You’re getting your home remodeled, and so far, so good. You’re very pleased with the contractor you hired for the job, as they’re doing excellent work. That said, their request today to level your floor has caught you off-guard. Why would your contractor want you to do that?
Your contractor likely asked you to level your floor because it’s uneven. Although you don’t have to take them up on their offer, sooner or later, it’s work that you should strongly consider having done on your home. Foundational damage can cause uneven floors, and that issue will worsen with time.
This is a tough situation to navigate, but we’re here to help you through it. In this post, we’ll explain why a contractor would ask you to level your floor and discuss what happens if you don’t. We’ll also talk about floor leveling pricing and logistics, so make sure you keep reading!
Why Would a Contractor Want You to Level Your Floor?
Like many people, you set a strict budget for home remodeling, which is why you’re none too pleased when your contractor comes to you and mentions that your floor is uneven and should be leveled. Whether it’s the ground floor or the upstairs floor, this throws a major wrench in your plans.
You have no idea how much floor releveling would cost, but you sincerely doubt it’s in the budget.
We know what you might think this is. Your contractor gave you an estimate, that estimate fit your budget, and now that the work is underway, it seems like your contractor is trying to milk you for more money.
You have to remember a few things though. For starters, an estimate is not a bill. It’s just an approximation of what the costs for house remodeling may be. If the contractor gave you a quote, that’s a more precise number, but even that’s subject to changes.
The reason is this – it’s impossible to say what’s hiding behind your walls and under your floors until the contractor and their team get in there and deconstruct the house. If it turned out that you had a major case of mold in the wall beams or termites that ate away at the structure, your contractor would mention those too, but only upon finding them.
They’re not trying to take you for a ride. They just couldn’t have foreseen these issues until they came across them.
The Risks of an Uneven Floor
Okay, but your floor is just a bit uneven. That’s not such a big deal, right? If only. Here are the many issues your home is at risk of should you continue to ignore this major issue.
Your Floor Makes a Lot of Noise
Let’s start with the least severe side effect of an uneven floor, and that’s creaking, knocking, popping, and groaning with almost every step you take. The reason is that the uneven floorboards have air pockets underneath them.
If you’re trying to get up in the night for a midnight snack or to use the bathroom without waking up the whole house, good luck. Your creaky floor will make that nearly impossible.
Floorboards Can Buckle and Warp
If you’re planning to get new wooden floorboards or appealing laminate floors installed in your home as part of the remodel, you might want to rethink that unless you address your uneven floors.
During installation or shortly thereafter, the floorboards can warp and buckle. Even if your contractor and their pros manage to install the floors correctly, once the floorboards settle a little, they can loosen and pop up.
If you delayed getting your uneven floors taken care of because you wanted to save some money, you’ll now be forced into spending money to fix the laminate or floorboards. Oh, and you’ll have to pay to get your uneven floor leveled or the floorboard will loosen again.
Worsening Foundational Issues
What causes uneven floors? Lots of things, such as soil erosion or movement, excess moisture (usually from water damage), or foundational issues. You know, like the foundation that holds up your very house. Those kinds of issues.
You can ascertain whether you’re dealing with foundational issues in your home by looking out for several signs. For example, you might now see gaps between the floor and the doors in your home even though your doors haven’t changed.
In some cases, the floor and the adjacent walls will have gaps, which is truly scary. Your doors might get jammed for seemingly no reason. The walls in the house might begin noticeably cracking, as will the floors.
Your uneven floors will only worsen as the structural damage does. With time, your home could become so unstable that it’s no longer habitable.
Potential Injury Risks
If you’re still not totally convinced that you have to do anything about your uneven floors, know that someone can get hurt simply by walking in your house, as an uneven floor is a tripping hazard. Whether that’s a family member, a friend, or another guest, it’s hard to say, but do you want to see any of the special people in your life injured? We’re sure the answer is no.
How Much Does Floor Leveling Cost?
Okay, you’d rather just rip the Band-Aid right off. How much is it going to cost you to get your floors leveled? According to HomeAdvisor, the cost of leveling is usually calculated per square foot and would cost between $2 and $30 a square foot.
That said, the costs vary depending on the extent of the work required. If, for instance, your floors need only some self-leveling, then maybe per pound, you’d pay up to $1.50. If the structural support of the floors has degraded enough that you need a new subfloor, beams, or sistered joists, now you’re looking at significantly higher fees.
If your contractor recommends concrete leveling, then Fixr states that concrete leveling a 200-square foot laminate or hardwood floor costs between $360 and $5,000. For a 600-square foot basement floor, the costs are higher at $1,080 to $15,000.
Should You Use Your Contractor for Floor Leveling or Hire Someone Else?
Before the construction began, you and the contractor signed a contract (or you should have). If you by chance verbally agreed to the work, then verbal contracts are legally binding in most cases.
Once you’re locked into that contract, you could face legal ramifications should you break it. Even though you didn’t plan to get your floor leveled when you entered the contract with the contractor, now that that work is on the table, you need to figure out what you’ll do.
You might decide that you don’t want to take any chances and that you’d rather get your floor leveled ASAP. This is a wise idea, especially if your home has already begun to display signs of structural damage. As we said before, that damage will only get worse the longer it’s unaddressed.
You could also choose to delay the work for several more months. After all, getting your floors leveled isn’t cheap, especially when you’re likely already paying thousands of dollars for other work as part of your home remodel.
For a little while, you want to funnel savings towards your budget until the floor leveling is an attainable goal.
This isn’t the worst approach to take. Although several more months will worsen the structural damage to your home, it shouldn’t be to such a rapid degree that your home is unlivable. That would only be the case if the structural damage was already very severe.
If you’d rather wait, then you can always turn down the contractor’s offer to level your floors. After all, it’s not a service you asked for, nor is it included in the contract. Once the contractor and their team finish the home remodel, you could decide to hire them again for the floor leveling or use another construction company entirely.
However, while you’re under contract with one construction company, you can’t use the services of another without breaking the contract. Don’t do that!
If your home remodeling contractor has requested that you get your floor leveled, it’s a good idea to listen. You don’t have to get the work done right away, but the sooner you can budget for it, the better, especially if your sagging floors are caused by foundational issues.