Q: When I was in my 60 s, there was an increasing gap on one side of the wall separating the living room from the dining roomyear-old split-level home.
Do I need a structural engineer, an architect or someone else? Kensington, Md.
A: improper installation sometimes leads to gaps in the floor
It's just a superficial problem, though frustrating.
The picture you sent seems to show something more serious.
The floor looks like it's sinking through the wall between your living room and the dining room.
The structural engineer is most capable of assessing what is happening.
"Something went wrong.
You won't have a lot of cracks unless something is moving, "said Ryan English, engineer at BE Structural (866-682-2693; bestructural. com)
A structural engineering company in Pa Wormleysburg, USA.
It provides services in many parts of the country, including the Washington area.
English speaking, it is impossible to tell from a few snapshots what caused the problem in your home.
Structural engineers are required to visit and crawl in the attic and basement or in the crawling space and to evaluate the evidence.
This is similar to what happens when someone shows up in the doctor's office and feels uncomfortable but doesn't know why.
The doctor looks, feels and asks questions while mentally running various scenes.
The doctor ruled out a number of possibilities and added other possibilities to the shortlist.
Then, even if there is not enough evidence to determine the diagnosis, the doctor should be able to recommend which tests might come to an answer.
"We will look at the ceiling, floor, basement or crawl space to diagnose why it is separated," English said . ".
"We will not destroy anything.
We just look around and do a visual check.
"The soil may have been resolved, or there is a problem with the foundation of your house.
Or a key floor beam or beam may be weaker than before.
Termite may pass through wood, or dry rot, a fungus that may weaken the strength of the wood.
Or a clueless plumber may have cut holes in the pipe in the wrong place.
Owners in the past may come up with a key support post to open up more space in the basement.
The culprit may even be environmental factors, such as earthquakes or particularly high storms, the British say.
English says BE Structural will charge $500 to $1,000 for the initial diagnostic visit, depending on how far the engineer needs to travel.
The company has engineers in many places.
Rusty sannll, technical consultant for National Wood Flooring Association800-422-4556; nwfa. org)
I also saw the picture you sent.
Improper installation of wood floors can lead to gaps, he said, but this may not explain your situation.
Depending on the age of your home and the appearance of the floor, you seem to have a traditional wood floor made of natural wood with interlocking tongueand-
Groove edge, nailed to the floor support beam.
On this type of floor, in winter, the gap between the boards sometimes opens when the indoor heated air is particularly dry.
When the air is more humid, the gap will shrink in summer.
In your case, however, the gap is not between the boards, just at the partition.
Edge gaps are more likely to be newer hardwood floors made of multiple hardwood floors
As a layer material for the "floating floor" installation, on this floor, the pieces click together or stick together, but are not fixed.
For floating floors, the installer must leave a gap on all edges so that the floor expands and shrinks as the temperature and humidity change.
They used the quarter to close the gap.
The circular molding is fixed to the wall so that the floor below can still be in and out as needed.
When it comes to floating floors, the details of the door can get tricky. Adding quarter-
The round shape there looks strange and can get in the way of closing the door.
Therefore, the floor installer should trim the bottom of the molding and install the floor below.
But the gap still needs to be widened.
If the molding is not thick enough to cover the gap and still hide the edge of the floor, some expansion gaps will become visible in dry weather.
In your case, however, the gap will appear on the side and front of the room partition.
"Damn it, it looks like the floor has fallen," sannll said . ".
It's not a floor problem, it's a structural problem, he added.
"The first place I will go is a structural engineer. ”