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Leveling Your Floors

Is a stroll across the floors in your home like negotiating the decks of a ship upon the high seas? If so, it's probably time to consider leveling the floor. Out-of-level floors are not only nuisances to go across, if severe enough, they can also become a real safety hazard.

Out-of-level floors can also cause cracks over windows and doors or make doors and windows stick and tough to operate. Thus, by repairing your out-of-level floor, you may find the windows and doors in your home are a whole lot easier to operate and last longer.

Not sure whether your floor is out of level and by how much? Don't head to the work shop to pull out a fancy level just yet. Simply swipe a marble out of the little tyke's toy box and place it in various locations on the floor throughout the home. If the marble doesn't stay put, your floor isn't level.

The majority of homes with floors "not on the level" probably didn't start out that way. Poorly compacted soil, excessively damp soil, excessively dry soil, and shrinking support posts under the floor are a few of the most common causes of this condition.

Homes constructed on a hillside, on expansive soil (soil that expands when wet), or in earthquake country fall into a totally different group. While some of the fixes suggested in this section may indeed apply to these homes, chances are that the services of a licensed soils engineer and structural engineer will be required to do the maintenance.

If the marble test proves that your floor isn't level, be prepared to venture into your basement or crawlspace to investigate and make the necessary repairs. Unfortunately, floor leveling can't be done from above, unless you are willing to tear out the finish flooring to install a troweled-on floor leveling compound. This alternative is rare and is typically only performed when flooring is being replaced. Furthermore, you'll want to leave this one to the pros because the material that is used dries pretty fast. If you don't know what you are doing, you could end up with a bigger problem than you had before you began.