How to fix uneven floors in an old house
I'm the kind of person that would be worrying about the Winner's Curse no matter what house I am buying. See our Good Neighbor Policy.
With older houses you never know what you are going to find and how much a rehab will cost until the rehab is done. I have a fix and flip I am working on now that had to have the interior walls stripped because the plaster was crumbling. Drywall replacement is not a huge deal, because you can figure exactly how many sheets you need and what labor will be. In this particular house, the electrical was spliced together without junction boxes.
This was a huge code violation and fire hazard. Since we pulled a permit when doing the work, almost the entire house had to be re-wired after this discovery.
Why it is Dangerous to Invest in Old Houses for Fix and Flips and Rental Properties
This was not the only problem we found with this house after the rehab had started. The roof appeared to be questionable and we were planning to replace it. The previous roofer had covered up the layers by raising the fascia to only show one layer of shingles.
This discovery was not a disaster, but it did add to the labor and disposal costs. Here is a great article on how to determine what to repair on a flip or rental. It is available as a paperback or eBook. Nothing scares away a buyer faster than a house that they think might have structural problems. Uneven floors may or may not be a serious problem, but most buyers will be scared off by them.
uneven floors in old house
Uneven floors can be caused by many issues; settling ground, rotten floor joists, crumbling foundation or poor construction. Many times am uneven floor can be leveled easily with more support and bracing.
Houses settle all the time and over years, a lot of settling can occur. Some old houses have basements, some have crawl spaces and some have nothing.
I had to hope the uneven floors was due to a minor problem that could not be seen and take a chance. Luckily in those cases it was an easy fix that required adjustments of the floor supports, because the ground had settled.
A foundation problem can destroy a house if it is not taken care of soon enough. Usually there are signs of a bad foundation; uneven floors can be an indication as well as cracks in the walls and cracks in the foundation. Hairline cracks are usually not a big deal and common. Water seeping through the foundation can indicate major problems. One of my fix and flips has water seeping through the foundation and my contractor is working to figure out the best way to repair it.Leveling the Floor
He is going to dig out the ground around the outside of the foundation, re-seal and repair it or pour new foundation walls inside. Whatever route he takes, it will be expensive! If you think a house you are interested in has a foundation problem, get a professional to check it out! So the ground floor is level but the next floor up isn't, is that right?
Nope, still wouldn't buy it. About me and my financial wins and mistakes Primm on September 10, Can you quantify the amount of sloping you're looking at? ALL homes have sloping floors just most aren't noticeable.
Some are due to structural issues. Some are due to foundations that settled at some point and are finished settling or not! Some are just due to bad leveling when the home was constructed! Gone Fishing Magnum Stache Posts: Try to get a feel for the cost of a worst case senario and see if it is something you can stomach.
If so, get a top end estimate on this work as well. Are you buying in an area where the lots are worth more than the houses, and people are tearing down and rebuilding? If so, this may help justify the risk, as it would give you somewhat of an out if things are that bad.
I'm almost inclined to say that if it has stood for years, and there is no water or termite damage, then it is probably okay. But I am not buying it If it was easy, anyone could do it! NinetyFour Magnum Stache Posts: Southwestern US days until Freedom!
How To Fix Sloping, Sagging, and Unlevel Floors
So Close on September 10, My Journal Countdown to Freedom: Can you live with the floors as they are? If you can, I wouldn't worry about it too much given what you said about style of house, location, etc.
You can usually stabilize a structure fairly easily - it can get harder and more expensive to reverse the slope if that is your intention. Thanks everyone for their input. September 11, Jack Magnum Stache Posts: When you say the floors are sloping, do you mean they're sagging in the middle of the span between supporting wallsor do you mean that their elevation is different at one wall than at the opposite wall? In other words, the difference between this: The latter tends to be caused by other things, such as foundation issues. I'd be much more worried about the latter.
But your floor didn't sag overnight, it sagged over many years, so you have to fix it gradually, too. If you push it up too quickly, you can cause problems on each end of the floor.
It might take a few weeks, but if the floor is built into solid structure on each end, you can push it up. Using hydraulic jacks — we typically use to ton jacks — push the floor up some in the morning, and wait a little while.
Later on in the day, push it up a little more.
Fixing a Saggy Floor
What kind of foundation do you have? Is there a basement? Single story or 2 story home? Back to Results Views: I just bought a old house in New Brunswick, the floor are uneven. Before I bought the home inspector told me structure, roof and termites no problem. He gave a list of some normal wear and tear.
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