How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dovetail Greene Your Own Question
Dovetail Greene
Dovetail Greene, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 377
Experience:  Licensed Building Contractor & Certified Building Designer
Type Your Home Improvement Question Here...
Dovetail Greene is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

The floors in my house were built on the gravel ground with

Customer Question

The floors in my house were built on the gravel ground with 2x6's. Their not attached to the walls. They are now sinking bad. How can I fix the problem? Should I contact my insurance company? I'm afraid to ask them, maybe they wont insure my home if I do.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Dovetail Greene replied 4 years ago.

Good evening.

My name's Kel.


Need some more information --


Where are you located?

When was your home built?

When you say sinking bad -- how far have they sunk?

Is the rest of your home stable -- that is -- it's not sinking?

Is the water table abnormally high?

Do you know what kind of soil the home is built on?

You mentioned gravel -- was that added or is that what much of the soil is comprised?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
My location is Amherstburg, Ontario. The house was moved from Holiday Beach about 40 years ago. We have been here since 1979. I really don"t know how old it is. i can tell you, when we bought it the house was converted into a duplex. Originally the lower level was used for tractors, like a garage. The previous owners then put floors and walls up and made it into living quarters. In some areas the floors are just rotting away and some areas they have dropped about 2 inches around the outside foundation. We would love to tear the house down, but we are both on disability and still owe a far amount on it. We do have some cracking in the walls.
Expert:  Dovetail Greene replied 4 years ago.
Do you have any idea the approximate distance from the bottom of the walls to the bottom of the floor that's rotting?About how large is the area with the rotted flooring?Do you want to repair the entire floor or just part?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Approximately 8 inches
Expert:  Dovetail Greene replied 4 years ago.
How large an area is affected? Is it all living space that has the rotting flooring?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Like i said 24x32 and yes my kitchen, bathroom are the worst. The hall and bedroom are all lopsided.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
We would have to rip up the whole downstairs. I wouldn't able to live in the house. This is why I asked if it would be an insurance claim?
Expert:  Dovetail Greene replied 4 years ago.

This kind of problem is not usually covered by homeowner's insurance. That usually protects you from disasters like a tree falling on the place. Most policies nowadays exclude rot.


Can't think of a simple inexpensive way to repair.


I'm based in Minneapolis. The City provides loans to people to fix their homes. If they agree to stay in them for ten years and not turn them into rentals the loans become grants and are then forgiven. Do you have any programs like that in Ontario?


The most efficient way to remedy is to remove the floor, install piers and beams and rebuild the entire floor.


Given your situation what I'd recommend is triage. Start with the worst spaces that are most bothersome and repair one at a time. The kitchen would be the place to start. The kitchen appliances and cabinets will have to be removed. Pier footings will have to be excavated and installed. Beams run from the existing foundation to the piers. New floors framed and decked. Then the kitchen reinstalled.


You're rebuilding the floor piece by piece.


Next I'd do the bath. Then the bedroom then the hall.


Wish I had some magic for you.


Have I answered your question?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I need a lot more room. How would I add on? We want to add on a new kitchen, family room, bathroom etc... We thought if we could add on first we could work on the old after, the problem is we don't want the new part on the ground and our ceilings are barely 8 feet high, so we can't raise the floor any higher without tearing down the ceiling.
Expert:  Dovetail Greene replied 4 years ago.

Discussing addition plans would be beyond the scope of this question.


Doing an addition and then renovating the old section would be an excellent strategy if you can make the money work.


The International Building Code has 7'-6" as a minimum ceiling height for habitable rooms. To get a better quality space after you remove the rotted floor either in its entirety or section by section as I suggested you could excavate down a foot or two then rebuild. It's more expensive, but the home would be much more appealing and valuable.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
What exactly do you mean, excavating down a foot or two? I just want the original hose as the master bedroom and bathroom. How will this look with an addition with the main living area up higher?
Expert:  Dovetail Greene replied 4 years ago.

In order to have adequate headroom and a floor thick enough to be properly insulated you can either remove the ceiling or go down. I'm guessing it'll be less expensive to remove some soil where the rotted floor is currently resting.


By lowering the soil level when you rebuild the floor you can have higher ceilings.


It would certainly be possible to have three steps between the new addition and the old section of the home.


I'd recommend meeting with three renovation contractors to get ideas and rough estimates on how much it'll cost to do the work.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I don't use the apt upstairs other than for storage. I want one level with a basement. What is your opinion, would it be cheaper to try and build new or renovate?

Expert:  Dovetail Greene replied 4 years ago.
If the foundation is in good shape and the walls and roof are in good shape it would be less expensive to renovate rather than building new.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The shingles are ok, but the roof itself would need replacing the plywood next time and the roof is low pitch with a flat roof on the addition part. Not what we would want and to put on an addition to it would not look good. The addition roof if I were to go up 3 feet or more would be almost the same height as the original. I don't know what they were thinking. I guess they were midgets as the height of the ceiling upstairs is only 6 feet 9 inches. I also need all new windows and doors.

Related Home Improvement Questions