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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    1

    Default Low spots in hardwood flooring

    Hello, I have a couple low spots in my hardwood flooring and am wondering if it's normal or something I should be concerned about? The house was built in 1953 and the floors are original. Before I bought the house the inspectors stated that for the most part the house was structurally sound, they only issue was that one of the masonry supports appeared to be leaning slightly. I've had other people under the house doing electrical work and they even commented on how good everything looked under there considering the age of the house. I'm hoping that these low spots are due to the house settling over the past half century and nothing more expensive.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,598

    Default Re: Low spots in hardwood flooring

    "Hello, I have a couple low spots in my hardwood flooring and am wondering if it's normal or something I should be concerned about? "

    No, it's not normal. How long has it been like this? Is it getting worse?
    While it's true that houses settle, every new condition like you described, needs attention.
    So what to do now? Call general contractors to give you updated assessments of the foundation / footing / masonry supports. Then you can decide what to do to correct this.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,609

    Default Re: Low spots in hardwood flooring

    Be sure to check for termites

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Low spots in hardwood flooring

    Instead of a GC, try calling a Structural Engineer, in which structural issues are their specialty.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,118

    Default Re: Low spots in hardwood flooring

    Don't bother with an engineer, they would be a waste of money here at best, and possibly totally off-base. Many older homes were built with thinner floor joists and wider spans than we are permitted to use today, but that alone doesn't mean there is a problem which must be addressed. Most of the smaller older homes I go under here have 2x6 floor joists with 12' spans common and other than some sag and bounce in the floor most of these are holding up very well 50+ years after they were built. An engineer would likely have you tear them out as unsafe but if a 1/2" droop in the middle of the floor doesn't bother you they will probably stay much the same for another 50+ years. With older homes, the experience of a contractor who knows these kinds of things beats out an engineer most of the time, and that kind of contractor will better know when it's time to call in the engineers. And older homes are rarely perfect in these kinds of things.

    With so little to go on in the OP's post, my best guess is that either rot or insects have eaten away the strength of diagonally-laid 1X sub-flooring where the hardwood flooring runs parallel to the joists, or a joist is failing in these areas, possibly for the same reasons. It's something to be taking care of regardless because it will probably only get worse or spread if left along. And if it's insects that could mean the whole house infested in as little as a couple years after they got a start.

    Phil

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    1,180

    Default Re: Low spots in hardwood flooring

    Hi
    By low spots you don't mean divots caused by furniture legs or a piano?
    Low areas may or possibly may not indicate damage. Some low areas can be the result of a bad framing job. Some from a cracked joist or a differential settling, where the larger part of the house settled and one bearing point didn't or vice versa, where one bearing point has settled while the rest of the foundation held firm. The latter can be fixed by jacking and shimming, and it may be a more or less permanent fix.
    Last, I knew of a case where termites ate the soft wood subfloor, but left the pitch-pine ballroom dance floor alone; the replacement of only the subfloor was quite a problem. The floor felt very spongy over a large area, which was the tip-off.
    Casey
    Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,118

    Default Re: Low spots in hardwood flooring

    I've seen some strange termite damage. One pine floor they ate only the soft grain and never touched the hard. One oak floor they ate the pine subfloor but never touched the oak. A pine on pine was similar but they used roofing felt in between instead of rosin paper so maybe the critters didn't know what they were missing. Some oak and some pine floors they ate several board runs from end to end but never touched adjacent boards. I'm beginning to think they go for whatever tastes best to therm!

    Phil

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,598

    Default Re: Low spots in hardwood flooring

    In time, termites will eat it all, tasty or not.

    That's their job in nature.

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