Uneven or sloping floors are very common in older homes, and while it’s often a sign of structural damage, it doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker.
|Floor Layer||Cost Per Square Foot||Typical Cost|
|Covering (carpet, tile, plank)||$5 – $30||$200 – $800|
|Subfloor||$2 – $10||$500 – $700|
|Joists||$10 – $60||$1,000 – $10,000+|
Building codes governing framed floors include an allowance for sagging, which sounds bad. But the allowable limit is 1/360 of the span, which isn’t much. Spread over a 45-foot-long joist — if you could make joists that long — that fraction would translate to only one inch of sag.
If it’s hollow, they have been there. Floors should be straight and level, but in old houses this is rarely the case. Some minor sagging is normal, but excessive sagging is cause for concern. … On the other hand, you may see a few quaint angles as part of the charm of the old house.
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.
Depending on what you want and the extent of your leveling job, floor leveling can cost as little as $2 per square foot or as much as $30. If you’re planning on a more luxurious finish and multiple coats, you can expect the price to go up accordingly.
Floor leveling compounds are actually made to go over concrete. Most will work on wood as well, but it’s important to verify that the compound purchased will. Always buy more than needed, as the pour must be done completely to ensure that it levels.
Place strips of plywood across the floor to fill deeper slopes, increasing the thickness of the plywood at regular intervals to correct the slope. For example, fill a 1-inch slope across 8 feet by putting a 12-inch strip of 3/8-inch plywood at the point where the slope is that deep.
|Subfloor repair, entire room||$300 – $400|
|Subfloor replacement, small area||$400 – $500|
|Subfloor replacement, entire room||$570 – $720|
|*Prices based on a 500-square-foot room for entire room, 100-square-feet for small area|
Use Self-Leveling Compound to Correct Subfloor
Wide sags and depressions in a floor sometimes can’t be adequately bridged even by sheets of plywood, so it’s best to fill these areas with self-leveling compound. When mixed with water, the compound settles into low areas and dries to a smooth, level surface.
Leveling the floor is likely the less expensive option (again, depending on your circumstances). It is also typically a faster process. The cost of leveling a floor also depends on what you plan on doing with it. Many people opt to use the slab as a base for their hardwood or laminate floor.
In the worst-case scenario, the floor can completely collapse underneath you. This typically only happens if the floor has been sagging for a very long time and you haven’t done anything about it, but if you don’t handle the sagging home joists, it’s definitely a potential problem.
The most common cause of an uneven floor is from an excess of moisture or water damage. The water can come from a leaky pipe hidden within a wall or groundwater. This water can directly affect your flooring causing the wooden beams and sub-flooring to warp.
Wood frame pier and beam houses provide a convenient crawl space under the structure of the house. … Leveling a house with blocks is enough to scare the most adventurous of do-it-yourself aficionados. Only attempt it if you have the necessary tools, help and experience.
Over time, this foundation can sink, settle, crack, or heave. … Some common causes are issues with the soil, too much moisture, or a foundation that was not done properly from the beginning. House leveling or foundation repair is arguably one of the most important repairs a home will ever need.
You can use thinset to install tile over an uneven cement floor and leave the floor perfectly level. You can also use thinset mortar to level out an uneven cement floor or fill small holes in the floor without installing tile.
“If you’re going to float a plywood subfloor over a concrete slab, and you just want your sub-base to be flat, you could do something as simple as putting dry sand down,” or using pieces of sheet vinyl as shims, says Moore. The same approach will work for engineered floating floor systems.
|Problem||Repair Cost (Labor Included)|
|Uneven Floor||$2,000 – $10,000|
|Sagging||$2,000 – $10,000|
Coverage: One 50 Lb. bag will cover approximately 40 Sq. Ft. at 1/8 In.
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