Reasons for Sagging Floors and Ceilings in a Home


In a home, new or old, sagging of the floors and ceilings can occur. There are a variety of reasons for this, and some may be shocking or unexpected. The good news is all of these problems can be fixed. Keep in mind that the process for fixing all of these items along with the cost will vary. Some solutions will be minor, only requiring patching, while others will require a more drawn out process.

Water Damage

Water damage can occur for a variety of reasons. Leaking pipes are the most common culprit. Rooftops that are improperly installed or improperly sealed are another common culprit. This can cause damage that seeps down through the walls to create soft floors and sagging ceilings in lower levels of a home.

Even water seeping in from the outside is a cause for this type of problem. The reason being is that support beams and structural walls become weak and compromised from the dampness. Water, when it leaks in and is untreated, can cause serious damage to a home. In severe cases, an entire side of a home can be compromised leaving it unsafe or causing a collapse.

Improper Support

If a home was built over a century ago or the support beams are not sturdy enough to withstand the weight of a home and its furniture, this can lead to sagging floors and ceilings. Older homes tend to have been built in a different way. What this means is that a different type of standard was used where beams were important but were not placed properly. Improper placement, such as too far apart or not in the right joint of a space, leaves the structure of the home to be vulnerable.

Modern appliances and furniture weigh far more than what homeowners used to put in their homes. This means that there is more strain put on the structural beams. Support beams may need to be added and a floor or ceiling may need to be replaced in order to correct a problem.


Although this may be the least likely reason a homeowner would expect, sagging floors and ceilings are often caused by termites. What happens here is that termites get in through small gaps in window frames or siding, to name two options. When they get in, they start to eat away at structural supports made of wood. This is often done between floors in a home. In most cases, it is the bottom floor that would lead to a basement or cellar space. In other cases, where a ranch style home is in place, it could be structural beams between the ceiling and roof.

The best way to treat this problem is to first remove the termites. Depending on the severity of the problem, an entire tenting and bombing of a home may be required. From this step, once the termites are proven to be gone, new support beams can be installed. Some structural damage may occur to the home during this process but every safety precaution is put into place. Slight remodeling or renovation might be needed but it will be minimal and not as costly as a complete rebuild of the space.

Foundation Shifting

Ground saturation and overly wet seasons can cause the ground around a foundation to be soft. Over time, the foundation of a home can shift due to the lack of support from the ground. The slight separation from the rest of the home leads to sagging or slanted floors, and in some cases, lower-level ceilings as well.

Over time this problem can also cause a foundation to begin to crumble. This is a major structural problem that can become very serious if it is neglected or goes unnoticed. Essentially, it can cause an entire home to collapse.

To prevent the foundation from shifting and/or crumbling, it is best to inspect the basement or bottom floor of a home both inside and out at least three times per year. If you notice any cracks or wet areas, it is best to contact a foundation specialist immediately for an assessment.

Poor Initial Build

Sometimes homes are not built as sound as they should be based upon new technique or materials. This can lead to that home beginning to fall apart after a few years, especially as homes settle into the earth that they are built on. A poor build leads to uneven floors, sagging ceilings, cracked walls and other structural issues. Complete a home inspection prior to purchasing a home to prevent this from being a possibility.

As you can see there are several reasons for sagging floors and ceilings in a home. Being proactive and conscious of the walls, exterior and general construction of your home is important. This does not mean that you have to check monthly for issues or even every other month, seasonal is often good enough. Homes expand and contract in hot and cold weather, this is typical and expected. However, the ceilings and floors should not sag. Anytime this problem is noticed, it is important to contact a contractor immediately for an assessment and options for correction of the problem.

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