Crumbling concrete flooring under carpet

I inspected an apartment. It’s on the second floor. The concrete flooring under the carpet is crumbling significantly, to the point where the cracks and voids can be felt when walking on the carpet laid on top of it. I considered it a problem, as did my partner (who has 25 years in the home construction business). However, the city inspector doesn’t consider it problem. Frankly, I am wondering who is right.

Steven H.

That doesn’t look new. Why was a city inspector there?

It could be a thin layer of self leveling concrete patch over the concrete slab that is crumbling? :thinking:

Apartments and condos can have gypcrete on top of wood subfloors .


It’s not new construction. It’s lightweight concrete, used for noise suppression between floors. The city inspector got involved due to a dispute between the tenant and the landlord. The landlord is basically running a slum, and isn’t really interested in fixing anything. The tenant, trying to get some help, sent the inspection report to the city. The city inspector took a look at the pictures in the report (the ones I posted here) and determined that they were only cosmetic.

This is why I don’t perform tenant inspections. But I agree with the city inspector. Although a nuisance it is largely cosmetic.


Welcome back to our forum, Steven!…Enjoy, the water is warm, most of the time! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Thanks for your answer. It’s not what I expected, but heck, it’s why I asked!
But, just to be clear, and to separate out “structural issue” from “acceptable construction practices”, would you say that it’s cosmetic from a structural point of view (only), or that it’s okay for carpet to be laid upon concrete crumbling so bad it might as well be gravel? I have a hard time imagining having a concrete subcontractor say that that level of work is “acceptable”. If I were the general contractor I don’t think I would be able to let my subs get away with that standard of work. (Admittedly, that’s not really the situation here, as this concrete is over 25 years old. But the landlord just stretched and retacked the carpet over it and called it good. But it’s a useful analogy.)

You were right to call it out, it is a component that is not performing. There will be no structural consequence, only a “comfort consequence”.

The local code enforcement is not going to get involved with how good carpet feels under someone’s feet.

But as a home inspector, it is a problem and should be reported.


What Brian said……

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Also remember, the slumlord may also be drinking buddies with the AHJ and have unknown connections with him!


Heh. Good point. I am going to go with naivete and assume that there aren’t any of those connections. Because I am an optimist at heart (when my cynicism doesn’t get the best of me!)

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I only mentioned a possible connection as it should make no difference in how you inspect/report.
Same as with Agents/Sellers/Contractors, etc.
The Client hired YOU and is paying you for your observations and opinions.
Report what you see. Mention your concerns. Move on to the next issue.


Around here, gypcrete is used for fire rating between floors. I would call it out for repair.


When used over wood structure, like a hotel or apartment building, this is what you will get. A typical mix design for this application has no real structural integrity anyway since more fly-ash is used than portland cement. The aggregate is usually made of pumice type stone, and if not properly hydrated prior to use, it will suck the moisture right out of the mix when pumped causing excessive cracking and spalling, hence the high fly-ash content (it makes it slicker and easier to pump). Not to mention, these floors are usually no mare than 2" thick. I have done several floors like this, and they never last more than a few years without needing some sort of repair.


Good stuff!! Thanks for the info.


Thanks for that! Always a wealth of knowledge.


Even if an issue isn’t a structural concern it can still be a concern and shouldn’t necessarily be dismissed. Cosmetic concerns can be a huge financial concern…and in this case if the choice of flooring materials was anything other than carpet you might expect to experience some of that financial concern…


Carpet is often used as a floor covering in these situations to HIDE something. I’ve even seen carpet installed in garages to hide concrete cracks and stains.


You’re talking apples to Hostess Twinkies.

Code vs Home Inspection … NOT the same thing ESPECIALLY on a pre-owned dwelling

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