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  • Writer's pictureJessica Foster

Possible Issues with Floors and How to Repair Them

Much like a home’s foundation, floors and the overall floor system are crucial when it comes to supporting a building. During construction, floors are designed to be able to withstand assumed loads, but much like basement walls, they are susceptible to various issues. Some of these problems don’t require immediate repair while others do. Knowing what possible problems can occur is helpful in ensuring that your project proceeds smoothly and time isn’t spent on unnecessary repairs. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has guidelines to help customers and contractors know what to expect.

One observation that can be made is a weakness in one of the structural members of the floor system. When this occurs, one may feel a bounce, shaking, or visible sag on the floor. This refers to deflection and indicates that the beams/joists/headers in the floor system are not sufficiently stiff. There are set requirements for structural members like headers and so on when it comes to stiffness and strength to prevent deflection. To fix this issue, whatever structural member is causing deflection must be reinforced to meet the performance guideline. Wooden beams, posts, and columns are more structural members of the floor system that can become damaged. It is possible for these members to be split. This doesn’t always require repair, as columns, posts, and beams sometimes split as they dry after installation. As long as these structural components have been sized properly according to manufacturer’s instructions and building codes, splitting is acceptable. Additionally, some of these components naturally have cracks and do not need repair.

Like basement walls, beams and posts can end up bowed and twisted. According to performance guidelines, posts and beams that have bows/twists exceeding ¾ inch in an 8-foot section are deemed excessive and must be repaired or replaced. Beams and posts that bow and twist below this threshold are acceptable as twisting or bowing isn’t always a danger to the building’s structural integrity and wood tends to bow and twist when drying after installation. As long as these components are still sized properly according to building codes and manufacturer’s specifications, no repair is necessary.

One final observation that can be noted is when an exposed wood beam or post is cupped. If wood is cupped, then the wood is warped where the edges of wooden planks appear to be higher than the center, caused by the presence of moisture. Cups exceeding ¼ inch in 5 ½ inches are excessive according to performance guidelines, and any beams that are cupped above this tolerance must be replaced or repaired. Cupped lumber can happen when the wood dries after installation, and as long as the cups are within the tolerable region, no repair is necessary.

There are multiple observations that can be made about floors and floor systems, but not every irregularity requires repair and some are even to be expected. It’s best to know what problems to look out for and know their tolerances, so that they are repaired when it is necessary. Here at Fine Remodeling, we are your Delaware contractor knowledgeable of the problems that can occur and their tolerances. Not only will we follow performance guidelines, but go beyond so your renovation project is more than just satisfactory. Get in touch with us about your next project so you can be sure it's done right the first time.

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