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Understanding the Hidden Danger of Floor and Wall Separation

gap between floor and wall
gap between floor and wall
ByMariel McClung
Table of Contents

When we live in a home, we sometimes don’t recognize the small problems occurring behind the scenes. At times, it isn’t until the problem is advanced that we begin to notice the symptoms that have been there all along.

One symptom of bigger problems that are often overlooked at first is a separation occurring between the floors and the walls. We might even consider it to be a case of normal settling in the home, but all too frequently, it is an issue that needs to be addressed, and the sooner, the better.

This article examines the hidden danger behind floor and wall separations. It is not only a matter of finding out what is causing the separation, but it is also about looking at the bigger issue that is likely occurring.

What Causes Floor and Wall Separation?

There could be any number of underlying issues that lead to a separation between the floors and walls, but often, it can be summed up easily by saying the house is settling. This is not a case of normal settling. It is a problem with the foundation.

Uneven home settling can occur for various reasons, including poor soil conditions, improper construction techniques, and excessive moisture in the soil or basement/crawlspace. In any case, this type of settling does not occur evenly across the foundation.

The problem is often referred to as differential settlement, and it occurs when one part of the foundation settles faster than another. As the foundation shifts in this way, it places extreme pressure on the house’s entire frame, including where the floors meet the walls.

Differential settlement is when a structure settles into the ground unevenly.

Do You Have Foundation Problems?

Does this mean that you should start panicking as soon as you see a gap between the floor and the wall? No, but it is a sign you may have a foundation problem.If you see one issue, it’s good to watch it, but if you see progressive issues or more than one symptom, it’s time to call the professionals.

The following is a short list of some signs of foundation problems. It is not an exhaustive list, but the symptoms will likely appear in most homes when foundation problems exist.

Signs of foundation problem

  • Uneven Floors: You may not notice that the floor is uneven visually, but sometimes you can just feel it. That is why many people with foundation problems feel as if they are stumbling or have vertigo when they walk across a room or down the hall.
  • Sticking Windows and Doors: All frames within the home, including the door and window frames, will be under pressure as the foundation sinks. One of the first signs that most homeowners often see is windows and doors that stick when you open and close them.
  • Leaning Chimney: The chimney can be considered a thermometer for a sick foundation. You may see the chimney leaning, cracking, or separating from the main structure as the foundation settles.
  • Foundation Wall Cracks: Cracks in the foundation walls may begin appearing as the foundation sinks. These cracks are often horizontal or stairstep and may originate from a corner of the foundation. If not addressed, they get bigger over time.
  • Floor, Wall, and Ceiling Cracks: There may be other cracks that are seen in the building materials as the foundation sinks as well. Expanding, larger cracks are a red flag, and the cracks may sometimes go across a ceiling and down a wall.

Take note of any problems you may notice around the home and closely monitor them. Discuss the problems with the professionals at AMC when you contact us for a free foundation inspection.

Fixing the Problem Behind the Problem with Foundation Repair

There may be methods to close the gap between the floor and wall, but if you have foundation issues, the crack will reappear again. It is necessary to fix the larger issue of differential settlement in the foundation.

Each job is different, but certain methods are frequently used because they are very effective at stabilizing and lifting the foundation. Here are a few of the foundation repair methods we often use.

Underpinning: This method utilizes push or helical piers inserted into the ground until they reach stable soil. At that point, they are attached to the foundation to stabilize it and can be used to lift it, if necessary, hydraulically.

Crawlspace Repair: If there is a crawlspace foundation that has settled, it can be repaired using various methods. This could include post and pad replacement, using crawl space jacks, and stem wall repair. Crawlspace encapsulation can also be utilized to keep the area clean and dry.

Is DIY Foundation Repair and Option?

There are plenty of jobs around the home that a weekend warrior can do. Foundation repair is not one of them.

In most cases, DIY foundation repair is similar to putting a Band-Aid on an open wound. It may slow down the bleeding but not enough to keep the damage from occurring.

Foundation repair is a complex job that a professional must do. Otherwise, you risk putting your home and family in further danger from additional damage.

In addition, contractors have the specialized knowledge and equipment necessary to do the job right. They can get your home back in shape with minimal impact on you and your personal life.

The first step in determining if you need foundation repair is to have your foundation inspected. The professionals at AMC911 provide such a free service to our neighbors.

We look at the gap between the floor and the wall and any other issue that could help us determine why the problem is occurring and what can be done to correct the issue once and for all. Contact us today for your free foundation inspection.


Mariel McClung

Mariel McClung is AMC911’s Vice President and full-time mother. Mariel studied Marketing at The College of William & Mary and is the operational brain behind AMC911.

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