What is sloping floor? Causes and Prevention

Measurements taken for Flooring

Imagine you wake up in your dream house and go downstairs to get yourself a coffee in the morning. Well, the next thing you know, you trip over yourself and drop your coffee. Spilling coffee all over is one of the few concerns that you need to have when it comes to this situation. Yeah, sure, it could be a bad morning, but what makes it worse is the sloping floor in your home. While it is sure fun to have a sloping floor if you love skateboarding, however, they have no place in your home. One of the major indications that your house has a sloping floor is gaps or wrapped flooring. If you have noticed the same, then here is everything you need to know about some of the causes of differential settlement and some of the handy sloping floor repair options.

What is a sloping floor?

Any inclined floor which does not have an even footing is called a sloping floor. Sloping floors are the result of the settled interior support piers, which are present on the first-floor level. This occurs for a multitude of reasons, such as undersized framing with loads from the above area, low amount of support, or deteriorated framing. Wood-destroying insects are also one of the main reasons why framing issues lead to sloping floors.

Signs of a sloped floor

If your floors seem to have a slight slope then you may feel like there is something wrong. This is also an indication that there is something wrong with the foundation itself. But how do you get to know about this. To understand about the same here are a few signs of a sloped floor that are quite commonly seen.

  •   Uneven, bowed, ramped, flexed wooden floors
  •   Broken or chipped tile
  •   Large gaps and cracks between the floor and crown moulding
  •   Uneven footing
  •   Bouncy floors
  • Visible Sloping or Dipping

These signs mentioned above are quite self-explanatory and are most good indicators of whether you have a foundation issue to you have your average wear and tear which is common for an old house.

Causes of the sloped floor

Sloping floors are the floors that are no longer on a single level. Houses that are built with all the floors parallel to the ground mostly have this sloping problem. Here are a few of the causes of sloped floors in a lot of houses.

Differential Foundation Settlement

Floor sloping can be a sign of differential foundation settlement. This occurs when a foundation settles into the ground unevenly. Differential foundation settlement can be a serious issue, especially in buildings since it stresses the structure and could lead to a lot of structural damage. Some of the reasons why this occurs can be provided as follows:

  1.  Expansive soil – Expansive soil specifically consists of a lot of clay content in it because of which it tends to expand and absorb a lot of moisture. This tends to create movement under the foundation and could lead to differential settlement.
  2. Changes in weather – An example that would convey this reason would be a building being built on expansive soil while there is a drought. When the drought ends, the soil present under the building absorbs a lot of moisture and pushes up on the foundation which then leads to differential settlement.
  3. Seismic activity – It is no surprise that even earthquakes could lead to soil being shifted and hence leading to an uneven foundation.
  4. Deep digging near the foundation – If there is an extreme excavation project near the foundation of your house then it could also lead to differential settlement.

Some of the signs of differential settlement can be provided as follows:

  • Cracks present in floors, walls, and ceilings
  • Wallpaper being torn due to cracked walls
  • Drywall cracks or popping out of nails
  • Windows and doors sticking out

If you see any such symptoms, then you need to contact a foundation repair contractor and ask for an evaluation.

Trouble In The Crawl Space

In a crawl space foundation, the floor slope could be mostly caused by the trouble with the wooden structures that are present in the crawl space. They tend to become non-vertical, have deteriorated joints or beams. Excessive moisture and pests are also some of the major reasons why there could be trouble in the crawl space.

Some of the signs you might want to look out for can be provided as follows:

  • Presence of bouncy floors
  • Furniture tends to shake when you walk past
  • There is a musty smell, which also indicates moisture in the area
  • Mold is present in the crawl space.

 Excess Moisture

Another one of the main causes of uneven floors being present is the presence of excess moisture in your home. Too much water being present could bring about damage to your property. It doesn’t matter whether it is in the crawlspace, basement, or throughout your plumbing system. Common issues mainly include leakage or burst pipes along with broken drainage systems. Look out for any trapped water on your ceiling from which the water could travel down into your foundation. This could also lead to the foundation shifting; as for signs, you might want to check for mould or mildew growth and whether the paint of your walls is coming apart.

 Construction Defects

Not all homes are built in the same way. Sometimes a floor joist wasn’t put in the right way or the wood that had been used for construction could have been subpar. If the floor joists were spaced quite far apart then there would be no ability to hold a heavy load of the floor and its contents which could also lead to sloping. If this has happened then it may take a lot of money and time to get it replaced and get them fixed.

 Ground Settlement

Ground shifting is also bad for your flooring and foundation. Ground soil naturally shits at times, and it is quite common. However, it tends to pose a significant risk to your foundation in the process. Even if your house has a slab foundation, a shift in the ground could eventually lead to a sloping floor. These issues can go to another level if the house is built on compact soil. Buildings also naturally sink over time, which could cause the foundation to slop.

Soil Contraction and Expansion

Sometimes, soil shifts are also prevalent due to severe heat waves or droughts. Dry soil causes a lot of problems for homeowners, especially when dealing with differential settlements. Clay soil is a major problem creator in this scenario. Clay sediments tend to act like a sponge which can soak up water. This will lead to the expansion of soil and subsequent foundation distortion.

How to prevent a Sloping Floor?

Since the foundation is affected by one of the largest problems which is moisture, it is better if the homeowners could get underground water levels under control. Here are a few other ways through which sloping floors can be prevented.

Clean your gutters regularly

Gutters getting clogged can usually lead to overflow and soaking of moisture around the foundation. It is, hence, important to remove all sorts of debris and dead leaves from your gutters at least twice a year.

Install a drain tile system 

A drain tile system is a wonderful way to prevent any excess moisture from being pent up in the ground around the foundation of the building. It consists of a buried perforated drainage pipe that helps collect all the excess water and drives it away from the foundation of your house.

Keep large trees away from the foundation

Large tree roots can especially take up a lot of water from the soil, which can cause voids to be formed under the foundation. If the foundation gets settled into these voids then it could result in differential settlement.

How to fix Sloping floors

The repair solution required for fixing sloping floors will highly depend on the cause. If the sloped floor has been caused by differential foundation settlement, then you would be required to use the underpinning method. Similarly, for each of the problems, there are various fixes, such as the ones mentioned below.

Flooring and subflooring Replacement

Replacing the flooring subflooring parts can be quite expensive, and depending on the extent of the project, the prices can also vary. It is a less serious issue than the other causes of sloping; however, if you do not want to deal with bigger problems later, then you can get it removed and replaced.  

Foundation and crawl space repair

Foundation and crawl space repair takes a lot of work and it could also be quite on the costly side. Foundations can be fixed by installing pliers under them. Supporting the lower portion is very important to get proper fixing for your sloping floors. You could also alternatively add new foundation footers to support the present floor structures.

Improving Drainage

Improvement to the drainage system present in your house where you could install a French drain around your house could fix a lot of sloping issues. A professional might also be needed to fix or repair the floor drains and drain pipes that are cracked or clogged.


Underpinning uses foundation piers, which are either push or helical, to extend the foundation to load-bearing soil. The general installation procedure involved with push piers can be provided as follows:

  • The soil present near the foundation is initially excavated to the footing
  • Next, the steel brackets are attached to the footing
  • The push piers are driven through the brackets into the ground below the foundation until they reach the load-bearing soil present.
  • After the piers are load tested so that they can support the foundation, a hydraulic lift is used to raise the foundation to a practically possible level, and the foundation is then raised while minimizing any damage.
  • After the piers are installed, the soil is replaced.

Installing Crawl Space Jacks

If the sloped floor was caused due to a deteriorated support post present in the crawl space then one of the repair solutions is to remove the deteriorated posts and replace them with adjustable crawl space jacks. Once the jacks have been placed properly they can be lifted up and leveled.


What is the minimum slope for a tile floor?

When a floor is tiled you need to make sure that a minimum of 2% slope percentage has been created especially in showers for drainage to occur properly.

What is an acceptable floor slope?

In general, if there is about half to one inch of sloping on the floor for every 20 feet of the floor, then you might want to be wary of the situation. However, if it is greater than 2 inches, then it will require your immediate attention.

How do you calculate a sloping floor?

The sloping percentage is calculated by dividing the amount of elevation change by the amount of horizontal distance that has been covered and then multiplying the resulting value by 100.

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