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  1. #1
    WRPTex's Avatar
    WRPTex Guest

    Default Second floor uneven

    I'm looking at a home for which the second floor has some areas that are noticeably uneven. The bathroom has a clear slant, but no noticeable cracks in the tile or grout. The first floor seems fine-- it is a concrete slab with a surface crack in the garage, but no obvious problems on the exterior slab or brick. How typical is this and might it be part of a larger structural problem?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Rockwall Texas
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    Default Re: Second floor uneven

    Without seeing it, it is hard and unfair to you to make such an assumption.

    You should hire a Home Inspector to inspect the structure and condition of the home so you can decide to go further with the home or not.

    rick


  3. #3
    WRPTex's Avatar
    WRPTex Guest

    Default Re: Second floor uneven

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Without seeing it, it is hard and unfair to you to make such an assumption.

    You should hire a Home Inspector to inspect the structure and condition of the home so you can decide to go further with the home or not.

    rick
    Thanks. l plan to, but was just wondering about the possible reasons folks had seen.


  4. #4
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Second floor uneven

    How old is the house?


  5. #5
    Jim Hime's Avatar
    Jim Hime Guest

    Default Re: Second floor uneven

    You did not mention what the slope was.

    "It is hard to diagnose the patient over the phone" but I'll give this a shot because you really need to hire an inspector with a construction background and is hopefully code certified IMO. I say that because most people will not complain but you have taken the initiative to post on this forum so that means you feel strongly about the floor.

    When I come across unlevel sub-floors I first put a level on it to see which way and how much the slope is. If significant, I'll get my ladder and sight across the ceiling below and/or put a level on the ceiling. The slope usually goes towards a wall. You can also have slope if a combination of engineered joists are used with what you would call real lumber joists as they are of different dimensions.

    It's not uncommon to find slopes in production built housing. It is built out-of-level and not from differential movement that caused it to become out of level.

    If you think it is from a warped structural member then the length divided by 360 is your initial tolerance. (Again you still need an experienced inspector to offer an opinion as there may be other factors present.)

    I see you are in Texas so if the Texas Residential Construction Commission was still around which created (copied) performance and building standards then the sub-floor tolerance is limited to 3/8th of a inch in any 32-inch direction. [TRCC 304.11(c)(3)] The TRCC ceased to exist August 31, 2010 and the state pushed the TRCC delete button the next day. The standards used also came from the National Assn. of Home Builders standards. If your builder is a member of the national association of home builders you could get a copy of the standards from them and ask your home builder to comply with their association standards.

    Residential Construction Performance Guidelines, Fourth Edition, Contractor & Consumer COMBO by National Association of Home Builders | Sold by BuilderBooks.com, the official web site of The National Association of Home Builders NAHB

    In the real world your builder will do nothing. When the builder says it's within tolerance then ask for a print copy of the tolerance reference he is referring to. All standards have to be in writing (aka: IRC R102.4) You'll never get one but at least you tried. If you still want to play then ask your builder to get a letter from a engineer under IRC R301.1.3. This code section deals with something that is not conventional or exceed the limits of the code and then requires engineering analysis.

    If it really bothers you then you have a personal responsibility to decide whether to buy or not. If you think when you sell another inspector may catch it and then write it up then you have a decision to make.

    If it's bad then another recourse is handing a lawyer a $5,000 check to get started and then keep feeding him until you realize what the real cost of saber rattling is. Your lawyer will warn you there is little he can do with most builder arbitration contracts (in Texas).

    If you don't want the house then you stand to lose whatever you have put into it. I've seen builders sue buyers for failing to comply with the contract which means they intend for you to close on the house regardless of what your thoughts are.

    Hire yourself a construction inspector. There's usually a whole lot more than a floor slope to worry about in production housing.


  6. #6
    WRPTex's Avatar
    WRPTex Guest

    Default Re: Second floor uneven

    Thanks for the reply. The house is pre-existing, built at the price peak of 2007, and it looks to be a pretty good deal assuming there are no significant issues. I can live with the degree of slope (actually I notice the slope in bathroom with the tile floor, in the adjacent BR it is more like a slight drop immediately inside the door. I don't really notice a problem in other upstairs rooms.) But I will have it inspected. Just wondering if folks have seen this and found it to part of a bigger issue and, if so, what other signs to look for.


  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Second floor uneven

    The plumber probably cut a few joists to install the toilet and the tub trap.

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
    'Whizzing & pasting & pooting through the day (Ronnie helping Kenny helping burn his poots away!) (FZ)

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Second floor uneven

    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Miller View Post
    The plumber probably cut a few joists to install the toilet and the tub trap.
    Or framing which was cut too short.

    Or framing which was not cut to fit tight and the load has compressed the joints more tightly together.

    Or ... (too many things it could be to try to list them all here).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
    Jim Hime's Avatar
    Jim Hime Guest

    Default Re: Second floor uneven

    Quote Originally Posted by WRPTex View Post
    Thanks for the reply. The house is pre-existing, built at the price peak of 2007, and it looks to be a pretty good deal assuming there are no significant issues. I can live with the degree of slope (actually I notice the slope in bathroom with the tile floor, in the adjacent BR it is more like a slight drop immediately inside the door. I don't really notice a problem in other upstairs rooms.) But I will have it inspected. Just wondering if folks have seen this and found it to part of a bigger issue and, if so, what other signs to look for.

    I see that slope a few times a year. It's built in. What other signs to look for? There's hundreds but I'm not there looking at the floor. Get it inspected. Your first sentence indicates you do not own the property and are looking at it in order to make an offer to purchase. You need to be at the full inspection if you get it inspected.


  10. #10
    chris davies's Avatar
    chris davies Guest

    Default Re: Second floor uneven

    We had a home built ten years ago and the structure sat 'blacked in' for a month during the summer. Plenty of rain fell and the result is a second floor with a few noticeable spots with significant bows in the floor. The OBS took on some serious water and warped as a result. Just my two cents.


  11. #11
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Second floor uneven

    Yes, you need the home inspected by a home inspector. If he sees nothing directly then the next step would be a foundation company to take measurements all around the first floor. He can tell you of high points and low points and the total amount of movement and what may need to be done if anything. The next step if he finds nothing significant would be to pay for an engineer. They will tell you of loads and such and he will review plans if he can get to them. The sizing of lumber or manufactured joists and such. The bath may be over an area like the open garage or open living area. The bath may have a wall sitting on a structural wall on the first floor and the rest of the bath over an open are below and it has sagged over the past few years from improper sizing of materials.

    HOME INSPECTOR
    FOUNDATION COMPANY
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    The home inspector may know the underlying reason from what he sees in the home and you may be satisfied with the answer (but you still will need follow up for the builder). The next step if the home inspector has nothing popping out and telling him what the issue is is the foundation man. It may look like nothing to you or maybe even the home inspector but he may find a pretty good slope from front to back or side to side and recommend a fix. The engineer is the final back up but will cost you 400 or up depending on the size of the home.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Little Rock, Arkansas
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    Default Re: Second floor uneven

    Jim,

    What is a code certified IMO? What does IMO stand for?


  13. #13
    Mitchell Toelle's Avatar
    Mitchell Toelle Guest

    Default Re: Second floor uneven

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Mobley View Post
    Jim,

    What is a code certified IMO? What does IMO stand for?
    OMG! ICBI! Just kidding...trying to get higher number of posts on IN. IMO = "in my opinion" and IMHO = "in my humble opinion".
    BTW, OMG is....well and BTW = "by the way". And yes, a code certified inspector would be nice, but any Tx. inspector with experience in foundations and framing inspections would work well (note the "experienced" qualification).

    Also, look for door frames and windows that are out of alignment, as well as unusual cracking at wall finish corners, corners of doors, ceilings and drywall joints, etc.. That may tell you if the slope is "as-built" or if there has been movement since the finish work has been completed and it will be an on-going structural concern.

    I have seen sloped tile floors that show no sign of cracking from movement but when I look at areas and rooms adjacent to the sloped floor area there is slight evidence of movement in these finished wall and ceiling surfaces (even on newer homes). It raises a red flag.


  14. #14
    Bertha Lopez's Avatar
    Bertha Lopez Guest

    Default Re: Second floor uneven

    Quote Originally Posted by WRPTex View Post
    I'm looking at a home for which the second floor has some areas that are noticeably uneven. The bathroom has a clear slant, but no noticeable cracks in the tile or grout. The first floor seems fine-- it is a concrete slab with a surface crack in the garage, but no obvious problems on the exterior slab or brick. How typical is this and might it be part of a larger structural problem?
    I am looking at a home that has the exact same issues-sloped floor only in the upstairs with no visible cracks in the foundation or downstairs. What did you find with this house-did it have structural issues?


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