Written by Dale Richardson - Updated: June 23, 2023
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Spooked by a spongy kitchen floor? We explain what is happening and what your options are.
When a kitchen floor feels bouncy, the three main causes are joist issues, foundation settlement, and moisture problems in the basement or crawlspace.
You might be wondering if your floor is on the verge of collapse. After all, no floor is supposed to feel bouncy! Here’s the truth about your trampoline-like kitchen and what you can do about it.
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A healthy floor is a steady floor. Unfortunately, hardwood floors are prone to a rather odd problem. Making your way over to the kettle can feel like you are traversing a sponge or walking the plank on a pirate ship.
So what causes floorboards to lose their stability and go wonky with every step? Here are the main 3 reasons.
While joists and subflooring can be a problem in new houses, this is more an issue with older homes. How so? Most new homes have a tighter design for floors. This basically means that there is less space between joists, beams, and other support structures. Older homes tend to have wider areas between these, which then can lead to bouncy floors.
Here are the top 4 reasons why your home creaks (floorboards included).
There is no reason why you cannot fix this yourself. However, this requires some proficiency in carpentry and you will need the help of at least one other person. Especially if you plan on adding more joists. That being said, you can also enlist the help of a reputable repair guy who can quickly assess the reason why your floor is bouncy and fix it.
Heck, yes. When the subfloor is not securely fitted to the joists, it can most certainly produce a wobbly floor! The problem can be fixed by using decking screws to tighten the subfloor and joists together again.
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Let’s first dive into what foundation settlement is.
Foundation settlement is considered a normal process (at first). A new house must adjust to soil settling and a degree of sinking is to be expected. When things are normal, this process eventually halts on its own and causes no damage to the building. But sometimes, things go wrong and the settlement either refuses to stop and/or causes structural problems.
Settlement can cause your kitchen floor to become bouncy in several ways. Perhaps it compromised the integrity of the supporting beams or joists. But whatever happened, all causes remove the necessary support that a floor needs to stay steady.
The following list contains the most common warning signs.
We are looking at a major structural problem. This needs the attention of a professional repair company. Their experience in the field will allow them to correctly identify the degree of settlement, what the scope of the damage is, and then provide you with options to fix your home.
This is not a good idea. When settlement behaves in a way that causes physical damage to the home, nothing about it is normal and it won’t likely stop on its own. The settlement will continue to crack and dislodge parts of the house over time. Needless to say, the longer you wait the more repairs and costs are required to salvage the house. Gone too far, foundation settlement can also drastically reduce the value of your home. This could be a big problem if you plan to sell your house in the future.
An excess amount of moisture is never a good thing, no matter where in the home it manifests. But it can be a headache when it affects the kitchen so badly that your floor wobbles underfoot. One of the most common ways that moisture affects the kitchen floor is when the basement or crawl space underneath the room is too damp.
When damp from a basement crawls upwards to the kitchen, it can make the floor wobbly due to rotting wood and supports, separation from the underfloor, and warping floorboards or joists.
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By the time your kitchen floor is bouncy, the damp problem has already gone too far to be fixed with most DIY solutions. Similar to a settling foundation, you need to have your basement or crawl space as well as the kitchen inspected by a professional. Once they know the extent of the damp and damage, they can advise you on the next steps.
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