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  • FIRST POST
    • mutley74
    • By mutley74 1st Jan 18, 8:24 PM
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    mutley74
    Floorboard movements in house
    • #1
    • 1st Jan 18, 8:24 PM
    Floorboard movements in house 1st Jan 18 at 8:24 PM
    In my dad's house - detached 4 bedroom house about 1970 built.

    Over the past few months we have noticed floorboards starting to move (buckle?) across the upstairs and now downstairs. To the points you can feel slight ridges under the carpets. Now lots of squeaky floorboards in each room.
    Only a very minor hairline crack in the upstairs ceiling. No wall cracks or any other signs detected.

    What could be the cause of this?
    If he concerned he if calls his insurance company it will be counted as a structural claim, as he wants to sell the house later this year.

    any advice most appreciated.
Page 1
    • lauraland
    • By lauraland 1st Jan 18, 11:47 PM
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    lauraland
    • #2
    • 1st Jan 18, 11:47 PM
    • #2
    • 1st Jan 18, 11:47 PM
    woodworm or dry rot? You really need to lift the carpets to have a proper look though
    I got ham but i'm not a hamster.....
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 2nd Jan 18, 12:46 AM
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    EachPenny
    • #3
    • 2nd Jan 18, 12:46 AM
    • #3
    • 2nd Jan 18, 12:46 AM
    Has he changed the way he heats the house in recent months? I.e. a lot hotter or colder, heating on all day rather than part-time? Has he started using a dehumidifier? Started/stopped using extractor fans or appliances which generate water vapour? (showers, hobs, etc).

    I'd associate the symptoms you mention with a type of warping known as 'cupping'. That kind of movement can happen if there are significant variations in moisture content of the wood, which might be linked to temperature changes or things in the house which are increasing/decreasing the amount of water vapour.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • mutley74
    • By mutley74 2nd Jan 18, 10:33 AM
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    mutley74
    • #4
    • 2nd Jan 18, 10:33 AM
    • #4
    • 2nd Jan 18, 10:33 AM
    Has he changed the way he heats the house in recent months? I.e. a lot hotter or colder, heating on all day rather than part-time? Has he started using a dehumidifier? Started/stopped using extractor fans or appliances which generate water vapour? (showers, hobs, etc).

    I'd associate the symptoms you mention with a type of warping known as 'cupping'. That kind of movement can happen if there are significant variations in moisture content of the wood, which might be linked to temperature changes or things in the house which are increasing/decreasing the amount of water vapour.
    Originally posted by EachPenny
    no changes to heating, in fact always kept warm around 20C. I house sat a few for him in November, and found nothing unusual. No de-humidifier in use.
    Worrying thing is that its happening downstairs and upstairs.
    Is it worth him paying for a structural engineer or surveyor for advice? Or call insurance company (although no damage is visible) .
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 2nd Jan 18, 11:27 AM
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    EachPenny
    • #5
    • 2nd Jan 18, 11:27 AM
    • #5
    • 2nd Jan 18, 11:27 AM
    no changes to heating, in fact always kept warm around 20C. I house sat a few for him in November, and found nothing unusual. No de-humidifier in use.
    Worrying thing is that its happening downstairs and upstairs.
    Is it worth him paying for a structural engineer or surveyor for advice? Or call insurance company (although no damage is visible) .
    Originally posted by mutley74
    If it is 'cupping' then I can't think of any cause which would be 'structural' and therefore a structural engineer's time would be wasted. Structural causes would likely result in cracking in walls and ceilings, but you only mention a very minor hairline crack in the upstairs ceiling (presumably the ceiling below the loft?) rather than in the ground floor ceilings (below the first-floor floorboards which are the problem).

    I personally would try lifting some carpets to have a close look at what is going on. For a 1970's built house I'd expect the floorboards to be simple rectangular section planks with small gaps between them (i.e. not T&G). The gaps allow for expansion of the boards. If this is how your floors are laid then check to see if there are gaps. If there are no gaps it is possible that swelling of the boards has caused the floor to buckle.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • Private Church
    • By Private Church 2nd Jan 18, 12:20 PM
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    Private Church
    • #6
    • 2nd Jan 18, 12:20 PM
    • #6
    • 2nd Jan 18, 12:20 PM
    If it is 'cupping' then I can't think of any cause which would be 'structural' and therefore a structural engineer's time would be wasted. Structural causes would likely result in cracking in walls and ceilings, but you only mention a very minor hairline crack in the upstairs ceiling (presumably the ceiling below the loft?) rather than in the ground floor ceilings (below the first-floor floorboards which are the problem).

    I personally would try lifting some carpets to have a close look at what is going on. For a 1970's built house I'd expect the floorboards to be simple rectangular section planks with small gaps between them (i.e. not T&G). The gaps allow for expansion of the boards. If this is how your floors are laid then check to see if there are gaps. If there are no gaps it is possible that swelling of the boards has caused the floor to buckle.
    Originally posted by EachPenny

    I agree with your post apart from the highlighted part. Timber floors were always laid with no gaps and as tight as possible.The reason being when the house dried out with the heating the boards would shrink . If you fit a timber floor with a 2mm gap between the boards ,when they shrink you can have 4-6mm gaps which is too much. Even with most T&G softwood pine floor boards the tongues are only around 6mm wide.

    In the old days (pre 70's) they used floor board cramps to cramp together a number of boards at a time before nailing them down.

    If the house is a typical type 60's,70's built house then typically it would have whitewood pine T&G floor boards.

    Floorboards don't expand unless there lots of moisture around, ie floods or walls saturated which would easily be noticed.
    Last edited by Private Church; 02-01-2018 at 12:25 PM.
    • Furts
    • By Furts 2nd Jan 18, 12:33 PM
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    Furts
    • #7
    • 2nd Jan 18, 12:33 PM
    • #7
    • 2nd Jan 18, 12:33 PM
    The floor could be T&G softwood, as Private Church has said. But chipboard floor sheets superseded this and these sheets were in use in the 1970s. Hence OP would need to see what they have.


    I have seen chipboard sheets ridge along there 2400 side years after a house was built - depends how they were laid and the joist direction and detail
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 2nd Jan 18, 12:45 PM
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    EachPenny
    • #8
    • 2nd Jan 18, 12:45 PM
    • #8
    • 2nd Jan 18, 12:45 PM
    I agree with your post apart from the highlighted part. Timber floors were always laid with no gaps and as tight as possible.The reason being when the house dried out with the heating the boards would shrink . If you fit a timber floor with a 2mm gap between the boards ,when they shrink you can have 4-6mm gaps which is too much. Even with most T&G softwood pine floor boards the tongues are only around 6mm wide.
    Originally posted by Private Church
    Fair point, I didn't explain it as well as I could have. What I meant was the OP should probably expect to see gaps, if there aren't any then it implies there might be something wrong with the moisture content. I.e. the boards have returned to their as-laid state (or have swollen) rather than being nice and dry with small gaps between them.

    I guess this is a case where some pictures might help....
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • mutley74
    • By mutley74 2nd Jan 18, 1:18 PM
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    mutley74
    • #9
    • 2nd Jan 18, 1:18 PM
    • #9
    • 2nd Jan 18, 1:18 PM
    Thanks all for replies.
    Yes it is a hairline crack in upstairs ceiling, looks like along a plaster board joint.
    In early December 2 downstairs internal doors were slightly jamming when closing (never happened before) but they close okay now.

    I do recall when my dad got carpets fitted many years ago the floor boards are just general planks not T&G type.
    Still weird why this is happening across the house. No signs of leaks internally or externally where moisture could get in. He opens all the house windows every day for least an hour to prevent moisture buildup, has air bricks around the house etc. No signs of dampness anywhere.
    • Furts
    • By Furts 2nd Jan 18, 2:59 PM
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    Furts
    You will have to monitor matters, and keep quiet about things in the meantime. None of us forum folks know what type of foundations exists, nor about clay soil, presence of trees, any backfilled ground, or made up levels, or sloping plots. Which means without seeing the home there is not a lot I can add.

    However your situation does sound alarming. I had experience of door issues on a home, then subsequently lived in two structurally defective homes. Which all means this is a topic that touches a nerve in me. Even more so because I repaired and rebuilt the one home and know what damage that can do to ordinary folks finances!

    Keep everyone posted on what may happen.
    • mutley74
    • By mutley74 2nd Jan 18, 4:02 PM
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    mutley74
    You will have to monitor matters, and keep quiet about things in the meantime. None of us forum folks know what type of foundations exists, nor about clay soil, presence of trees, any backfilled ground, or made up levels, or sloping plots. Which means without seeing the home there is not a lot I can add.

    However your situation does sound alarming. I had experience of door issues on a home, then subsequently lived in two structurally defective homes. Which all means this is a topic that touches a nerve in me. Even more so because I repaired and rebuilt the one home and know what damage that can do to ordinary folks finances!

    Keep everyone posted on what may happen.
    Originally posted by Furts
    No trees nearby, ground around the house is level - no hills or embankments or slops. Nearest building is about 1m to adjacent garage.
    I'm checking every day i visit my dad, but really concerned as want him to sell and downsize.
    • Furts
    • By Furts 2nd Jan 18, 4:55 PM
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    Furts
    Has your Dad lived there for a long time? Does he know any history of the land the house is built on?
    • mutley74
    • By mutley74 2nd Jan 18, 5:27 PM
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    mutley74
    Has your Dad lived there for a long time? Does he know any history of the land the house is built on?
    Originally posted by Furts
    live here since mid 80s......
    Do you mean any mining claims or subsidence in the area?
    Behind the house is green area, only houses either side (detached).
    • mutley74
    • By mutley74 9th Jan 18, 5:49 PM
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    mutley74
    Update
    My dad called a surveyor from local EA (whom he knows) for a valuation but also for advice on all the creaking floors. He said creaking floors wont get picked up on a survey (despite now growing across the whole house) and as there are no cracks in the walls unlikely to be structural fault.

    No convinced as the creaking is growing across the house.
    • Furts
    • By Furts 10th Jan 18, 8:29 AM
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    Furts
    Update

    He said creaking floors wont get picked up on a survey (despite now growing across the whole house) and as there are no cracks in the walls unlikely to be structural fault.
    Originally posted by mutley74
    I disagree and also say the comment is illogical. Think it through ... A full structural/building survey is commissioned and the surveyor is walking over very creaky floors. The surveyor has to comment on them if they are out of the norm. If they did not there is the risk of a claim on their PII. Hence the surveyor has to comment in order to protect their professional reputation and insurance.

    On a valuation type survey one might not have a comment - who knows? A gamble or a game of chance here.

    But also be savvy here - since when have Estate Agency folks told the truth? They are sales people, and will want to sell your dad's home regardless of any issues with it. Hence take their opinion with a pinch of salt.
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