Why are my floors crooked?
The one word answer would be water. Water is dripping behind the gutters causing compaction of the soil and the eventual sinking of the foundation. The more water that collects in one area, the more the foundation sinks in that area leading to 45 degree foundation cracks. This compression of the soil also leads to reverse yard grading adding even more water to the foundation perimeter. The center of the home where the columns and beam are located are not subjected to this soil compaction, and consequently do not sink. The overall effect is the center of the house ends up higher than the sinking perimeter causing the uneven floor problem. Undersized beams and joists and over spanned support columns can also add to the problem.
How to fix this problem!
- Make sure to add gutter flashing. Flashing is tucked up under the roofing drip edge and over the back lip of the gutter. Also extend drainpipes as far away from the foundation as possible.
- Re-grade your yard, that is, treat your yard like your roof and slope the yard and water away from the house.
- Cut back overhanging tree branches to limit moss accumulation on the roof and to encourage solar drying.
- Follow the 18” rule.
The 18” rule!
One, the roof overhang or soffit area of the house should be 18.”This keeps water from splashing back on the siding
Two the distance between ground cover and siding should be 18.” Together with the roof overhang this helps to prevent water from splashing up on the siding causing wood decay and helps to prevent the foundation from sinking and causing bowed floors.
Three, the distance between the siding and fully grown shrubs should be 18”to allow for solar drying. You should be able to walk between your house and fully grown shrubs.
Four, the distance between a finished basement wall and the interior of the foundation wall should be 18” to allow for natural ventilation and drying of the foundation wall.This also gives you an opportunity to walk behind your basement walls and inspect the foundation.
Following the 18” rule could drastically reduce problems of wood rot, mold growth, foundation sinking and wood boring insect damage.