Few issues can make a homeowner’s heart drop quite like noticing a gap between the walls and floor (or ceiling) of a property. If you have noticed these gaps in some rooms or throughout your home, it is time to call in professional support. These ugly gaps are not just eyesores, they are symptoms of a much deeper issue within your home. The structural instability that can cause these gaps to occur is something you should be concerned about as it is not likely to go away on its own. Chances are it will only get worse.
What Can Cause Gaps Between the Floor and Walls of a Property?
If you have noticed a gap between your floor or ceiling and your walls, there are many potential causes. Unfortunately, none of them are good, but some are far easier to address than others. The most common causes of these kinds of gaps are:
Sinking or Damaged Foundation
Structural instability and foundational damage are the most serious potential causes of gaps between your walls and floor. Settlement, sinking, and other forms of damage can also cause other issues in your home, such as dampness and bowed walls, which will exacerbate the gaps that are already apparent.
Rotting or Damaged Floor Joists
If joists or girders in your crawl space have become rotten or damaged, they will no longer support your floor properly. If this happens, the floorboards will sag and can warp or collapse over time. A gap between the floor and wall is often a symptom of this.
Improper Crawl Space Support
If your crawl space simply does not have enough support columns, your floor will begin to look uneven or tilted and could sag in certain spots. If this is the case, a gap between your wall and floors could be one of many signs. Over time, this could also cause your walls to come away from the ceiling as a result of improper support.
Bowed walls are interesting because while they can be a cause of floor and wall gaps, they are also symptomatic of deeper foundational issues. So, while your bowing walls could be adding to the gaps between your walls and floor, fixing only the bowed walls will most likely not remove the issue altogether.
If you notice any sagging in your floor, a tilt or lean in some of your walls, a damp or musty smell, or gaps between your walls and floorboards, you should contact a professional right away.
What Will Happen If You Don’t Fix It
Many homeowners are under the impression that floor and wall gaps are not issues to be concerned about. This is not the case. If you ignore the issue it can (and will) escalate in several ways. The potential consequences of not addressing this issue include:
- Bowing walls
- Collapsed floors
- Mold growth
- Increased energy bills
- Pest infestations
- Ceiling collapse
As you can see, the consequences can be dire. Thankfully, the solution to most wall and floor gaps can be fairly quick, easy, and cost-effective.
Floor and Wall Gap
Gaps between the wall and floor or ceiling of your property can be caused by many things, but the most common causes are:
- Foundation and Structural Damage
A damaged or sinking foundation can put uneven stress and strain on your property, causing floors, walls, and ceilings to separate from one another as the house slowly pulls itself apart. This may seem dramatic, but the truth is that uneven and leaning walls can eventually collapse, and a sinking foundation can start to crack and come apart over time.
Of course, foundation damage is not the only structural issue that can lead to floor and wall gaps. Damaged structural supports and floor joists, for example, can also lead to gaps between your floor and walls. This can happen because a floor is sagging due to lack of support, or because a wall is losing its ability to support the weight of the structure above it.
- Bowing Walls
Even if you have a generally sound structure, the walls of your basement could begin to lean or bow as a result of intense hydrostatic pressure. If this happens, you could find gaps between your floor and walls in the rooms above, as well as a host of other issues, like dampness, spreading cracks, and mold formation. Bowing walls are fairly common in areas where the soil is particularly absorbent.
Reactive or expansive soils, such as those that are heavy in clay, have a habit of soaking up water and expanding during heavy rainfall. This puts immense pressure on your property’s foundation and walls. When walls begin to bow, they can start to detach from the ceiling and floor inside your home, causing large gaps to appear.
While you might be able to temporarily fix the gaps themselves, this will not fix the underlying cause. It can also lead to many problems, including:
- Collapsed Floors or Walls
First and foremost, floor and wall gaps are a sign of serious structural instability and damage in your home; this alone should make you concerned. Of course, there are more specific problems that can occur when you ignore gaps forming between your floor and walls. One of the most severe potential outcomes of wall and floor gaps is the collapse of a section of flooring, ceiling, or wall as a result of a lack of support.
This is very serious for your property, but it could be very dangerous to anyone in the vicinity of the collapse when it happens. A collapsing wall can be incredibly destructive, as can a collapsing ceiling, but falling through a weak section of floor is particularly dangerous because of the wiring and pipes that you may come into contact with as you do.
- Increased Energy Bills
If your basement or crawl space and attic are not insulated and waterproof, gaps between your floors, ceilings, and walls will allow drafts to circulate. This will lower the overall temperature of your home and make the climate of your property harder to control. As a result, your HVAC systems will have to work harder, thereby costing you more money.
This can start as a very small increase to your energy usage and bills, but as the damage becomes more prominent, you will notice that you have to turn your heating and air conditioning up higher to get the same results. As such, the increase in costs can begin to grow at an alarming rate (as will the potential repair costs).
- This Is an Escalating Problem
If you do not address the underlying causes of these gaps, the problem is only likely to escalate and snowball until something serious, like a collapse, forces you to deal with it. This is the case with all structural problems; whether you are dealing with bowing walls or a sinking foundation, structural problems rarely stabilize alone and never resolve themselves without intervention.
Calling in an expert to assess and repair damage quickly is imperative, because these issues only become more complex, and therefore costly, to repair as time goes by. As such, it is in your best interests to move quickly and ensure that you get the best possible solution the first time around. A local repair specialist will be able to do this for you.
A professional basement and foundation repair specialist is your best bet when it comes to ensuring that you are getting an optimal solution. If you try to fix your floor and wall gaps alone, you face many risks.
- You Might Not Find All Underlying Causes
Issues like this are complicated and often have more than one contributing factor. As such, it can be hard for homeowners without the proper experience to diagnose the causes and issues at work. Professionals, however, can do this with relative ease and will provide a tailored solution that addresses all the underlying issues at work.
If you try to go it alone and implement a DIY solution that only addresses one or two of the causes, you will be putting yourself in a bad situation. The best-case scenario would be a recurrence of the gaps between your walls and floors, as the unaddressed causes assert themselves. In the worst-case scenario, however, the damage caused could be invisible for a prolonged period until the signs start to show again. This will lead to a much bigger repair bill in the long-run.
- You Could Fix the Symptoms and Not the Problem
If you attempt a DIY fix, you could end up simply masking the problem rather than addressing the actual causes of these gaps. If you do this, you will notice that gaps begin to form once again. This could lead to serious repercussions for you and your home, and in the worst case, you could even find that your floors start to collapse.
Of course, fixing cosmetic damage will be a part of a comprehensive solution, but professionals will always prioritize the actual causes of damage first. Furthermore, they will take the time to ensure that the fixes they implement have addressed all underlying causes before moving onto cosmetic repairs. As such, it’s best to let the experts deal with it!
- A Bad Fix Causes Damage
Not all solutions are suitable for your property; if you attempt a DIY fix and install the wrong solutions, you could exacerbate the issue or cause completely different problems that will need solutions in the long run. This will not only increase your overall repair costs, but it could lead you to have issues that would never have developed if you had called an expert.
For example, if foundation subsidence is the cause of your floor and wall gaps and you try to install foundation piers alone, you could end up causing your foundation to crack. This will lead to issues with dampness in your home, as well as make it harder to rectify the original problem of a sinking foundation without complex and costly specialist products.
Solutions for Floor and Wall Gaps
Foundation Recovery Systems offers a range of solutions for each of these problems. That’s why the first step should always be a full inspection of your property. We offer free inspection appointments with our experienced professionals to ensure we can offer every customer the best solution possible.
Most of the time, floor and wall or wall and ceiling gaps are caused by foundational problems. When your home is resting on poorly compacted or unstable soil, your foundation can begin to sink or crack. As it does so, it will begin to pull your home with it, causing stress on the interior connections. This stress can result in gaps between your floors, walls, and ceilings. So repairing the gap itself will not do anything in the long term. Instead, it is necessary to deal with the underlying foundational issue first.
Our solutions for foundational problems like this include:
Push piers are foundation underpinnings used to bolster and support a sinking foundation. They use the weight of the property and a galvanized steel column that is hydraulically inserted into the earth until it hits solid bedrock or load-bearing strata to provide support to your foundation. Only suitable for vertical installation, push piers are best for heavier properties that are sinking but have an otherwise sound foundation.
Like push piers, helical piers are foundation underpinnings that are designed to transfer the weight of a property from unstable soil to a solid surface. They look rather like large screws in design and are suitable for lighter homes because they do not rely on the weight of the property to set properly. Installed below the frost line into competent, load-bearing soil, helical piers can support immense weight with ease. They can even lift your home back to its original level.
IntelliJack™ Crawl Space Support System
The IntelliJack™ Crawl Space Support System is a revolutionary product that makes lifting sagging floors a breeze. If your crawl space has been destabilized by damaged or rotten joists, or it is simply lacking adequate support as a result of damaged or missing columns, the IntelliJack™ System offers a quick, easy, and cost-effective solution for you. These jacks can be installed in a day or less and offer permanent support to your crawl space and floor.
Wall Reinforcement and Anchors
If your foundational issues have caused walls to begin to bow, you will need to address this problem to ensure the gaps do not re-open. If the bowing is mild or moderate, carbon fiber wall reinforcement may be enough. However, severe bowing or leaning in your walls could require the installation of wall anchors. If you need wall anchors, push piers will not be suitable for your home. This can complicate matters and make the repair process longer, but it is not an insurmountable challenge. We know how to deal with issues like these and will ensure your home is structurally sound as well as aesthetically pleasing before we leave.
Why Choose Us?
We know you have many options when it comes to foundation and basement repair services. When we attend to your home, our technicians will assess the damage and make a recommendation based on their experience and knowledge of our products. They will also provide you with a clear written quote detailing the exact cost of repairs and an idea of how long your repairs can be expected to take. There is, of course, no obligation to book with us at this point, but do keep in mind that structural issues like this can progress quickly; if the situation has changed drastically by the time we next attend, our suggestions, timescales, and costs may change.
In short, you have nothing to lose when you choose Foundation Recovery Systems. We are offering a permanent solution to your wall and floor gaps with a satisfaction guarantee and flexible financing options. Our experts service the St. Louis, Kansas City, Des Moines, Springfield and Moberly areas.