use to help you see them.
A simple way to do this is with the marble test. Simply drop a few marbles in different areas of the room, and see where the marble rolls.
If all the marbles continue to roll to one side, this could indicate a slanting floor. If your marble continues to stop in the same place in the middle of the floor, this could indicate a dip.
Another option is to use a large level. Simply lay the level across various parts of the floor. Run the level in all different directions to help you determine if there are any slants or dips.
If the level continues to show that the floor is unlevel in a certain direction after placing it in various spots, it may indicate a slant.
If the level shows that the floor is unlevel in a localized spot, then it is likely a dip.
2. Figure out the Underlying Issue
Now that you know where the floor is unlevel, you need to check surrounding areas to figure out why it is uneven. Determining the cause will help you know whether you can take on the project yourself, or if you need some professional help.
The only way to know for sure is to get under the flooring and check the subfloor and joists. Things like water and termites can cause damage to the joists and make the floor dip.
If you do find any damage to the joists or cracks in the foundation, it would be wise to contact a structural engineer for further help.
However, discrepancies in concrete floors are often due to the floors not being leveled correctly when they were being finished. This is a job that you could easily tackle yourself.
3. Self-Leveling Underlayment
If you consulted with a foundation expert and no issues were found, you can often fix the problem with a self-leveling underlayment.
The underlayment is almost like a concrete mix. A bag of dry mix is combined with water, and the mixture is then spread over the floor in the uneven areas.
The best part about the underlayment is that it can be used on all different types of floors. It can be used on concrete, wood subfloors, and even tile.
This makes it a quick and easy solution to your problem. Just make sure you are buying the right product for your subfloors.
4. Delaminated Subfloor
Another cause of uneven spots can be delaminated subfloor. This means that the subflooring has warped or expanded over time. Warping and expansion can cause dips and rises.
If are comfortable with DIY projects, you can easily replace damaged panels yourself to help even out your floors.
Having buyers drop out of a sale because of inspection issues can be disappointing and frustrating. Make sure you properly prepare for your home inspection by checking the condition of your floors and learning how to level a floor if needed.
For more help with home inspections, contact us today!