Floor Ceiling/Failure

Why Some Floors and Ceilings Sag

Common Terms:

  • Uniform Load: Force evenly distributed over a relatively large area (i.e. a waterbed).
  • Concentrated (Point) Load: Force localized over a relatively small area (i.e. a load bearing post or woman's spiked-heel shoe).
  • Dead Load:  Weight of permanent components, such as, roofs, walls, floor, etc.
  • Live Load: Superimposed by use and occupancy, such as, people furniture, etc.

Common Problems:

  • Improper design dies not account for the load the floor must support.
  • Improper construction that increases span of framing or decreases size of framing members.
  • User applies more load than anticipated for type of occupancy.
  • Structural weakening by wood rot due to water intrusion and ponding.

Potential Damage:

  • Ponding of water on exterior surfaces, such as, balconies or roofs.
  • Cracking of finishes, such as, stucco or gypsum board.
  • Walking surface excessively sloped and springy.
  • Squeaking floors.

Typical Solutions:

  • Add full-depth blocking between framing members to help spread out concentrated load to adjacent members (does not help for uniform loads).
  • Add additional framing members to reduce the amount of load to each member.
  • Provide additional support beneath the floor to reduce the span.

Information provided by Building Analysts, a full-service architectural and engineering firm with many years of experience in construction litigation. Their services include: architectural and structural investigations, repair recommendations, preparation of exhibits and expert testimony. Contact Building Analysts Toll Free at: (800) 352-1497.

Floors/Ceiling Failure