While we're waiting for an official inspection, I wanted to get some Internet experts' opinions.

I live in the 3rd-floor apartment of a building with two other units below me, all with virtually the same layout. Our living room floor is quite bouncy, so that we can see and feel it move a lot when our child or dog walks by, let alone an adult.

The ceiling of the 2nd-floor living room is visibly sagging and cracking, and moves when the floor upstairs is bouncing. It's pretty scary to see it from below.

Every other floor is solid, including the 2nd and 1st floor living rooms. The 1st floor living room ceiling is flat and free of cracks. This leads me to believe that there is a potentially serious problem with our floor, specifically.

Through all of this the landlord says this is totally normal and expected in an old building. I would agree if it were not completely inconsistent between the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floors.

Am I reasonably concerned here?

  • An inspection will do a good job of assessing on-site conditions. Couple things to ponder from over here: - has a bearing wall been removed in the past on the 2nd floor? (you say "virtually" the same layout) - and catastrophic floor failures are extremely rare, so I'd sleep well at night if it was my place. Jul 31, 2015 at 4:03
  • 2
    If you can see the deflection, something is wrong.
    – Tester101
    Jul 31, 2015 at 10:43
  • By "virtually the same" I mean the 2nd and 3rd floor living rooms are the same layout, and the 1st floor actually has a slightly larger living room, but it's sitting over a basement with more walls acting as supports. Jul 31, 2015 at 12:31
  • The joists could be notched or holes drilled for plumbing pipes, which would weaken them. If the bouncy effect occurred recently, the joists could split and "check" if they are cut timbers. If they are engineered joists, glue between the web and flanges could be failing. (Defects occur in timber and manufacturing from time to time.)
    – Lee Sam
    May 28, 2017 at 17:08

1 Answer 1


The joists are undersize or the center distance is too great to provide the stiffness you want.It is likely strong enough unless you want large aquariums.

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