Are you a homeowner looking for information about repairing a crawl space foundation? If so, you’ve landed on the right page. In this article, we’ll outline basic information about why it’s essential for homeowners to make sure their crawl space foundation is in tip-top shape. We’ll explain the most common causes of problems with crawl space foundations, give you information about repair options, and offer advice on how you can even prevent foundation trouble.
What is a Crawl Space Foundation
If you live in a home with a crawl space foundation, there will be a space under the living area from 1.5-3 feet high or just enough room to crawl around but not stand up. The area is held up using support beams, girders, and joists.
Homeowners like crawl space foundations because they offer easy access to the home’s plumbing and electrical wiring for repairs. However, that doesn’t mean crawl space foundations are without their downsides.
Most Common Causes Of Crawl Space Foundation Problems
Crawl space foundations – like any other foundation – can develop problems. The most common causes of crawl space foundation issues include the following:
- Settled support piers that are no longer vertical – This can happen if the support piers are set in expansive soil that swells as it soaks up moisture and then shrinks as it dries out. This back and forth, swelling and shrinking, creates movement in the ground, which can cause the support piers to become non-vertical.
- Drainage problems around the foundation – If poor drainage leads to soft, soggy soil, the pier blocks won’t be well supported.
- The wooden crawl space support piers have rotted – If wood rot sets in, it will affect the ability of the piers to support the floor.
- Screw jacks that weren’t correctly installed – They might have been incorrectly installed at grade level, and if they’re not coated with something to protect them from corrosion, moisture in the crawl space could cause them to deteriorate.
- Not enough support piers – If there aren’t enough support piers in the crawl space, the floor won’t be adequately supported.
Scheduling an annual inspection will ensure you catch crawl space issues early before they have a chance to turn into big problems that will cost a lot of money to fix.
Check out a Crawl Space Foundation Inspection!
Signs Your Crawl Space Might Need Repair
Signs you might need to take a closer look at your crawl space include the following:
- The humidity level in your home is rising – This could be a sign there’s excess moisture in your crawl space. If so, this could cause a lot of problems if left unaddressed.
- Your floors are uneven, squeaky, bouncy, or all three!
- Furniture shakes when you walk by.
- You’ve noticed unexplained increases in the cost of energy – Humid air is harder to heat and cool, and an increase in humidity might be a sign there’s excess moisture in the crawl space.
- Wall or Tile cracks
- There’s mold on the baseboard or floor above the crawl space – This is a sign that there might be mold in the crawl space starting to make its way into your home’s living area.
- One or more crawl space walls are bowing inward – This might be caused by poor drainage, which has allowed hydrostatic pressure to build up and push against the foundation wall.
- Your home smells musty
If you identify any of these indicators – or anything else that seems suspicious – contact a foundation repair professional right away to schedule an inspection. Catching crawl space problems early will save you money on repair costs.
Repairing A Crawl Space Foundation
Repairing a crawl space foundation often involves simply replacing the support piers or installing screw jacks to lift and level the floor. The pier blocks are usually in good condition, so they don’t need to be replaced. For more information, see Crawlspace Jacks: What Homeowners Need To Know.
You’ll also need to solve the root problem though
Often, merely replacing the support piers or installing screw jacks isn’t going to solve the root problem, though. For example, if the support piers became unlevel because of soft, soggy soil created by poor drainage, you’ll need to solve that problem. If you don’t, the new piers or screw jacks will also settle into the ground eventually. We recommend installing a drain tile system to ensure the soil around the foundation stays dry.
If you spot a crawl space issue, don’t wait to take action.
If you notice an issue with your home’s crawl space foundation, it’s essential to take action immediately before the problem gets any worse. We also recommend leaving any necessary crawl space foundation repairs to qualified experts with the expertise and tools required to get the job done right. Unless you’ve done this kind of work before, we don’t recommend DIY crawl space repair. A professional foundation repair team will ensure your crawl space is repaired correctly.
A Drain Tile System Will Help Keep Your Crawl Space Dry
Nothing beats a drain tile system if you’re looking for the best crawl space waterproofing solution. Drain tile prevents excess moisture from building up in the ground around the foundation. There are two types of drain tile systems, exterior and interior. Both can be installed in existing homes.
If you are located in the Bay Area and need drainage or think you may have a drainage issue, we highly recommend our great friends over at Bay Drainage.
Crawl space encapsulation plus a dehumidifier kicks it up a notch.
Many homeowners with crawl space foundations also choose to encapsulate the crawl space and then add a dehumidifier. Crawl space encapsulation involves sealing all vents and covering the floor and walls of the crawl space with a thick, vapor-retarding barrier. The result is a clean, dry crawl space that can even be used to store things like tools and holiday decorations.
How To Prevent Crawl Space Foundation Problems
The best way to prevent crawl space foundation problems is to ensure good drainage around the foundation. When there’s no excess moisture in the soil around the foundation, this greatly reduces the chance of crawl space trouble.
Here are some ways to keep water away from your home’s foundation:
- Clean your gutters regularly to ensure they’re not clogged with dead leaves and other debris. You don’t want water spilling over the side of your house and soaking the ground around the foundation.
- Use downspout extensions to carry runoff away from the foundation.
- Don’t plant flowers, shrubs, and other vegetation types right next to the house because they need water.
- If necessary, regrade your yard, so it slopes away from the foundation. This will ensure that water doesn’t drain toward the foundation.
- Install a drain tile system. When it comes to crawl space waterproofing, this is the best solution by far.
If you’re looking for professional help repairing a crawl space foundation, contact Bay Area Underpinning today. We serve all of Northern California.