If your floor looks and feels like it’s sunken in parts, you’re likely not imagining things, and you’ve got yourself a case of floor sinking. That can happen over time, and there are several reasons it can occur. It’s important to know what exactly is causing the sink so that you can use the right methods to repair it (or replace it entirely, if the damage is severe). While this can pose a significant hazard, thankfully, it’s not an impossible task once you figure out why it’s sinking.
Here are a few common culprits:
- Soil shrinkage
A lot of concrete repair has to do with how the ground underneath the flooring has changed with moisture. That can cause a slew of issues that manifest in damage in the foundations of any structure, be it a home or a commercial building. Changes in moisture can naturally shift the soil underneath, as it expands and moves around, especially if it wasn’t initially padded down properly when the foundations were being laid down.
That said, one of the biggest causes of soil shrinkage is when the fine particles of the soil start to dry. As they begin to shrink down from said dryness, there suddenly becomes gaps between the ground and the paved flooring, making it more prone to structural damage, and yes, sinking.
- Swelling soil
On the flip side, too much moisture can also cause problems. That can cause cracking in concrete flooring and even lifts sections, making others sink in comparison. Certain types of soil are more prone to this because they absorb and trap moisture more, like clay. As they pull water in, they expand and eventually put pressure on the flooring above.
That is particularly problematic in areas exposed to bodies of water. However, it can be an issue if there are any leaks in the underground plumbing or from the walls.
- Rotting foundation beams
Another problematic cause of this would be foundation beams giving way. It is arguably one of the most dangerous reasons, too, as it could cause a collapse of the flooring entirely if not tended to in time. Though other issues could affect the beams and result in cracks or bending, the most common source of the problem is rot.
That is usually the case for basements, and depending on the severity, that might be beyond repair. After all, if it’s already manifesting in subsidence, the rotting may be so spread that simply cutting it out might affect the structural integrity of the beams. For this particular case, a replacement is more likely in order.
Of course, outside factors also come into play as to why these issues may have become exacerbated, resulting in a sunken floor. As part of figuring out the source of the problem, it would also be wise to figure out how to prevent further damage so that you don’t have to keep opting for replacements time and again. Think of soil stability and maintenance. It’s also best to keep a lookout for smaller signs that the floor is headed that path again, like cracks on the walls and joins or unexpected issues with door jams and the like.