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Will rotted joints make my home fall?

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ December 13, 2013 ~ No Comments » | Respond to this question

My kitchen floor wasn't level so someone reinforced it for me. They said water is seeping into the side of the home when it rains and the joints are rotted. Will my home fall? And will the reinforcement I had put in help?

-Tiffany

Jeffrey Anderson

Tiffany, I'm not sure what type of reinforcement the general contractor installed, but it should provide some temporary support for your floor system. However, without a doubt the water intrusion issue must be addressed or eventually the problem could cause structural damage to your home. I don't think your home will fall, but it could drop substantially in some areas. When you write that the joints are rotted, my guess is that it's actually the joists. Not only will the water seeping in cause them to rot, which may lead to your floor being out of level, the moisture can also be conducive to termite infestation.

The only way to tell for sure where the water is coming in is to watch when it rains or do an inspection using a water hose. The intrusion could be due to a site grading problem, gutters or downspouts that aren't performing properly, or a leak at the siding. While unlikely, it could even be a roof leak that is gradually working its way down to the floor joist system.

You might want to have a general contractor do the inspection as someone will have to repair any of the floor joists that have suffered damage since the previous fix. It sounds like the problem area is in a crawl space which can be a difficult place to work.

Once the leak has been stopped, it might even be a good idea to have a structural engineer take a look at the joist system. For your floor to have been sloping, it must have already incurred substantial damage. An engineer might recommend that new joist material be scabbed to the sides of the damaged structural components to prevent any future problems.

Lastly, once you're sure there isn't any more water intrusion, I suggest you have the joist system and adjacent areas inspected for termite damage and then treated to prevent any from occurring.

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