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What is Floor Slope? (Definition, Signs, Causes, and Repair)

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You notice your wife’s favorite cherry-stained wood floor is bowing so that it’s like a miniature X-games ramp. You do nothing about it.

When you do nothing about it, your estranged wife starts receiving random flowers delivered to the house and your kid buys a skateboard, learns some gnarly tricks in the living room, and becomes Tik Tok famous.

When your kid becomes Tik Tok famous, he gets invited to skate in the X-games. When your kid is invited to skate in the X-games, grandma comes over to watch it LIVE on the big screen.

When grandma comes over, she trips on the sloped cherry-stained wood and loses her glasses. When grandma loses her glasses, your kid wins gold, and your estranged wife walks out the door with a suitcase in tow saying she’s headed to the Bahamas with Steve.

Don’t let your wife go to the Bahamas with Steve. Fix the sloping cherry-stained wood floor.

And that is what we call in rhetoric a slippery-slope introduction, a tangled web of when/if-thens that claim correlation is causation. Sure, while it is a logical fallacy, it is a perfect introduction to one of the most common signs of foundation settlement.

In this article, we are going to cover the equation for slope, signs and symptoms, causes, and some basic repair option do’s and don’ts.

What is Floor Slope?

 In order to better understand floor slope, I think it is important that we begin with the mathematical equation we all remember from 8th-grade y = mx+b. Now, who knew math would actually translate into real-life application.

Well, it does, insofar as this equation explains the physical slope we are affected by in our homes.

What is slope?

Slope is the measure of steepness and direction as calculated by the mathematical formula y = mx+b (rise over run). Slope is determined by identifying the ratio of the horizontal change and vertical change between two definitive points on a gradient. The trajectory of a line is either vertical, horizontal, increasing or decreasing. The grade, incline, or steepness is calculated by the absolute value of the slope.    

What is Floor Slope? 

Floor slope is the physical expression of y= mx+b through beveled, ramped, or bowing floors with a definitive downgrade typically caused by foundation failure. Though, there can be normal and admissible flection (bowing) due to wear and tear of wood joists and other flooring components. Floor slope can be determined by an altimeter but is often apparent through empirical tactile measures.

You probably already know if you have sloped floors; however, a quick at-home test is to take a golf ball or a marble, set it on different sections of your floor, and see if it rolls anywhere. The direction the sphere rolls outlines the direction of the slope.  

You can also hire a foundation repair professional to take floor elevation measurements of your home. 

DIY with Brian – Granite countertops are almost always placed level to the floor. So, if you place a level on the counter and that bubble isn’t smack-dab in the middle, odds are pretty good you have sloped floors.  

*Note – If you like what is articles, you should also check out our articles What is Foundation Heave (Signs, Causes, How to Fix) and What is Underpinning (Definition, History, Types).

Signs and Symptoms of Sloped Floors

Sloping floors is a common sign and symptom of foundation settlement. Clues to look out for are:  

  •   Uneven, bowed, ramped, flexed wooden floors
  •   Broken, chipped tile on tiled floors
  •   Large gaps and cracks between the floor and baseboard/crown molding
  •   A definite feeling of vertigo, uneven footing  
  •   Bouncy/trampoline floors

The signs and symptoms of sloping floors are pretty self-explanatory and are generally good indicators that you either have foundation issues or just have your average wear and tear of an older home.  

Causes of Sloping Floors

Foundation settlement is the primary reason of sloped floors. As the home/structure begins to sink into a non-load-bearing stratum, the home settles unevenly, putting uneven pressure on the home’s foundation.

This uneven pressure is transferred to the wooden bones of the home and the flooring, causing the flooring to bend, bow, and break. Old age, wear, and tear can also cause floors to slope.

 Basic Repairs Do’s and Don’ts

  •   Don’t utilize self-leveler until after you have a foundation professional inspect your foundation (if you self-level before your foundation is lifted to maximum practical recovery, you will have some wonky floors)
  •   Note – we’ve seen homeowners utilize carjacks temporarily to pop floors back into place until foundation professionals arrive, but don’t count on this as a permanent measure.
  •   Do inspect your house for other signs and symptoms that might also point to foundation settlement:

o   Leaning Chimneys

o   Sticky doors and windows

o   Cracks in drywall, stucco, concrete slabs

  • Do contact a foundation professional to come out and inspect your foundation. 

Slippery Slope

So, in this what is article, we covered the definitions for slope and floor slope. We briefly touched on signs and symptoms before launching into cause. We ended things nicely with repair methodologies.

We here at Dalinghaus Construction Inc. understand the frustration of sloping floors.

We would like to partner with you and collaborate on the best way to fix your floor to foundation issues.

If you live in sunny Southern California or red-rock Arizona, click on our link below. If you are with us only in spirit (meaning the net), be sure to link to our blog and continue to read our great work –


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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One Response

  1. Well Brian, I wish y’all were in Tennessee. Our home was built in the 1800’s and the floors need to be leveled. I have learned a lot about this by reading your blog post and I have to say, you crack me up! Thanks for the educational and entertaining blog post.

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