Addressing crawl space damage is not something that many homeowners enjoy dealing with, although it is important to the structural safety and environment of a home. If you think something may have gone wrong in your crawl space, you can reach out to area experts to schedule a home inspection and determine whether you need to invest in crawl space structural repair.
Protecting Your Crawl Space with the IntelliJack™ System
It is always in your best interest to try and put safety measures in place for your crawl space before damage can set in. With that in mind, you’ll want to try and patch up any damage done to your crawl space in between bursts of rain. This way, you can prevent future water damage that might present more challenges later.
- Correct Sagging or Bouncing Floors
Consider this: The longer you leave cracks to fester without repair, the worse off the damage you’re contending with is going to become. Cracks that spend more time in proximity with water or suffering from hydrostatic pressure can widen and worsen to the point where they destabilize both your crawl space and your foundation, to the detriment of the rest of your home.
Innovative Basement Authority’s IntelliJack™ system can correct any shifting or cracked floor joists with ease. You don’t have to worry about your floor sagging or bouncing ever again with this system installed within your crawl space!
This includes your floor’s support beams, also known as floor joists. These joists are responsible for keeping your floor perfectly level and bearing the weight of your family, and your belongings on top of it. When the foundation becomes damaged, so can these floor joists. Without a stable floor joist system, your floor may start to show signs of sagging or bouncing in places.
This is where our IntelliJack™ system can come in! Our crawl space experts can install this system to correct any shifted or broken joists, ensuring that your floor will no longer sag or bounce ever again.
- Take Advantage of Our Free Crawl Space Inspections
Before we get to work on installing this powerful system inside your crawl space, we will send one of our crawl space experts over to inspect the place first. This will give us a better idea of the extent of the damage we will need to repair for you as well as where to install the tough steel IntelliJack™ posts.
You can ask our experts any questions you might have about this system, including how it can protect your home against any of this damage from happening again. We will be happy to give you a free estimate of our services as well.
- Installation of the IntelliJack™ System
The base is the most important part of this system. Without a sturdy base to hold the jacks in place, they will fail to properly support your joists up. First, our experts will excavate a hole for each post we plan to set. Each hole is filled with a tightly compact, crushed stone to set the base in place.
Once this is set down, we will then lay a pre-cast, precisely leveled concrete base on top of this fill as a footing for the system. This is what makes each base able to bear the weight of each steel post cut to length to fit the base to the crawl space ceiling. Each post is also made of a triple-layer, in-line galvanized coating that ensures that each jack post remains permanently rust-free, corrosion-resistant, and durable to anything that threatens your foundation.
The posts will then be able to better distribute your home’s weight across the base and soil around it. The bases also ensure that this supporting soil will not wash out or settle from moisture, too. Should your floor joists also happen to be cracked, the jack posts can also easily close them up again. This ensures that your crawl space ceiling and floor alike will stay perfectly lifted and leveled from the soil.
Another benefit to this jack system is that it is also easily adjustable. Should the joists face any more damage, our experts can go in and easily tighten each jack to the appropriate height again.
- Other Crawl Space Waterproofing Methods
Investing in crawl space waterproofing measures is the next best step. Even if you’re not actively contending with damage, different crawl space waterproofing measures can help you ward away the water that might compromise your home’s value and integrity later down the line. Some of the most effective crawl space waterproofing measures include:
- Encapsulation with a vapor barrier
- Support beam jacks
- Sump pumps
- Interior drains
- Waterproof insulation
The professionals working in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana can walk through your crawl space with you and help you determine which of the solutions in their catalog can help you best seal away your space from the worst of your local weather.
Support Beam Jacks
As noted, your crawl space is an especially delicate part of your home. If it starts to show signs of strain related to hydrostatic pressure or other forces at work in your lawn, the whole of your home may face a structural risk. Protecting your crawl space, in turn, means not only preventing that kind of structural damage but also preserving your home’s value and protecting your family’s health.
- Water Damage and Your Home’s Market Value
The moisture that makes its way into your home comprises the overall integrity not only of your crawl space but of any exposed supports therein—not to mention your foundation. The stack effect, as mentioned, both makes your home less pleasant to stay in and can damage many of the supports in your home’s upper levels, too.
If you want to put your home on the market at some point soon, you will want to make sure you’ve done as much as you can to keep that unwanted moisture out of your crawl space. If you let water damage spread over an extended period, you risk losing up to 30 percent of your home’s market value.
- Water Damage and Your Family’s Health
That same moisture, be it the work of hydrostatic pressure or the stack effect, can put your family’s health at risk. Moisture, even when it does not beget mold or other negative forces within your space, can aggravate some parties’ preexisting conditions. You and your family may find yourself contending with unexpected allergic reactions or respiratory issues. Even family members without preexisting conditions can start to develop allergies or related conditions if exposed to crawl space moisture for an extended period.
If any mold spores manage to take root in your home, you may find yourself facing health problems that are even more serious than those posed by moisture alone. Most types of mold, if allowed to flourish in your home, can cause health problems ranging from a persistent cough to long-term lung damage.
Budget-conscious homeowners can find themselves reluctant to take on the cost of crawl space repair and waterproofing. Many who still want to benefit from these protections may consider DIY-ing their way to a safer home. Unfortunately, trying to repair and protect your crawl space without a reasonable amount of experience under your belt can result in more trouble than the process may be worth.
- DIY and Your Budget
Primarily, consider your DIY budget. Your crawl space may not take up much of your home’s square footage, but that doesn’t mean that repairing it can’t cost you a pretty penny. Not only will you have to purchase the materials that you need to restore your crawl space, but you may also have to invest in specialty tools that, outside of crawl space repair, you’ll never use again.
Professional contractors, on the other hand, already have the specialty tools and connections they need to seal your crawl space. Many will also have deals with local manufacturers that allow them to secure any necessary materials or home waterproofing measures for less than you would if you went to the marketplace.
- DIY and Additional Crawl Space Damage
There is always a chance that you may do more damage than good to your crawl space if you try to take on repairs without help. Without any experience repairing crawl spaces, you may accidentally remove a support that needs to stay in place or otherwise inappropriately install the waterproofing measures you’re most interested in. In these cases, you may even cover up the signs of water damage that might otherwise give significant foundation failure or similar conditions away.
If additional damage is caused, you’ll have to contact a professional to repair the damage that you tried to fix in the first place. Not only will your repairs cost more, as the damage to your home will have worsened over time, but contractors will have to charge you to remove the waterproofing measures or other means you put into place on your own. Effectively, you can end up running up your crawl space repair budget without meaning to, should you try to invest in crawl space repairs and waterproofing measures on your own.
It isn’t always easy to determine whether your crawl space is in good condition. Often, you may want to know how this damage can even affect the rest of your home if it is so well hidden.
- Foundation Failure
If you do want to try and get a better idea of how your foundation is holding up, you’ll want to look at the conditions in your crawl space. Certain symptoms of damage will make themselves known throughout your home when something starts to go wrong, allowing you to react in an appropriate amount of time. Some of the most common signs of foundation failure to keep an eye out for include:
- Stair-step cracks outside of your home
- Horizontal or diagonal cracks inside of your basement or crawl space
- Visibly wet soil around the perimeter of your home
- Gaps between your ceiling and the walls
- Popping floor joists
- Uneven floors
Of course, these symptoms can also indicate that something’s wrong with your crawl space or basement, independent of the condition of your foundation. Luckily, professional contractors can help you identify these symptoms during an annual home inspection. You’ll want to work to distinguish the specificity of the damage you’re contending—by its hydrostatic pressure, tree roots, or another force—before investing in any repairs.
- The Stack Effect
Your crawl space is the starting point for the stack effect, which can utterly upend any comfort you experience living in your own home. You likely already know the basics of the stack effect. Under most circumstances, warmer air in your home moves up into the first and second floors instead of lingering down in your crawl space. That air tends to rise because it is not as dense as cooler air.
However, as moisture settles in your crawl space, the amount of cool air in your home can create a pressure difference between the lower floors and the upper ones. When the pressure in your home falls out of balance, moisture-laden air can more readily make its way into the upper levels of your home, forcing that lighter, warmer air back outdoors. As that moisture-laden air makes its way into your first and second floors, you may find structural damage that was previously relegated to your crawl space and foundation appearing elsewhere in your space.
Understanding Potential Crawl Space Damage
Your crawl space has near-direct contact with many of the elements that can facilitate rot, sinkage, and other forms of destabilizing damage. The most common forms of crawl space damage you’ll come across include:
Sinking Crawl Space Supports
The structural supports in your crawl space help keep your floors even and your walls in place. Unfortunately, as the ground beneath your crawl space—or in an unsealed crawl space—starts to shift, these supports can begin to sink. This results in uneven and sagging floors within your home, and in a worst-case scenario, the collapse of parts of your floor.
Poor Crawl Space Design
On occasion, the construction team that put together your crawl space in the first place may have made a few mistakes. Your crawl space may not be up to code, or the supports therein may be made from inappropriate materials.
Rotting Floor Joists
Your floor joists rest in between the floorboards of your home. There, they help keep your floors in tip-top shape, supporting them from below and preventing them from sagging.
Unfortunately, like many of the supports in your crawl space, your joists can readily fall victim to water damage and begin to rot and rust or fall apart.
Signs of Potential Crawl Space Damage
Being as sensitive as it is, your crawl space will let you know almost immediately if something is wrong with the humidity levels in the air. Some of the most definitive signs of crawl space water damage include:
- Damp walls
- Bowing walls
- Sagging floors
- Rusting floor and rim joists
- Standing water or ice
- Mold or mildew growth
- Sticking windows or doors
- Fogging windows
- Fast, Year-Round Installation — The IntelliJack® can be installed year-round, with installations completing in about a day. There’s no waiting time for concrete to cure!
- Strong Crawl Space Support — Our crawl space support system has an allowable load capacity of more than 24,000 pounds per support jack, and is tested and certified to the highest industry standards.
- Versatile Installation — The IntelliJack®’s portable size allows it to be installed in even the tightest of crawl spaces.
- Superior Support — Our support jacks do more than merely halt the downward movement of your floor. The IntelliJack® may also be adjusted to try to lift the floor above to its original position.
Connect with Professionals Serving Eastern Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota
If you want help protecting your crawl space from sinking support beams or other forms of water damage, you can reach out to our team at Innovative Basement Authority for help. Your local experts can guide you through the process of repairing a damaged crawl space and protecting it against future water damage. Reach out today for a free home inspection and repair quote.