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Sinkholes in Floor Under Carpet

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Lisa in Tennessee on the line who’s dealing with a home she bought without having an inspection first. Let’s hear what’s going on.

    LISA: Hi. Well, first of all, let me just clarify that my husband is the one who bought the home and he bought it before we were married, so I just kind of inherited it whenever I (inaudible at 0:13:17) and married him. So …

    TOM: See, now, if you were married, you never would have let him do that without a good home inspection.

    LISA: Exactly. OK. We have some spots – we have carpet in a few of our rooms and each of the rooms, there are some sunken spots. Like you can walk across and it sinks, kind of gives with you. And then the rest of the time, it’s OK. There’s other places that are just fine.

    And I’ve had somebody go underneath and check for structural damage, water damage or termites. Can’t find anything; they say it’s OK. So, beyond ripping up the carpet and just seeing what it is, do you have a suggestion on what that could be?

    TOM: Well, just define the sunken spot. When you step on it, is it soft or something like that?

    LISA: Yes, it’s kind of spongy, almost, like it just sinks; it gives with you.

    TOM: And you can get underneath and you can look up and you don’t see any decay or anything of that nature?

    LISA: Well, as far as I know. Now, I’ve not been under. My husband – we’re not either one able to get underneath, just due to health conditions. And so we’ve had others go under and look and they’ve all said structurally, it looks sound, didn’t see any termite damage. We don’t have any water damage underneath. So, don’t really know what it is that’s causing it.

    TOM: And how many areas across the floor do you see these sunken spots?

    LISA: Well, you can’t actually see them. It’s just when you walk across them. But I would say …

    TOM: You feel them?

    LISA: You feel them, exactly.

    TOM: Yeah. I wonder if the – I wonder if it’s something as simple as the padding breaking down under the carpet. Maybe it’s not a structural problem.

    Well, listen, the only way you’re going to know is – we can’t really guess. You’re going to have to pull that carpet back. It’s not a terrible project to pull that – pull wall-to-wall carpet up and then have it, you know, re-tacked down. If you’re really concerned about it, that’s what I would do.

    LISA: Right. I’ve been looking to get new carpet anyway, so that might be a good excuse.

    TOM: Well, there you go. Now you’ve got a great excuse.

    LISA: OK.

    TOM: And let me tell you something, when you pull that carpet up, Lisa, if you evaluate that floor – how old is this house?

    LISA: Oh, gosh. See, I’m not even sure. Probably back in the 80s?

    TOM: OK. So it probably has a plywood floor and it was nailed down, if it was done in the 80s. What you want to do is you want to have the installer – or you could even do this yourself – take some drywall screws – those are those long, black, case-hardened drywall screws. You drive them in with a drill driver, so you do it automatically, and you screw that plywood to the floor while the carpet’s up. And that will quiet the floor and prevent any future squeaks that could occur.

    LISA: OK. Sounds great.

    TOM: Because the nails will loosen up over the last 30-plus years and once you have that carpet up, that’s a golden opportunity to do that.

    LISA: Alright. Well, these are some things to definitely look at. Yes, sir. Thank you so much.

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