Sloping lounge/dining room floor

15 Feb 2016
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United Kingdom
Afternoon all,

any help or advice would be greatly appreciated welcomed. We live in a 1930's semi detached. Upstairs floor/bedrooms above the lounge appear to be level, however the lounge is sloping towards the other semi attached to the side of the house.

The sloping begins half way across the room & is approx 5mm lower at the skirting board. The same for the length of the room.

The walls on the inside of our house & the outside do not appear to be cracked or cracking. Though the old rendering around the upstairs bedroom window has blown and on areas of the other side of the house which appear unrelated & just down to wear/tear/ages etc.

Wasn't long ago we had the floor relayed with laminate flooring, slope more noticeable now as was there with carpet before, but with kids ball rolling, can clearly see the roll of the slope.

There isn't a bounce on the floor at all.

Do I need to be as scared as part of me is re a subsidence taking place, or is it possible the slope has been here for years? It was there when we brought 2 years ago, but were under pressure to move etc & didn't get a full structural report.

should I spend money on one now?
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Jimola2016, good evening.

Several things.

1/. No internal or external cracks tends to indicate no dreaded Subsidence? but not entirely conclusive.

2/. have you considered the possibility of wood rot?

If the front to rear length of your lounge is greater than the width, side to side, then there is a very high probability that the floor Joists will span the shorter distance, IE Side to side.

What I am getting at is that the joist ends embedded in the Party Wall, between your property and your Neighbour have rotted, or if there is a so called wall plate [a horizontal strip of timber laid on a brickwork step or parapet under the floor, or indeed embedded into the wall] can after time and the failure of the Damp Proof Course [if one was installed] caused the ends of the floor joists to deteriorate because of wood rot, in so doing. the floor level drops, because the bottom of the joist has collapsed or imploded on itself, or? as above, if the wall plate has rotted the joist ends will simply drop, what you end up with is that the floor level is seen to drop visibly.

The possible shall I call it the Acid Test is that in your post you note that a gap has formed between the Skirting [which is firmly and rigidly fixed to the wall] and the floor level.
This if we consider it is another indication that there is a fairly high possibility of joist end wood rot? and not Subsidence?

If at all possible??? can you get under the floor? or get someone under there to inspect the condition of the Joist Ends and report back? Digital images assist here?

As for repair? a partial lifting of the flooring, cut off the damaged ends and then bolt and fix new, treated joist ends into the party wall, the ends of the joists within the wall should be wrapped in a Damp Proof Membrane of choice.

If you can please let us know if the above assists?

Morning Ken & thank you for your reply.

Very helpful indeed.

No way of getting to without up lifting the floor I presume? Or is it possible to lift only a small part at first to test with cameras etc?

Is this likely if as you mention be expensive works being carried out? One for house insurance or going to then effect re sale like sunbsidence would?

Really appreciate your help.

Jimola2016, Hi again.

Where to start?

Is there an access hatch anywhere in the property? if so use that to access the area of interest, but that depends on the available Crawl Space under the floor, and how agile you are? if it is a possibility? a boiler suit, industrial padded gloves, Etc. Etc. and a Camera not just to prove you have been there but if you post the Pictures it can assist answers from the Board?

If there is not an access hatch? and the rooms in question are now laminated you could look at the possibility of cutting an access hatch in say a cupboard as close as possible to the affected area?

Have a word with your neighbour? they may have a similar problem?

As for cost to repair? that will depend on 1/. Is it wood rot? 2/. How bad? 3/. What type of wood rot? 4/. If it has spread, how far? OK I am really NOT attempting to scare monger but at present there a load of variables in this mix.

As for your Insurer, really sorry here but, all Insurance Policies have very highly specific clauses that completely exclude any claims associated with Wood Rot

Now for a balancing act? in your original post you mention a 5 mm. gap, by fitting the Laminate, plus a bead between the laminate and the Skirting, that combination will [or should have] filled / obscured the gap.
Now for a question? how can I put this? are you sure the gap between floor and Skirting was 5mm.?

You mention that you are under pressure to sell, how about we think about diversionary tactics? by that i mean you place occasional tables, chairs, anything to fill the space and stop a Valuation Surveyor from getting to the areas of floor you are concerned about? or indeed the potential purchaser?

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5mm!!!!! Jeez, WTF are you on about, its a 90 year old house, what the hell are you concerned about exactly?

Guess what, NHBC guildines for brand new houses allow the floors to be out of level by up to 4mm per metre for floors up to 6m wide – a total of 24mm!

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