Uneven Floors In Old Houses

What is the significance of an uneven floor of an old house?


Your uneven floors are most likely a sign that something is wrong with your home’s foundation. It is not, however, a “one-size-fits-all” problem. Instead, various issues with your home’s foundation might occur, ranging from minor repairs to significant, costly damage. We have already looked at How To Level A Floor, in the article here.

Sagging vs. Sloping


In older homes, floor slopes and slants are typical. Aslant/slope situation is when the floor slopes down one or two inches over 15 or 20 horizontal feet. Except for that incline, the floor could be completely flat. On one side of the room, a sinking base may be level, but on the other, it is not. However, there are sagging or dipping areas in the center. It is more likely to suggest isolated weak places than a bigger structural problem. Foundation problems in rooms with a general slope may necessitate the services of a foundation repair firm or a general contractor.


Over a horizontal plane of many feet, sloped floors may drop a few inches. Even though a slanted floor is frequently even or flat, it is not level. Floors that droop or have dips are different from slanting/sloping floors. For example, your dining room floor may be level from end to end, but there are other sags and dips in between. It’s plausible that your foundation isn’t the source of the problem. It’s more likely that there’s a problem with joists and beams beneath your floor that needs shoring up. In some circumstances, putting down a layer of floor leveling compound will solve the issue.


A guide on leveling a floor in an old house


Considerations for Safety


Other than pouring self-leveling underlayment, floor leveling is a substantial project that can permanently change your property. When embarking on any of these chores, always have an assistant on hand to assist you. Also, don’t forget to protect your eyes.


What You’ll Require


Equipment / Tools

Laser level

Electric miter saw

Rotary level

Framing hammer

Tape measure

Bubble level

Carpenter’s pencil

Adjustable steel columns

Cordless drill

Auger bits

House jacks



Self-leveling underlayment (floor leveling compound)

2-by-6s or 2-by-8s for sistering floor joists

Bolts, nuts, and washers


Fixing a Slanted or Sloped Floor


The foundation footer may have sunk or subsided if the floor is flat. It is an identifiable concern with foundation problems, and some companies specialize in foundation repair. The sill (the wooden component of the house that sits on the foundation footer) may have deteriorated due to rot, water, termites, or carpenter ants.


Install New Footers


The house is jacked up and will place new footers.

It will take time to jack up a home using 20-ton house jacks; you will not be able to jack up a house in a single day.

Instead, it must be gradually increased over days or even weeks.


Jack must be removed.


Remove the jack after some time has passed and re-level or stabilize it.

Uneven Floors in Old Houses

Repairing a Sagging and Dipping Floor


These are some options for repairing a sagging or dipping floor.


Pour a layer of self-leveling underlayment on the floor.


In the issue area, apply self-leveling underlayment. For example, a compound can fix sags and dips up to 1 1/2 inches deep.


Sister the Joists


If you have access to a basement or crawlspace, you can jack up sagging joists until they are level, then sister them to keep them straight after the jacks are removed. Sistering is the technique of joining two boards together using bolts, nuts, and washers so that the new board supports or corrects the other, weaker one.


Keep the Joists in Place


To keep the joists held up, place adjustable steel columns under them. The base of the column must be attached to the basement floor, and we must secure the column’s top to the joist for this steel column fix to work.


Install new hardwood flooring


Another fix-it approach is to lay down new hardwood over the existing floor on the upper side. A plywood flooring will help bridge any slight sags in the existing base, as will leveling compound. You’ll need to double-check that your joists can withstand the additional weight of the plywood flooring and any floor coverings. You can sister the posts below and add a few adjustable columns to help the joists fight the extra weight.

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