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Sagging Crawl Space Problems

Sagging floors above your crawl space are more than just annoying. They're a danger to your home's structural health and your family's safety. Learn more about the causes and repair solutions for sinking, sagging crawl spaces.

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It is vital that you properly maintain your home’s crawl space as best you can. Your house faces severe (and potentially irreversible) structural damage if you do not. Unfortunately, most homeowners will not even know where their crawl space is, much less recognize when an issue crops up within it. 

This can be a huge problem whenever an issue does arise in this space and you are unaware of it. These structural issues will only worsen the longer you do not attend to them. Whether your crawl space has sagging floor joists or flooding issues, Innovative Basement Authority can help. 

How will you know that your crawl space is having problems? What causes problems within the crawl space in the first place? What solutions does Innovative Basement Authority offer to keep your crawl space dry and upright? Let’s take a closer look into all that below. 

Sagging Crawl Space Problem Signs to Look Out For 

You might not be able to see your crawl space sagging without going into this space yourself. However, there are plenty of other signs you can watch out for to know if something is wrong in your crawl space. What are some of the most common crawl space problems?  

  • Cracks  

Cracks along your walls are often a sign of structural damage. They can also invite more moisture to infiltrate your home, resulting in tedious floods that you would then have to drain away yourself. This is why you must treat any cracks you see in your home as soon as you can. 

Hairline cracks that are less than 1/8 of an inch in width will produce small leaks that you may be tempted to ignore. However, these have the potential to expand and damage your foundation even further. Cracks that span along both your walls and floor, on the other hand, spell severe foundational damage that you absolutely cannot put aside. 

  • Uneven Floors 

Of course, if your crawl space is sagging, the floor above it will likely start to sag as well. You might notice your floor visibly starting to dip down or grow uneven in places. This can present a dangerous tripping hazard in the future, so it is imperative that you take care of this issue right away. 

  • Sticking Windows and Doors 

Many homeowners might attribute their doors or windows sticking more than usual to their home aging or some other cause. While this might be the case for some homes, a damaged crawl space might also be a cause for this. 

This is because your foundation is housed within your crawl space. If anything in your crawl space is damaged, your foundation will also likely be negatively affected as well. The foundation is meant to keep the infrastructure of your home upright and level. Should it shift or crack, that infrastructure might start to lean or sway. This then causes your doors and windows to become trapped, resulting in them being harder to open or close.  

  • Mold or Mildew 

If your crawl space retains too much standing moisture over time, it will likely entice mold or mildew to grow along the wooden support beams. This then induces further rot that will spread out to other spaces in your home. This can be especially dangerous if anyone in your family suffers from asthma or chronic lung diseases. 

Mold and mildew are not necessarily toxic fungi, but they can pose several health risks. Those with asthma or chronic lung diseases might find their lungs infected from these fungi. Others might suffer from any of the following symptoms:  

  • Burning or itchy eyes 
  • Stuffy nose 
  • Sore throat 
  • Coughing or wheezing 
  • Skin rash 
  • Fever

What Causes Crawl Spaces to Sag? 

Because your crawl space is tucked away, you might think that nothing could ever reach inside and damage it. This could not be farther from the truth. There are plenty of matters that can cause crawl space damage. Here are some of the most common causes below. 

  • Construction Defects 

Unfortunately, a sagging crawl space might not be your fault whatsoever. It may have been caused by a typical construction defect. Contractors will place block or brick columns throughout your crawl space to support the weight of the rooms above. They must be placed at specific intervals, or you run the risk of the wooden support beams being overloaded with weight. 

This then causes them to sag and create various other structural issues. Innovative Basement Authority has just the support solutions to repair this common defect for you.  

  • Water Damage and Wood Rot 

Moisture trapped in your crawl space can present several issues. The standing water will begin to smell musty after a while, resulting in a rank stench that you may only notice around your first floor. All that standing moisture can also entice mold, mildew, or pests to infest your crawl space. 

The wood support beams that make up the floor joists for your first floor will also rot or wear down over time. They may start to sag as they continue to weaken, which can cause all sorts of structural damage. You might find your floors to be overly bouncy, dipping at certain points, or even softer than normal.  

  • Weak Soil 

Many crawl spaces tend to have dirt floors due to how cheap it is to construct. Oftentimes, the soil quality is quite soft, which only results in support columns sinking deep into it. The girder it was meant to support will then settle or even sag in an attempt to match back up with the column.

The Solution: IntelliJack™ System

A sagging crawl space can present several problems no homeowner wants to deal with. How can Innovative Basement Authority’s IntelliJack™ system repair and bolster your crawl space against future damage or wear?  

  • Free Inspection 

One of our certified field inspectors will first inspect your overall crawl space and customize one of our support systems to better stabilize your unique home. The location for each support jack will be properly mapped out and planned so that your crawl space will no longer face any sagging issues. 

During this process, feel free to ask any questions you might have about the IntelliJack™ system and any other part of the repair process. The entire installation process will not disrupt any of the systems in your home nor will it ruin any of your front yard’s landscaping. 

  • Placing the Pre-Cast Footing 

Once the inspection is complete and repair work has been scheduled, our crawl space repair contractors will then excavate a two-foot square that is two feet deep at each point where we will install the IntelliJack™ system. Each hole is prepared with an engineered fill made up of tightly compacted crushed stone. 

They will then place a pre-cast concrete base on top of the engineered fill as a footing for the entire system. This base is carefully leveled so that it can bear the weight of the steel jack post that will support your crawl space joists. This post will distribute the weight the post hold across a broader area of soil that will not shift, settle, or wash out from moisture. This ensures complete stability and support for your crawl space. 

The weight of your entire home is then distributed across the pre-cast base and fill. Your home will be completely supported without exceeding the posts’ bearing capacity. The IntelliJack™ system will easily support and level out your crawl space no matter the quality of the soil it is set in.  

  • Cutting the Jack Posts to Length 

The steel jack posts must be cut to a precise length that our crawl space experts will work out during the first inspection. Each steel post used in the IntelliJack™ system has a triple-layer, in-line galvanized coating. This coating ensures that each jack post remains permanently rust-free, corrosion-resistant, and durable to boot. 

  • Assembling and Adjusting the System 

Once each post is cut to the correct length, our experts will install them inside your crawl space. The top of each jack post is mounted against the girder to lift and support it. The installation is also carefully plumbed. If your existing girders are undersized or damaged by rot or mold, we may also install a new sister girder in its stead. 

Each jack post is then tightened in order to permanently stabilize and help lift your crawl space joists back to their original position. This does more than straighten and level out your uneven floors again. It can also close up any cracks along your walls and brace your crawl space against anything that might attempt to drag it down in the future. These jack posts will continue to be easily adjustable, so you can tighten each one further, should you need to.  

  • Encapsulating Your Home’s Crawl Space 

Once the IntelliJack™ system is fully installed, our crawl space experts may do another cursory sweep of your crawl space to ensure it will not face any other problems in the future. If your wooden crawl space floor joists have rotted due to mold or other water damage, then you must waterproof them to prevent any further damage. Luckily, Innovative Basement Authority offers a full crawl space waterproofing and encapsulation process that will seal off your crawl space from any outside moisture. 

The process typically involves sealing any open vents in your crawl space, installing an airtight crawl space door, and installing a thick vapor barrier liner all around your crawl space walls and floor. Our experts may also install an interior drainage system and a sump pump to drain away any standing water within the space.

Sagging Crawl Space

FAQs

Your home’s crawl space is located between the ground and first floor. Its ceiling typically ranges from one to three feet high, so it is best to leave any repairs within to the experts.  

  • Holds Vital Systems 

Most homeowners might not think this space is all that special considering they are not even advised to access it without an expert’s help. This is simply not the case. The crawl space is crucial to the health of your entire home for a variety of reasons. For one thing, your crawl space holds the most important systems for your home. This includes your plumbing, your HVAC system, your foundation, your electrical wiring, your insulation, and much more. 

You must keep your crawl space joists and supports level at all times. Without properly supported crawl space joists, you run the risk of damaging these crucial components of your home. The crawl space is narrow enough as it is without the ceiling falling and breaking these vital systems. 

  • Why You Need to Repair a Sagging Crawl Space Right Away 

A sagging crawl space due to a construction defect, mold or rotted wood, or weakened soil can easily grow worse over time. You need to repair this issue as soon as possible to avoid this damage spreading to the other systems within your crawl space. Damage may very likely expand outside the crawl space as well. 

A sagging crawl space also invites moisture into this space, if it has not infiltrated it already. Your crawl space is more likely to flood with rainwater, melted snow, or even old sewage. Not only does this create a rank smell that will not go away until you drain it, but any amount of moisture will also ruin the various systems set up within this space. Fortunately, Innovative Basement Authority can install repairs that will both support your crawl space and waterproof the entire space.

The IntelliJack™ system is the best solution for sagging crawl spaces. Other repair options are not recommended because they tend to be poorly made or work as temporary fixes, at best. Let’s take a closer look into why other repair options simply will not work.  

  • Concrete Columns 

The columns that support your crawl space beams or floor joists are sometimes made from concrete blocks stacked on a concrete footing. These blocks are held together with a simple mortar. The extra space between the top block in the stack and the floor girder above is then filled with wooden spacers known as “shims.” 

Unfortunately, the mortar used to keep the concrete blocks together takes a long time to cure, making this entire process very time-consuming. You also do not have the added benefit of adjustable, tightening columns. This means that you will constantly have to add more shimming as your concrete columns settle into the poor soil. The wood girder itself may also shrink or rot over time, which leads to even more repairs that installing the IntelliJack™ system would prevent.  

  • Additional Shimming 

Constantly installing additional shimming to make up for sinking concrete columns will cost you much more time and money than it is worth. You will also have to buy temporary jacks to lift your girder up while you push these shims into place. Its imprecise placement may also negatively affect the leveling of your crawl space. At best, these additional shims only present a short-term fix before you need to install something more long-lasting like the IntelliJack™ system. 

Additional shims are also of cheap quality. You will not even be able to rely on their support for very long, especially if you live in a more wet climate than most. Storms or other harsh weather might knock some of these cheap shims loose and make your crawl space uneven all over again.  

  • Light-Duty Jack Posts 

Most hardware stores will also sell jack post systems that claim they will lift your crawl space up. However, many of the posts they sell are skinny and are incapable of bearing too much weight at once. Our IntelliJack™ crawl space support system, however, has an allowable load capacity of more than 24,000 pounds per support jack and is tested and certified to the highest industry standards. 

The light-duty jack posts are installed on top of the concrete block that rests on the ground within the crawl space. This not only makes them difficult to adjust but also creates even poorer stability than before. They will also not compensate for weak soils or sinking, so it is best to avoid these systems altogether.

Hire the Best Crawl Space Contractors to Lift Your Sagging Crawl Space 

A sagging crawl space is not an issue that you can ignore for very long. Your home’s overall health depends on how well-maintained your crawl space is. You need to have your crawl space inspected and repaired by Innovative Basement Authority’s experts. Contact us to schedule your free crawl space inspection and repair quote today. You can also ask for more information about our durable IntelliJack™ system or our other encapsulation solutions, too.

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