Foundation question.....

bgaviatorJune 7, 2014

I just bought a new house, and during the inspection the home inspector mentioned that the kitchen floor had a slope to it, as well as the end of the living room. He showed me when water spilled from the dishwasher due to a bad seal, how the water had made its way down to the end of the kitchen. I asked him if this was anything to be concerned about, and he said no. He did not find any signs of serious foundation issues, just some cracks in the outside brick mortar, which he said is from some settlement, but not to worry because a lot of houses get them and the cracks could be tuck pointed.

I mentioned to him the exposed concrete that is underneath the house in the back right side. He did not act like this was a big deal either, and that it was just there for more solid stability of the house.....but it looks damn odd.....I'm wondering if this house did have foundation issues in the past. If there was, nothing was disclosed to us.

I even had a structural engineer check out the house, and there was nothing he found alarming either. He checked all the doors, and only one of them kind of sticks when trying to shut it.....but it wasn't too bad. A few of the doors in the house swing open/closed on their own I've noticed.....
And now that I know the slope is there on my kitchen floor, I can't stop thinking about really bothers me because now I can feel it and I know exactly where it starts to it possible the foundation for the house was sloped on purpose? Mistake in leveling? or is there definitely evidence of foundation problems maybe? None of the tiles in the kitchen floor are cracked, but I did find a couple of cracks in the drywall above my bedroom door, which is on the back side of the house where that poured concrete is.

The problem is that I'm not really sure it can be fixed.....everything else looks level.....the doors, the trimwork.....I don't see how I could fix the slope in the kitchen, without having to raise up the doors and trim and everything else......

I'm attaching a pic of the concrete I'm talking about, and I will submit a pic of the cracks I found too. Please tell me your opinions of this.

Should I just live with it, or are my concerns valid?

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cracks above bedroom door

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 12:56AM
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How old is the house? The ground under a house is never completely static and the house will settle over time. My parents house was built back in the 50's and I don't think a single thing in that house is level. But it's not going to fall down. I'd assume a good structural engineer would tell you if there were any serious problems. Would be quite a bit of work to try to fix it.. personally I'd just live with it but keep an eye out in case it ever gets worse. Even my 20 year old concrete slab house has drywall cracks here and there and the floors aren't completely level.. but unless you roll a marble on it you wouldn't know. Now if this was new construction I might be a little more concerned.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 12:27PM
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It was built in 99. So it's not that old at all.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 4:01PM
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I did have a structural engineer come out before we bought the house and he was not too concerned with anything he saw. Mentioned the cracks in some of the outside brick mortar and just recommended they be tuck pointed. He did not mention the sloping floors but I'm not sure if it was brought to his attention. I'm pretty sure he saw the extra concrete under the house though. I wasn't actually that impressed with his inspection. It was very quick in my opinion and at first I though he was just going to open and shut some doors and then be done. But he didn't really do a ton, not compared to the regular home inspector.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 4:05PM
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the regular home inspector is a jack-of-all-trades and his job is to inspect the house and all of its systems. the structural guy us there to look at the framing and the structure it self. Often times there's not much to "inspect" for a structural standpoint without making some openings to see the framing because it's covered. Soil cover over foundations, finishes over walls etc.

you don't quantify how out of level the floor is, only that water will run that way. Water doesn't need a lot of slope to make it travel. Both your home inspector and your structural engineer didn't find anything alarming. Unless you have some evidence requiring additional inspection then I say trust their judgment and relax and enjoy your new home.

cracks like show are commonplace in virtually all structures and if the concrete was added for support then it appears to be doing its job.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 4:56PM
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I know this isn't probably the most accurate way of testing but I took my iPhones built in level and have been putting it on various floor areas of the house. The entire house seems to have a -1 degree slope, with some parts hitting -2 and occasionally -3. The kitchen floor where the tiles start to tilt my phone says -2, but it feels and looks greater than that.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 9:56AM
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I wanted to revive my thread to see if anyone else could chime in. I ended up buying a 4ft level cause I wanted to accurately see just how bad the floors sloped. From the end of my living room wall, I had to lift the level 1 inch exactly to get the bubble level. So that's 1 inch off in just 4 ft. I slid the level down to the end of where it was, and I had to lift about 1/2 inch to get level. So now I'm at 1.5 inches off level in 8 ft. Is this really bad for a slab on grade foundation in a 15 year old house? My wife thinks I'm crazy and keeps telling me to enjoy the house, but I can't stop thinking about it. She doesn't notice the slopes like I do, but I've always been more in tune with things than she is.
I had a foundation repair guy come out about a month ago and he used a measuring device. I remember my sons room he was saying was over an inch off from entry to end. I asked him about repairing it, and he said and I quote "if I were you, if it bothered me that much, I would just sell the house". He proceeded to tell me what kind of mess I could be getting myself into if I wanted to level the floors. The doorways would have to be re-cut, and all my kitchen tiles would have to come up and be replaced. He said you could end up getting yourself into a real money pit.
I'm just extremely distraught by this. My house sat on the market for 8 months before we bought it. Myself, including my realtor said the biggest reason the house wasn't selling was because of an extremely steep hill we have in the back yard. And the hill has no retaining wall, which it desperately needs. She said the house also didn't appeal to older people because of the hill, and that it's just a reality that it would never appeal to older folks even if we did put in a retaining wall.
I can't help but wonder if other people noticed the floors during walk throughs, where I hadn't? I honestly never noticed when the house was empty and I was just doing a regular walk through. It's only after we bought it and I was in here on a daily basis that I noticed.
I asked the foundation repair guy how this flaw would have even happened. And he said possibly because our house does sit on a hill, and the landscape is naturally flowing downward from the front of our house to the back, that the concrete just settled uneven. But I can't believe the home builders wouldn't have checked that out before framing even began!
I just hope this doesn't prevent us from selling this house someday if we ever decide to.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2014 at 11:04AM
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I, too, am very very sensitive to sloping floors. And my DH just looks at me like I'm nuts.

Two of the houses we have lived in had sloping floors to some extent, but this one just has a tiny bit of variance at the end of a hallway. Not bad at all. I'm just going to try to live with mine, since it's not too bad. Not like our first house - an ancient 80-year-old bungalow with serious foundation issues. It was so sloped that I really tried to avoid walking on those floors if I could. The other house had a fireplace/foundation issue related to an extreme and prolonged drought. We had to finally have the house/fireplace jacked up and piered to bedrock. A pricey project at the time - $15,000+.

A patch-fix to the surface would probably be easiest for you, depending on what the current flooring is. Removing tiles, laying a new subfloor, and then re-tiling wouldn't be cheap, but it wouldn't be $15,000 either.

Are you SURE your outdoor issues won't cause further sloping to your floors?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2014 at 3:59PM
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I can't be 100% sure that there won't be any further sloping, but I've had a home inspector, structural engineer, and a foundation repair company all come out and all three have said they house isn't moving.

However, I still can't help but wonder if they had an issue in the past, considering the picture I posted of the crappy looking added concrete under the footer. I asked the foundation company about it, and he said we could only speculate why it was done, and we couldn't definitely say it was due to past issues.
We have carpet in our living room, and bedrooms where the floors slope, and the kitchen has the same tile running throughout all the way down the main entry and laundry it would all have to be ripped up and replaced. I found some leftover original tiles in the garage, but there is not enough to replace all the tiles that would be ripped up I'm sure.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2014 at 8:33AM
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.....just looking to see if anymore people can chime in on my issue. My wife says there's no way we should spend the money to have the floors leveled. They don't bother her like they do me. I can learn to live with it.....I just don't want there to be an issue if we ever decide to sell the place.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2014 at 1:28AM
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You'd go crazy in CA. My kitchen water used to run toward center of house. After 2nd quake it runs towards front of house which was handy when we changed the kitchen faucets & that cheap plastic junk under sink broke in middle of night & it made it easy to sweep all water toward the inside door that goes to garage. Used a wide broom & pushed it right out the door. Saved a lot of moping but couldn't wait until hardware store opened to get good stainless steel connections under sink, hasn't happened again & it's about 20 yrs. now. Don't sweat the small stuff!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2014 at 11:18PM
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