loose bouncy floors

What Do Loose or Bouncy Floors Mean for My Pier and Beam Home?

You’ve got some kind of issue with the floors in your pier and beam home (or with a home you are looking to buy). Why do the floors feel loose and bouncy-like? What’s going on? Is this a foundation problem or what could this mean??

Anchor Foundation Repair Bryan College Station

At Anchor Foundation Repair, we assess and repair all kinds of *underfoot* issues with all types of crawl space foundations. After 35+ years in business in the Brazos Valley, we know what common foundation and flooring problems look and feel like and can tell the difference between them and how they need to be repaired.

This article will describe and discuss what it means to have loose and bouncy floors in your crawl space home. We will also explore whether to be concerned about this floor sturdiness issue and how to handle it.

Description of Loose or Bouncy Floors in a Crawl Space Home

Just to start with, let’s make sure we are all talking about the same sort of home problem here. We’ll describe what kind of floor issue we are talking about and also what it’s not.

Loose and/or bouncy floors in a pier and beam home can be detected across an entire room, be widespread through several rooms, or throughout the whole home. You notice this issue just walking normally around the house. You will:

loose and bouncy floors make things rattle on shelves
Can you hear this stuff rattling every time you walk by?

SEE–Knick-knacks, lamps, and other objects on shelves or tables shaking,

HEAR–Floorboards rattling loosely as if they are not secured, rattling items and furniture,

FEEL–Bending floors that give more than you think they should, and feel unsupported.

We are NOT talking about soft or spongy floors. Spongy floors feel almost squishy underfoot and are often isolated to small areas possibly near water fixtures. You can detect this sponginess by shifting your weight to one foot and applying extra pressure to the floor in that area. A spongy floor problem is indicative of dry rot, or damage to the subfloor from water, mold, or damp conditions.

We are also NOT talking about crunchy floors that sound like breaking or crackling in an isolated area. Crunchy floors point to termites. But we’re not talking about this kind of problem either. 

In this article, we’re only talking about the loose, bouncy floors where you notice rattling, and observe the other *see, hear, and feel* descriptions noted earlier.

What Does It Mean When Pier and Beam Floors are Bouncy?

Okay, so now that we have clearly described the condition we are talking about, what exactly does it mean for your house?? Loose and bouncy pier and beam floors indicate that more support is needed under the home.

poor joist spacing causes loose rattling floors
Floor joists way too far apart

Don’t worry, your home is still structurally sound and you’re not going to fall through the floors or anything. It just means that your floor system could use a little TLC.

Many older homes were not built with quite enough *stuff* under them to adequately hold up the weight of the structure on top. This usually means your floor joists are a little too far apart or the joists span too much open space without a support beam underneath them. 

How or Why Do Floors Become Loose and Bouncy?

These issues aren’t noticeable for years, but after a long while of carrying more weight than your home structure can handle, everything starts to sag and drop a little. The foundation and floor system becomes looser and less snug. 

Imagine you are carrying a whole bunch of loose fruit in your arms. At first, you can hold your arms rigid and strong and keep it all together close and secure. But then your arms get tired and your grip starts to loosen. The fruit drops some, can shift around, and there’s more space in between each piece making it more susceptible to motion. 

That’s kinda what’s happening to your home – it’s getting tired of keeping everything up and is starting to weaken its hold on things. It needs some extra help.

joists under a house

A crawl space or pier and beam foundation is a complex structure built layer upon layer. Each layer fits snugly together at first. If one of the layers becomes warped, damaged, or less rigid over time, the problem has a cascading effect that begins to loosen the whole setup. You start to hear the rattling and feel the looseness and bounce. 

This situation is not seasonal and will not improve on its own. Once the structure has loosened, it doesn’t tighten back up without the help of repairs.

Do Loose Floors Mean We Have a Foundation Problem?

So now you’re like, “Oh great, does this mean we have a foundation problem?” 

Well, I’m gonna say it’s kind of a yes and kind of a no.

Yes, you do have something in your *general foundational area* that might need to be addressed, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a “foundation problem” so to speak.

floor joists

Most of the time, when we talk about foundation problems, we are talking about a problem that stems from foundation settlement due to the effects of expansive clay soil. The soil has contracted and the home has sunk due to soil movement. 

Since this loose floor issue is not caused by the soil, it’s not what we would typically call a foundation problem in the usual sense. However, the way that crawl space homes are repaired for foundation problems and other problems like loose floors can be similar. 

So it sorta feels like a foundation problem because these issues get repaired in comparable ways by hiring a house leveling and/or foundation repair contractor.

A foundation repair company is going to employ similar techniques whether it’s because of foundation settlement and problems or because of loose floors due to inadequate weight-bearing ability. A contractor will add more support in the form of piers or sill beams, replace compromised wood, and shore up the fit of the foundation structure with shims

How Can Loose or Bouncy Pier and Beam Floors Be Fixed?

In the case of loose and bouncy floors, the most common repair technique is to add a form of extra support called a shaker sill. Many different types of sill beams make up the original foundation structure of a pier and beam home. A shaker sill beam is often added post-construction as a remedy to a specific problem.

shaker siłl install

When loose and bouncy floors are the issue, shaker sills are added underneath the floor joist system and span across areas where extra support is needed. First, additional piers are placed under the proposed shaker sill location then the sill is placed on top, raised, and secured into place with shims.

The addition of a shaker sill helps to distribute and better carry the weight of the home. This results in more home and floor stability and gives your foundation a finer network of support by further segmenting the weight distribution footprint. All good benefits for your home.

Install Shaker Sills to Repair Loose and Bouncy Floor Issues

Shaker sills are not a total must, since your home structure is generally okay and nothing is going to fall apart. But homeowners do find shaker sills to be worthwhile and satisfying because they make such a night-and-day difference in the feel of the home.

shaker sill

As a foundation repair contractor that has been installing shaker sills since 1985, we delight in offering this simple and often undervalued form of extra support. Usually, homeowners have no idea that the addition of a simple beam and a few piers can increase the solid, sturdy feeling of their floors so drastically. It’s one of our favorite things!

Check out this article for more shaker sill details OR we can get this problem fixed up for you right now. Contact Us today if you’re ready to get started.