Keeping the structure of your home in good repair can feel like an uphill struggle at times, especially in areas like Colorado Springs, CO, where the beautiful scenery comes with wet, cold winters and heavy, clay-loam soil. These conditions and soil types can lead to many damaging situations and issues in a home, and they can impact every part of a structure over time. A gap between your property’s flooring and walls is just one of the problem signs that can present themselves when your home’s structure is damaged.
If you notice floor and wall gaps forming in certain rooms, or throughout your home as a whole, then it is imperative that you act quickly and seek professional help. Even a small gap can be a sign of much deeper issues in a home and is likely to grow if you do not intervene and deal with the underlying issues. Thankfully, there are plenty of solutions for structural damage and its many connected issues. All you need is the right help.
Why You Should Worry About Floor and Wall Gaps
The formation of floor and wall gaps in your home may seem like a small issue, but they can have a big impact. These issues tend to be the very tip of a proverbial iceberg, the roots of which often extend to the furthest extremities of a property. While the formation of these gaps can involve many different issues, the same basic principles apply in most cases. Floor and wall gaps are the result of either too much pressure or a lack of proper support.
This means that the presence of floor and wall gaps is primarily a problem sign of structural movement or deterioration. If not promptly addressed, the floor and wall gaps could grow exponentially until the flooring starts to collapse. This alone is a very good reason to worry about their formation within your home.
Finally, even the very smallest of gaps can have an impact on the interior climate of your home in a number of ways. The presence of these gaps will disrupt the airflow around your home and can lead to the presence of drafts and cause temperature fluctuations. This can impact your comfort within the property and even lead to higher energy bills. Of course, what you should be most worried about is what the floor and wall gaps are a problem sign of.
What Floor and Wall Gaps Signify
Floor and wall gaps around a home can be problem signs for a number of underlying issues of varying severity and need to be promptly and properly addressed. While there is often a complex array of factors at work in homes with floor and wall gaps, these gaps are most common problem signs of one of three issues:
Floor and wall gaps in your home are very likely to be a sign of foundation damage of some kind. Settlement and subsidence can each lead to floor and wall gaps by separating flooring from the joists that support it or by causing damage to the walls and causing them to lean, deviate, or bow.
The joists in your property can be damaged in a number of ways, but the most common is wood rot, overloading, overspan, and foundation damage. Floor and wall gaps are some of the most common problem signs associated with joist damage, whether it be localized or widespread in nature.
If the structure of your property moves laterally, even fractionally, then it can cause a lot of damage to the structure, leading to spreading cracks, damage, and even causing deformation to door frames and windows. The formation of wall and floor gaps is just one more example of problem signs that can be associated with this.
It is often the case that floor and wall gaps are problem signs of more than one issue; structural health is complex. This is why it is important to be aware of the other problem signs that can arise in a property that is dealing with floor and wall gaps.
Additional Problem Signs
Any fundamental damage to a home has the potential to cause a range of secondary and tertiary issues. These can be best spotted and prevented with annual maintenance from a local expert. These issues, for the most part, will have associated problem signs. Learning to spot these additional problem signs can be helpful in understanding just what is happening in a home with floor and wall gaps.
Mold formation is one of the most common problem signs found in homes across Denver, CO. When mold appears in tandem with other problem signs, however, it can be a little easier to figure out just what is going on.
At its core, mold is a problem sign for high humidity and dampness in a property. Moisture is one of the basic requirements for mold growth, alongside the presence of spores and organic material. Most mold is benign, but if you see black mold formation you should be careful as black mold can be toxic to both humans and animals.
When you see mold in conjunction with floor and wall gaps, it is possible that they are linked and that both have been caused by structural damage and spreading cracks that have allowed water to seep into your home.
Pest infestations are never nice, and they are certainly a problem sign in any home. Pests are more likely to be attracted to homes that have clear access points for them as well as a generally humid environment.
The pests that are most common around Colorado Springs and Denver are mice, rats, cockroaches, bedbugs, and spiders. Each of these pests prefers different environments and carries different risks.
Cockroaches are undoubtedly the most unhygienic of all the pests that you can find in your home. When you find these pests in a home with floor and wall gaps it is possible that they have entered through cracks in the foundation or walls. If you have rodents of any kind, however, then it is more likely that they have entered through another means.
Standing water is a very bad sign in any home and should prompt you to seek professional help immediately. Depending on the amount of standing water, the most likely cause is either damage to your property’s plumbing system or damage to the structure of your home as a whole. Either can be connected to the presence of floor and wall gaps.
Damage to your property’s plumbing system will lead to far more dramatic amounts of water in your home and is more likely to be the result of plumbing damage and corrosion. The larger amounts of water that they can produce are also more likely to be a cause of floor and wall gaps as a result of water damage and wood rot.
Structural damage like spreading cracks and foundation settlement, by contrast, can cause smaller amounts of standing water (which can also lead to wood rot), but they are more likely to cause floor and wall gaps by separating flooring from its joists rather than as a result of water-related damage or wood rot.
Humidity and Condensation
High relative humidity around a home can be hard to spot, but it is most definitely a problem sign that requires immediate action. Caused by an excess of moisture in the air, high humidity is a common problem sign in homes that have damage to their foundation, foundation walls, or plumbing system.
As well as being a problem sign, humidity can cause many secondary and tertiary issues in a home. Mold and mildew, wood rot, and pest infestations are all more likely in a humid home, plus humid air is much harder to process than arid air. This can lead to a decrease in energy efficiency.
While humidity is hard to track without diagnostic tools, there is one very strong sign that you can look for: condensation. The presence of condensation on hard surfaces around your home, especially in rooms with no faucets or appliances connected to your plumbing system, is a strong sign that humidity has reached untenable levels.
Not all cracks are a reason to worry. Hairline cracks, for example, can be benign as long as they are stable. Spreading cracks, however, are another matter entirely. Spreading cracks are those cracks that are still actively growing and can vary in size. It is their active nature that is most worrisome.
Spreading cracks are a general problem sign, that indicates the presence of strong, ongoing pressure in a home. The nature and source of this pressure will need to be investigated by professionals. It is very common for spreading cracks to accompany floor and wall gaps in a home.
Uneven or Sagging Floors
Your property’s flooring should be firm and even underfoot at all times. If you notice sagging or bounciness, you should act quickly. Sagging floors that are left unattended can collapse over time and be the result of moisture and mold issues.
Floor and Wall Gaps
Wood rot is very common in homes that have problems with dampness and humidity. This is not surprising because wood rot spores behave in much the same way that mold spores do, to an extent. They form in the same way that mold spores do, though there are some key differences.
The Three Kinds of Wood Rot
Wood rot comes in three main kinds that are fairly distinct from one another, though they all perform the same basic function (which is to help wood decay). Brown rot, white rot, and soft rot all look slightly different and attack different parts of the structure of wood. White rot and soft rot are two variations of what is commonly called wet rot. These forms of rot cause the wood to become soft and spongy in texture and will create either a white coating (white rot) or a honeycomb appearance (soft rot).
Brown rot, however, is also known as dry rot. Unlike wet rot, dry rot causes the wood to become hard and brittle, and it will make it look slightly cracked or burned in nature. While all forms of rot are damaging in nature, brown rot is the most worrisome because of the incredible speed at which it spreads around a home. Soft rot and white rot tend to be far slower in their spread and less dramatic in their results.
The Dangers of Wood Rot
Wood rot has many different risks to consider (though it is not directly dangerous to humans unless ingested), but there are some that bear more consideration than others. First, wood rot that gets into the joists and supports of your flooring could well cause floor and wall gaps, but this issue pales in comparison to the fact that it will lead to collapse if left unattended. A flooring collapse not only is bad for your home, but also it poses a very real risk of injury to you and anyone else in your property.
Worse still, wood rot spreads like wildfire when the conditions are right. Dampness, humidity, and an abundance of wooden surfaces and structures in your home will allow it to impact your walls, flooring, supports, joists, and even your roof or furnishings, over time. The more widespread wood rot becomes, the harder it will be to root out and the more expensive the cost of repairs will be.
If you find that joist damage is partly or wholly to blame for the floor and wall gaps around your home, then you will find that there are a number of different repair and restoration options available. The one solution that we do not recommend is sistering the damage joists. This is not an effective process.
What is Joist Sistering?
Joist sistering is a repair process that is most often favored by DIY enthusiasts because it is relatively easy to do with tools and materials that are available in local hardware stores. The concept is to strengthen a joist that has been damaged by age, decay, or structural movement by adding bolstering material. The process of sistering is relatively straightforward and requires that the supporting materials be adhered to damaged joists.
The process generally has just a few steps. Firstly, debris must be cleared so that the damaged joists are accessible. Secondly, the new sister joists must be placed alongside the old, damaged ones and stuck in place with adhesives. The third step is to set them in place with quick clamps. The final step is to nail the sistering material into place and remove the clamps.
Why Sistering is Ineffective
This may sound like a perfectly good idea, but there are some problems with this repair method. Sistering is not so much a repair method as it is a way of buying time. It is almost certain that the sistering material will, over time, succumb to the same issues that damaged the original joists. In fact, the process of sistering may even allow the damage to spread and become more severe.
As well as being generally inefficient and not cost-effective, sistering also can cause damage to joists if it is undertaken incorrectly. If this happens, then you will find that the damage to your flooring becomes far worse very quickly. This makes the danger of collapse more imminent and could result in serious damage to your home or even pretty severe injuries to you and anyone in your home.
It is possible to repair damage to your flooring and walls and close the gap between your floor and walls, but we do not recommend that you try to go it alone. Having professional help is always far preferable when it comes to structural repairs. This is crucial in the case of floor and wall gaps because the underlying cause could be anything from foundation damage to leaning or bowing walls.
The Benefits of Professional Repairs
The first problem with trying to undertake floor and wall gap repairs yourself lies in diagnosing the underlying issues. Deploying the right solutions requires that you understand just what has gone wrong in your home–this is something that requires a certain level of experience and knowledge. After all, telling foundation settlement from subsidence can be tricky.
This is the biggest benefit of professional services–professionals have all the tools, skills, and training needed to make a confident diagnosis and formulate an effective repair solution. Better still, they have access to the best tools and products. This means that you can expect a better quality of repairs from professional services. They also generally come with a product guarantee.
The Available Solutions
There are many different solutions that could help to rectify the floor and wall gaps in your home. Each solution addresses a different kind of problem, which is why it helps to have a professional on your side. For example, if your floor and wall gaps are being caused by localized wood rot or joist over span in your crawl space, crawl space jacks will probably be the best solution.
If the root cause is damage to your foundation, however, then foundation piers are most likely to be deployed in order to provide support and lift. For bowing walls, wall anchors or beams will be the most likely choice. So, as you can see, there is a repair solution for every possible underlying cause or issue.
Professional Repairs from Complete Basement Systems
If you have noticed that there are gaps between your walls and floors, then it is time to contact a professional to have your home examined. This is the only way to ensure that the issues in your home get dealt with fully and properly. The team here at Complete Basement Systems is highly trained, experienced, and has access to the best repair tools and solutions. You can be certain that our team will provide the results you need. Reach out to us today to schedule your free inspection and repair quote.