In homes without basements, the crawl space is the empty space under the building between the ground and the first floor. They’re called ‘’crawl spaces’’ because they’re just big enough for someone to crawl around in, but not stand up. The role of a crawl space is to keep the home off the ground. It’s also where you’ll usually find wiring, plumbing, and the home’s central air conditioning system.
Causes Of Crawl Space Foundation Problems
We’ve inspected many homes that had signs of settlement – cracked walls and misaligned windows and doors – even though the foundation was level. This usually happens for the following reasons…
- The interior crawl space support posts have settled. This is often because they were installed in problematic soils that experience a lot of seasonal movement. For example, expansive clay soil.
- There is poor drainage around the exterior of the home which allows water intrusion into the crawlspace. This softens the soil supporting the pier blocks.
- The existing screw jacks were installed incorrectly at grade level and have no corrosion protection. This allows moisture contact and deterioration of the screw jack base.
- There isn’t enough support. Sometimes, the original design didn’t provide adequate support for the floor. If so, more support may be needed.
Both will cause your interior floors to settle or sag. You might notice that the floor squeaks or feels spongy as you walk on it. You might also notice that your furniture seems to shake as you walk by. Whenever a crawl space starts to settle or sag, the building is in danger. The main causes of crawl space foundation problems are…
Not enough support posts. Sometimes, the crew that built the home simply didn’t use the number of support posts necessary to support the building’s weight.
The support posts are sinking because the soil can’t support them. When this happens they fall out of plumb, That is, they are no longer vertical, as they should be.
Crawl Space Foundation Repair Methods
A sagging crawl space can be repaired using screw jacks which come in various sizes and weight capacities. In most cases, the existing pier blocks are in perfectly good shape and don’t need to be replaced. Instead, we just remove and replace the posts or the deteriorated screw jacks. At that point the floor can be lifted and leveled.
Benefits of Using Screw Jacks
Screw jacks are very versatile and allow the user to adjust floors in hard-to-reach areas with limited access. For example, in crawl spaces.
Screw jacks are fast and easy to install, and will immediately support the floor’s weight. They can also be easily serviced for leveling thereby eliminating the need to cut new wood posts.
The main benefit of screw jacks is the fact that you can adjust them later. This may be necessary if the footing settles in the future, or if other structural movement occurs. Screw jacks are often used in conjunction with push piers to prevent that future settlement.
If you’re in Northern California and your crawl space is starting to settle or sag, contact us right away for a free foundation inspection.
We’re a professional foundation repair company with 15 years of experience and over 2700 successful foundation repairs and replacements under our belt. We know how to handle crawl space problems. You’ll be in good hands!
For more information about common foundation problems and how to spot and fix them, download our free foundation repair guide for homeowners in Northern California.