An uneven floor can be a frustrating problem to have in a home. There are several ways you can fix the problem. Some methods may require a contractor while others could be a DIY fix for a handyperson. An uneven floor may be the result of a poor foundation or a shift in the foundation that causes part of the house to slope. This is especially common in old houses that have had more time to shift.
Fix the Foundation
Of course, if the floor is uneven, fixing the actual foundation may eliminate the problem. Floors that are above another level of the house can sometimes be jacked up by a contractor to even out the problematic areas. This is a big job that will require someone highly knowledgeable, experienced and capable in order to avoid causing additional problems.
Shore Up the Beams or Joints
If there is a sagging part of the floor in between two points across a room, you may have an issue with the joists or beams below the floor. Potential solutions include sistering the joists and adding steel columns to prop up the sagging joists. This should raise the problem areas to level out the floor so you can use the laminate, tile, wood or vinyl of your choice.
You can use hardwood on top of the existing floor, bridging minor waves in the existing floor by a type of floor patch. A plywood subfloor is often the type of layer that will help bridge problematic spots. This does not work well if there are large areas that have sagged or if the floor is on an incline.
A new floor can be created by pouring a self-leveling underlayment compound over the existing floor. Some problems are easiest to solve by smoothing out the whole surface and basically starting over with flooring. A self-leveling compound can sometimes even go on top of the old flooring, eliminating the need for removal. This solution may be ideal for areas with large uneven spots that are already tiled. This is probably the best solution if you are wanting to lay down luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring or hardwood flooring.
Several very long triangles can be used to taper out from a high area to a low point along a wall in rooms where there is an incline. You must first measure the drop and then cut each board the same length with the same incline (unless the drop changes even along the low wall). Once these leveling strips are cut, they will need to be screwed down every 16 inches along the area that needs leveling. A bead of construction adhesive should then be run along each leveling strip and a plywood board should be placed on top and nailed down with a framing nailer.
Choose a Flexible Floor Type
Depending on what kind of unevenness you have in your floor, there are flooring options that would allow you to simply ignore the issue. If the foundation or frame of the home isn’t in danger of collapse, the most economical option will be to use carpeting or another kind of floor depending on how bad the problem really is. Some floors, like large tiles, can actually be adjusted by your contractor with the mortar to even out the flooring issues over small problem spots. Other floors, like small tiles, will be able to go down without a problem, but the unevenness will still be apparent.
Grinding the Floor
Another possible solution is in grinding down bumps or raises in the subfloor. This can also be an ideal solution for floors that have one large hump in the middle of the slab. A large sander can take down the bumps.
To discover the best solution for your individual problem, talk to your contractor. There are a lot of situational issues that a good contractor can size up to find the lowest price for the best solution. Your contractor may be able to help you find the right materials at the flooring store to cut out unnecessary work by choosing a flooring type that evens out the flaws.
Alethea M. graduated from the University of Saint Francis in 2009 with a B.A., double-majoring in Communication Arts and Graphic Design. She has written articles for clients on a vast number of varying industry subjects, such as marketing trends, postsecondary education, industrial products, fashion, home maintenance, real estate, lifestyle, business and much more.