3 Reasons Kitchen Floors Get Bouncy (And How To Fix It)

Spooked by a spongy kitchen floor? We explain what is happening and what your options are. 

When a kitchen floor feels bouncy, the three main causes are joist issues, foundation settlement, and moisture problems in the basement or crawlspace.

You might be wondering if your floor is on the verge of collapse. After all, no floor is supposed to feel bouncy! Here’s the truth about your trampoline-like kitchen and what you can do about it.

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The Top 3 Causes Behind Bouncy Kitchen Floors

A healthy floor is a steady floor. Unfortunately, hardwood floors are prone to a rather odd problem. Making your way over to the kettle can feel like you are traversing a sponge or walking the plank on a pirate ship.

So what causes floorboards to lose their stability and go wonky with every step? Here are the main 3 reasons.

  1. Issues with the floor joists and related parts.
  2. Foundation settlement problems.
  3. The basement or crawl space has moisture problems.

How Joists And Related Parts Can Cause Bouncy Floors

3 Reasons Kitchen Floors Get Bouncy (And How To Fix It)

While joists and subflooring can be a problem in new houses, this is more an issue with older homes. How so? Most new homes have a tighter design for floors. This basically means that there is less space between joists, beams, and other support structures. Older homes tend to have wider areas between these, which then can lead to bouncy floors. 

Here are the top 4 reasons why your home creaks (floorboards included).

Can I Fix Joist-Related Problems Myself?

There is no reason why you cannot fix this yourself. However, this requires some proficiency in carpentry and you will need the help of at least one other person. Especially if you plan on adding more joists. That being said, you can also enlist the help of a reputable repair guy who can quickly assess the reason why your floor is bouncy and fix it.

What Are The Options To Reduce Joist-Related Bounce?

  1. Sistering. This technique involves placing a new joist against an existing joist to give it more strength and reduce the bounce. While this is one of the easiest DIY jobs for a bouncy floor, you might want to consider calling a professional if there plumbing or electrical cables in the way.
  2. Strengthening the underside. Some joists cause bounciness because they are starting to sag. This can be fixed by attaching lumber to their underside, usually a 2×4.
  3. Adding support beams. This is one of the best ways to get rid of flexing floors. 
  4. Blocking. This technique connects joists so that they share the weight load of the floor, which effectively reduces bounce.

Can My Subfloor Be The Problem And Not The Joists?

Heck, yes. When the subfloor is not securely fitted to the joists, it can most certainly produce a wobbly floor! The problem can be fixed by using decking screws to tighten the subfloor and joists together again.

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How Foundation Settlement Can Cause Bouncy Floors

3 Reasons Kitchen Floors Get Bouncy (And How To Fix It)

Let’s first dive into what foundation settlement is. 

Foundation settlement is considered a normal process (at first). A new house must adjust to soil settling and a degree of sinking is to be expected. When things are normal, this process eventually halts on its own and causes no damage to the building. But sometimes, things go wrong and the settlement either refuses to stop and/or causes structural problems.

But How Does It Make My Kitchen Floor Bouncy?

Settlement can cause your kitchen floor to become bouncy in several ways. Perhaps it compromised the integrity of the supporting beams or joists. But whatever happened, all causes remove the necessary support that a floor needs to stay steady. 

How Do I Know I’m Dealing With Foundation Settlement?

The following list contains the most common warning signs.

  • Apart from spongy floors, your kitchen floor might also have dips or raised areas.
  • There are cracks running along the foundation.
  • Cracks could also appear along the frames of windows and doors.
  • Doors and windows struggle to open or close.
  • There are cracks spanning the floor. 
  • Concrete steps are cracking.
  • The chimney shows signs of separation.
  • There are signs of damp, especially in the basement and crawlspace.

Can I Fix Foundation Settlement Issues Myself?

We are looking at a major structural problem. This needs the attention of a professional repair company. Their experience in the field will allow them to correctly identify the degree of settlement, what the scope of the damage is, and then provide you with options to fix your home. 

Can I Just Ignore Foundation Settlement?

This is not a good idea. When settlement behaves in a way that causes physical damage to the home, nothing about it is normal and it won’t likely stop on its own. The settlement will continue to crack and dislodge parts of the house over time. Needless to say, the longer you wait the more repairs and costs are required to salvage the house. Gone too far, foundation settlement can also drastically reduce the value of your home. This could be a big problem if you plan to sell your house in the future. 

The Basement Or Crawl Space Has Moisture Problems

An excess amount of moisture is never a good thing, no matter where in the home it manifests. But it can be a headache when it affects the kitchen so badly that your floor wobbles underfoot. One of the most common ways that moisture affects the kitchen floor is when the basement or crawl space underneath the room is too damp. 

When damp from a basement crawls upwards to the kitchen, it can make the floor wobbly due to rotting wood and supports, separation from the underfloor, and warping floorboards or joists.

How Do I Fix Damp-Related Bounce? 

By the time your kitchen floor is bouncy, the damp problem has already gone too far to be fixed with most DIY solutions. Similar to a settling foundation, you need to have your basement or crawl space as well as the kitchen inspected by a professional. Once they know the extent of the damp and damage, they can advise you on the next steps.

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A Quick Overview On Why Kitchen Floors Can Get Bouncy

  • A floor that flexes when you walk on it is not normal.
  • The three main causes include moisture problems, issues with joists and subflooring, and foundation settlement. 
  • A good grasp of carpentry is needed to fix joists at home.
  • When bouncy floors are caused by foundation problems or moisture issues, then the house has to be assessed by a professional.
  • Regardless of what the problem turns out to be, it must be rectified as soon as possible. All 3 causes can lower the value of a home if left for too long or ignored.

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