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Building codes dictate that flooring should not depress for more than ¼ inch in a 32 inch flooring measurement. This measurement is taken parallel to the joists of the flooring. The slope, if any, of any flooring should not go past 1/240th of the room’s total width.
You stumbled upon this article because you’re looking for concrete or wood floor leveling contractors near you. You’re in luck because this article will tell you everything you need to know. You’ll know the importance of a level floor which should convince you to hire a professional if in case it’s not currently level.
On this page:
- The Importance of a Level Floor
- Common Causes for Sloping Floors
- How a Contractor will Level a Floor
- Why You Need to Hire a Contractor
- Self-Leveling Concrete Maximum Thickness – And Why You Shouldn’t in Fact DIY
- Cost to Level a Concrete Basement Floor
- How Much Does It Cost to Level a Wood Floor and Replace the Subfloor?
- Mobile Home Floor Repair Cost
- Getting Quotes From Competing Contractors
You’ll also know what causes it so you can avoid it in the future. You’ll also learn how to examine your flooring so you can check whether it’s level or not.
Most importantly, you’ll learn to appreciate the important role that floor leveling contractors play. You’ll know the steps that they do to solve the issue. Best of all, you’ll also find out the best way to find the right professional to hire.
When you get ready to hire floor leveling companies near you, all you have to do is head to the top of this page, fill it out with your information and we will match you with the most relevant contractors in your area that can then reach out to you to hear more, and afterwards provide you with free, no-obligation estimates or quotes.
The Importance of a Level Floor
You have to understand that your house can only be as strong as its foundation, and your flooring structure is a very important part of your home’s foundation. This is why it has to be as strong as possible.
To put it simply, installing flooring over a subfloor that’s not leveled will lead to problems sooner or later. There will be unnecessary movements in the structure and this will lead to gapes and damages. These can be very expensive to repair so there’s really no reason for you not to ensure a level floor. Imagine being careless with this step, only to end up with plenty of headaches later on because the damages start showing and the expenses to repair them keep on piling.
Also, it can be quite an eyesore. It will give an impression that your house is low in quality. People will think that it’s been done by some inexperienced DIYer. You would also feel that you didn’t get your money’s worth.
These things should also tell you to level your flooring if it starts sagging or sloping. Simply put, it can lead to the loss of integrity of your home’s foundation.
Common Causes for Sloping Floors
Poor installation is a common cause for this issue. It’s caused by an oversight or carelessness by the flooring contractor. An incompetent or inexperienced contractor may knowingly or unknowingly slope the flooring beyond what’s allowed by building codes. This is why you have to make sure that you hire a good flooring installer to avoid this issue.
In addition to poor installation, here are the other common causes for sloping floors:
- Bad drainage
Aside from poor installation, bad drainage is the most common reason behind sloping floors. In fact, bad drainage is sometimes the underlying cause of the other causes listed below.
What happens is your house undergoes a lot of pressure that it’s not supposed to handle. This affects the structural integrity of your home. This also includes your flooring structure and the framing will start to fail. This leads to sloping.
- Settling of the house
Settling is actually very common. This is especially true among older homes. If your home sits on soil and it’s not compacted efficiently during construction, your home may start to sink over time. It will drag down parts of your home including your flooring and this will lead to sloping.
- Old age
Settling is not the only thing to worry about among older homes. Wooden materials will obviously age and sloping will naturally happen among older homes. If your home is less than 5 years old, then you need to contact floor leveling contractors to investigate a potential structural issue.
- Problems in the foundation
If your home’s foundation starts to crumble and crack, then of course it will affect your flooring along with the rest of the foundation. This is why trained contractors will always inspect the foundation when inspecting a sloping issue.
- Deteriorating floor joists, floor sill or girder.
These issues are usually caused by the following:
- Accommodation of service lines.
Service lines have to pass somewhere and this is why professionals drill through girders or joists. This sometimes leads to weakening of the wooden material. It can even collapse.
This is why the professional should make sure that the drilled holes are smaller than 1/3 of the depth of the joist. It should also be more than 2 inches away from the joists’ top and bottom parts. In addition, they should ensure that the notches in the center are less than 1/6 of the depth of the joist. The notches at the end should be less than a quarter of the depth of the joist. Also, it’s good practice not to touch the bottom part and the joists’ middle 3rd part.
- Issues in the support posts.
Issues in the support posts will cause unnecessary stress which will lead to sloping. The support posts can get damaged because of rotting, cement crumbling, settling of the post base and more. Because of this, there will be a gap in between the top of the post and the girders. This will lead to them sagging.
There’s also the issue of them being spaced too far apart. This is especially true among older homes. The weight they support increases over time and soon, they will break. This will lead to sloping.
- Natural causes.
Wood has the tendency to bend when exposed to stress over time. This is good rather than it breaking, but will obviously lead to sloping. Sloping due to natural causes doesn’t really require to be leveled unless it slopes past the standards set by the building codes.
- Damages caused by rot, excess moisture and insects.
Wood will lose its structural integrity as it becomes damaged. Termites are natural born enemies of wood, along with rotting and excess moisture.
Examining the Floor
The best course of action is to contact a floor leveling contractor to have the floor examined to check if it needs to be leveled. They have trained eyes and specialized tools to know for sure. However, you can do an initial examination. Done right, you can know if it needs to be leveled.
It’s simple, really. All you need to do is to roll a marble across the floor. If it goes straight, then your floor is leveled. If it rolls downhill, then there’s sloping in your floor. How it rolls downhill will also give you a good idea as to how bad the sloping is.
Obviously, this won’t tell you exactly how bad the problem is. However, it will tell you that there’s a problem, so you need to contact a floor leveling company.
What they’ll do is use highly-specialized equipment to check out the different floor levels. Once done, they’ll have specific figures as to how bad the problem is. Further checking will also determine the underlying problem including problems to the foundation.
How a Contractor will Level a Floor
Some people will tell you that you can level a floor yourself. Yes, you can if you follow the steps below completely and correctly. However, given the years of experience and wealth of highly-specialized equipment that contractors have, it’s better to just hire them.
The first thing that they’ll do is to find out how deep the dip is. They have a long level that they’ll use. They’ll place it in such a way that one end is at the part of the floor that’s leveled and the other part goes towards the sloping part until the lowest point is reached. They will then raise the level that’s on the lowest point until the bubble is in the center, signifying that it’s leveled. They will then measure the distance between the lowest point and the level to find out how deep the dip is.
Here’s how a contractor will level a floor:
- Gather the tools and materials. For the tools:
- Table saw
- Tape measure
- Screw gun
- Framing nailer
For the materials:
- 2 by 10 boards
- Construction adhesive
- ¾ inch plywood
- 3 inch framing nails
- Cut the leveling strip.
The first leveling strip is a long triangle from a 2 by 10 board. The tapering should be from the one that’s not leveled down to nothing. You’d need several of these strips.
- Fit the leveling strip.
The strip will be positioned in such a way that the edge at the top is leveled. This is where the trained eyes of the professionals will help because they can see if the edge at the top is leveled and they will adjust if necessary. This is very important because this will bridge the space in between the old flooring and the leveled surface.
- Cut more strips.
Cut more strips as necessary. They should be the same size unless there’s irregular sloping. In that case, measure and cut strips that will bridge each joist at the cap.
- Attach the strips.
Use screws to attach the strips onto the subflooring or joists. Attach them every 16 inches.
- Install the subflooring.
Attach construction adhesive along the strips and place the ¾ inch plywood on top of them. Secure the plywood in place using a framing nailer.
There you go! You now have a leveled floor.
Why You Need to Hire a Contractor
As mentioned, poor installation can lead to a floor that’s not leveled. That alone should tell you why you need to hire a contractor. Not doing so can lead to poor workmanship. This is not to say that you won’t be able to do it. You can, but how confident are you that you can match the workmanship of a trained and experienced floor leveling contractor?
Before you answer that, consider the fact that:
- They have years of experience.
This is especially true if you’ll hire a licensed contractor because this is a requirement before getting licensed. This means that it won’t be a trial and error process when they do it. They know exactly what needs to be done and how to do it thanks to their years of experience. They’ve done this countless of times.
- They have the tools and materials.
Unless you’re a hardcore DIYer, you’re probably missing a few of the tools and materials. You’d have to buy them, and then end up storing them in your garage for months or even years. If you’re hiring a contractor, their tools come in a package deal with them.
- They can do a better job.
This is what they do for a living. You’re better at your job and they’re better at theirs. You’re hiring them for their expertise and for them to do a better job than you. Unless you want to do this because you want to train yourself so you can be better, it makes better sense to just hire a professional so you can expect better results.
- They can do the job quicker and more efficiently.
If you insist on doing it, you’d have to choose between doing it quickly or efficiently. If you do it quickly, there’s a good chance that you’ll commit mistakes. If you do it efficiently, then it may take you a long time. Hire a professional and they will do it quicker and more efficiently.
- You’ll protect yourself.
A licensed professional has insurance and bond. This will protect him and you. You won’t be liable in case something goes wrong and your satisfaction will be guaranteed.
- You can actually save money.
The money you’ll spend on a floor leveling contractor will be money well spent. You’ll get a good return on your investment because the work will be done and it will be done well. You’ll also get indirect savings. First of all, you won’t be committing expensive mistakes. You can also focus on your work so you don’t have to take off time from work and lose potential income. Also, you can easily find great quotes that can ensure savings on your part.
With these reasons, you know it makes sense to hire a pro.
Self-Leveling Concrete Maximum Thickness – And Why You Shouldn’t in Fact DIY
While the steps we listed above are what contractors normally do, there are other ways for a floor leveler to fix uneven floors and subfloors, such as by:
- Mudjacking or adding a cement mix through drilled holes on a sunken concrete slab to lift it up and level. It involves the use of heavy equipment, so only concrete floor leveling contractors should do it
- Using a grinder to remove the slopes and any high spots present
- Adding new plywood that is installed over the existing but still smooth concrete
- Applying self-leveling concrete over the uneven floor
Using self-leveling concrete is the method that appeals most homeowners who are dealing with this issue. People assume that all they must do is pour the mixture and it will automatically set by itself with no error. There is really nothing difficult about pouring it, right? This is why many forego hiring floor leveling services and do the work themselves.
If you think that this sounds like an easy DIY project for you, you may want to rethink that. While many believe that it will only involve mixing and pouring it, there are so many vital factors that come into play with its installation. Homeowners not familiar with the work may neglect them, which will affect the results immediately or in the future. Among these factors are:
- Kind of self-leveling compound used, as there are different types for specific purposes
- Preparations required on the floor substrate
- Proper mixing, e.g. amount or ratio of water and other materials, the speed of mixing, required consistency, and how long it must be done
- What flooring material will be installed directly over it
- The kind of substrate where it will be poured on
- Weather and temperature requirements for its installation
- Time required for pouring, setting, curing, etc.
- Whether the floor can support the added weight
- Amount of mixture or thickness needed to level the floor, among others
Those who choose to DIY it will often grab the first or cheapest self-leveling compound kit they see, mix it, pour it over the uneven floor, allow it to dry, and think they’re done – easy as pie. Or so they thought.
What they don’t realize is that instead of saving, they will end up spending more to undo the work.
A botched job may mean having a floor that is too soft, still uneven after it dries up, or form cracks in the future. Worse, the cracks will eventually not only be confined to the self-leveled concrete but also on the surface underneath it.
Fixing self-leveling compound mistakes is not as simple as you think. Sometimes, using a grinder to remove the high spots or pouring another layer of compound on top of the first one may fix the problem. But in most cases, the compound will be entirely scraped off before redoing the work, since just pouring again and again can significantly increase the height and weight of the floor.
If you choose to get the services of self-leveling concrete contractors from the start, you only have to pay for the labor and materials.
But with a poor DIY job, you likely end up paying twice the amount for the self-leveling concrete kits and other materials needed for its removal, as well as rental fees for the equipment needed and professional fees of a contractor who will handle its removal.
If you get a pro to do it for you, you can expect the cost per square foot of leveling a floor using self-leveling concrete to be just $1.25 for the materials and between $2.50 to $3.75 for labor. DIY work will likely mean repurchasing the materials every time you make a mistake, so your cost per square foot ends up being higher than that of a professional installation, especially if you keep adding layers of the compound to try and fix it.
But, how thick can you pour self-leveling concrete? This is a question that sometimes pros even have difficulty gauging. It will depend on the type and the slopes present, but it normally ranges from 1/4 inch to 1 1/2 inch.
Although some manufacturers allow a maximum thickness of as much as 5 inches, doing so will increase your expenses. Self-leveling compounds do not come cheap, so using less of it is an economical choice. Pour too much and your floor may not be able to hold the weight, causing it to collapse.
Cost to Level a Concrete Basement Floor
Basements use concrete for flooring because of its durability. However, it does not mean that concrete is completely immune to any issues. Over time, the foundation may shift, roots may grow and spread out underneath it, or moisture issues may develop, like leaks from your heater or plumbing system, these can result in damaged or uneven basement floors.
Not only is this unsightly, it can also affect the structural integrity of your home. What you see as simple cracks will eventually result in foundation issues that will need expensive repair.
If you see cracks or slopes, it is time to call basement floor leveling companies to know the most cost-effective way of addressing this problem. Pros will normally use these methods, depending on the gravity of the issue:
If you are only dealing with small cracks and minor sloping on the floor, using self-leveling concrete can be the best fix. This method is the least intrusive, since the contractor will only pour the mixture above the existing floor after doing some prep work.
The downside is that it takes at least a day for it to set and you must wait for it to dry up before stepping on it. And if the affected section is near a load-bearing wall, you must get the wall lifted first and reinforced before using the compound. Otherwise, the problem will just repeat.
This method, using self-leveling concrete, is the cheapest way of leveling a concrete basement floor, as it will only cost an average of $5 per square foot. This rate covers both labor and materials, but do note that this is ideal only for small sections.
If you recall, mudjacking involves working under the concrete slab. This is done by drilling holes with diameters of one to two inches on the slab, then pouring concrete inside through those holes until the cracked section gets raised up and lays flat. Most contractors will use this method for a basement floor with slopes or has settled, often indicated by large cracks, but only if the slab is between 3 to 6 inches thick.
Because holes must be drilled on the slab, it can leave unsightly marks on your floor. Also, it will not work if the sunken area is found underneath a load-bearing wall. And if the soil under the slab tends to move around, especially during cold weather where it will freeze and thaw, mudjacking may not be the best option for leveling the basement floor.
This method is usually done in just one to two hours, and basement floor leveling companies usually charge a flat labor rate for it that ranges between $350 to $500. In terms of the cost per square foot, mudjacking averages $5 to $11 for the materials and between $3.5 to $5 for labor.
This method follows the same process of mudjacking, but it uses polyurethane instead of concrete and the drilled holes are much smaller in size, typically measuring only 5/8” in diameter. Inserting the foam through the holes also involves a lot of pressure that causes the foam to expand then lift up the slab. This foam will eventually harden and is a much more permanent fix, making it the more commonly used method nowadays.
Unlike mudjacking, foam jacking is less intrusive due to its smaller holes. The foam used is also more expensive, but it is a lot stronger, even capable of lifting load-bearing walls and preventing sagging afterwards that mudjacking and using self-leveling compound is prone to doing. This makes foam jacking effective in all areas of a basement floor.
The polyurethane used in foam jacking costs $20 per square foot on average, while the labor rate is the same as mudjacking, averaging $3.5 to $5 per square foot or $350 to $500 for the whole project.
If the issue with a basement floor mainly involves slopes or high spots, basement contractor companies may just resort to using a concrete grinder to even out your floor. Contractors must do this because if done incorrectly, it is easy to create dents on a concrete floor using a grinding machine.
Traditional grinding is messy and will involve a lot of dust, which can be a problem for those who easily get allergic reactions. Fortunately, there are newer grinders that have dust shrouds that collect dust while in operation, making the job as dust free as possible.
The cost of grinding to level a floor varies depending on the location, but it ranges from $1 to $3 per square foot.
Do note that other factors can also affect the total cost of leveling your concrete basement floor, such as your location, cracks present and their sizes, and accessibility.
How Much Does It Cost to Level a Wood Floor and Replace the Subfloor?
Wood floors can also become uneven over time, and the fix for it will depend on the gravity of the issue.
For minor unevenness, such as due to cosmetic flaws of the boards or planks, wood floor leveling contractors may opt to just sand and refinish the floor. This method will cost around $1.50 to $5 per square foot and is ideal for those who still want to retain their hardwood floors. Do note that sanding can sometimes do more harm than good, and contractors can gauge when this is a viable solution.
If your hardwood floor’s unevenness cannot be fixed by sanding, other methods are needed. To determine the right course of action, wood floor leveling contractors will take a closer look not just at the wood planks or boards but also on the subfloor or floor joists where they are installed.
An uneven wood floor may be caused by issues with your subfloor or floor joist, often indicated by sagging floorboards. These can be damaged even if hidden underneath your flooring material, as most are made of plywood that can become warped or loose over time. Other subfloor materials are also not immune to it; foundation issues will damage subfloors no matter the material.
If the contractor sees that only the subfloor or floor joist is the issue, it must be fixed or replaced first before working on the wood floor. Most wood floor leveling contractors will opt for a replacement of the damaged section because subfloor damage can affect the structural integrity of the floor. But if the problem also involves the foundation, this must be addressed first before repairing the subfloor
The cost of replacing a subfloor will depend on your chosen material but will range from $1 to $7 per square foot. Labor is charged per hour and is between $25 to $30. And if the planks or boards of your hardwood floor were also damaged, replacing them is also a must and will add up to your overall expenses.
If the problem with your uneven floor lies only on the boards or planks but refinishing is not possible, another way of leveling it is by installing plywood over the existing flooring. This plywood layer will act as the subfloor where you can install your new flooring. It may be a more economical option because the removal of the existing floor and prep work needed before you can install the new one is skipped.
Do note that this bridging can add a significant height to your floor, so adjustments are needed for fixtures, such as doors, to accommodate the new height. Installing a plywood subfloor will cost you $22 on average per panel that measures 4’ x 8’, and the labor also ranges from $25 to $30.
Some contractors will also opt to just pour self-leveling compound over the existing wood floor, particularly if the homeowners already decided to get new flooring.
Mobile Home Floor Repair Cost
Floor damage is also a problem for mobile homes, and its repair is a lot more specialized than those done on traditional homes. This is why the cost of working on them is a bit higher, ranging from $2 to $2.75 per square foot and covers both materials and labor.
Also, issues on the flooring of your mobile home will often have underlying causes, such as a weak or damaged subfloor, floor joist, or underlayment or moisture problems. These must be addressed first before fixing the floor of your mobile home.
Getting Quotes From Competing Contractors
Don’t go out and search for contractors one by one. Worse, don’t hire the first one that you find. Getting quotes from competing contractors will ensure the best results.
You can use the free service on our site to get free estimates or quotes from the most relevant contractors that provide such services in your area. Here are the reasons why you should use it:
- You’ll get quotes from up to 4 pre-screened contractors in your area.
We have a database of the best licensed contractors in your area. If you use our service, you’re basically gaining access to this database. You’ll get up to 4 quotes that you can choose from once the contractor feels sufficiently confident that they’ll bid on your project. Yes, you don’t have to go out and visit them one by one.
- It’s very easy to use.
As you can see, you just have to provide a few basic details. These details are needed so we can find you the best quotes from the best local contractors.
- You can get the best quotes.
The contractors in our database know that they’re competing with other contractors when they send a quote. This is why they know that they should send their best quote if they want to be considered for your business. Yes, you’ll be receiving up to 4 of the best available quotes that you can choose from.
Have your floor leveled today, no matter if it’s in the basement, garage or living room. Use our free service to get the best quotes from floor leveling contractors in your area!