The support beams you have installed in your crawl space need just as much maintenance as the rest of your home. Without these beams, your home would sink into its foundation in little to no time at all. It’s not always clear how you should react to a damaged crawl space support beam. In some cases, you may be able to shore these beams up. However, in others, you may have to have new beams installed in your space. Luckily, foundation repair professionals serving North Dakota, eastern Montana, and Minnesota can help you figure out how best to treat any damaged support beams in your crawl space.
What to Know About Crawl Space Support Beams
The crawl space support beams you have inside of your crawl space are most often made from wood or cement. These beams are scattered at regular intervals throughout your crawl space and serve to bear the weight of your home alongside your foundation. Indeed, these beams will carry two separate weights, known as the dead loads and live loads.
Dead loads are classified as the weight of the building materials used to make up your home. Live loads, on the other hand, will take into account the weight of you, your family, and all the belongings you place around your home. Once these loads are estimated, contractors will then decide how to lay down the support beams. Rooms that are bound to bear more weight, such as a garage for instance, will need to have more support compared to a room that will not bear as much, such as an attic.
It is important for many homeowners to take measures to protect their floor’s support beams (also known as joists) from any damage whatsoever. Your floor will not be the only structure affected by these joists’ failure.
You may find yourself in need of an IntelliJack™ system. The IntelliJack™ system helps support damaged crawl space support beams, ensuring that your home remains stable, your floor joists remain secure, and your home doesn’t begin to sink prematurely.
- Fixes Bouncy Floors
The IntelliJack™ system can not only keep your floor joists lifted and your floor completely even, but it can also fix any bouncy or creaking parts of your floor, too. Oftentimes, overly bouncy floors are a sign that the floor joists have become over spanned.
Basically, an over spanned floor joist is when the joist itself may have shifted from damage, rotted down due to mold or other moisture-related issues, or even cracked and thus moved over the span it was meant to cover. Over spanned floor joists can also be the result of a common construction error. Indeed, contractors may get their measurements wrong, or leave these joists over spanned as long as it is up to code.
Fortunately, the IntelliJack™ system can correct any bouncy floor issues with ease. It can correct the span that the joist should be at and ensure that it will not shift out of place ever again.
- Adjustable Coverage
The IntelliJack™ system is adjustable by nature, meaning you can continue to use it to your advantage even after its initial installation. Not only that, but the system pairs well with other home waterproofing measures, meaning you can install a vapor barrier throughout your crawl space, for example, while also using the IntelliJack™ system to keep your support beams in place.
Each support jack has an allowable load capacity of more than 24,000 pounds. They can be transported into and installed into cramped spaces, and they help stabilize the soil beneath your home while also keeping your support beams in place. Finally, once you have an IntelliJack™ system in place, you can rest assured knowing that these systems will not succumb to any moisture that might make its way inside of your home. IntelliJack™ support beams are galvanized for corrosion resistance, meaning that they’re going to resist rusting for much longer than non-galvanized supports.
In short, these alternative support beams can step in for your old supports if it seems your crawl space has sprung a leak. You can rely on them to level your floors as your old supports once did, though without the immediate risk of them succumbing to additional water damage that may linger in your crawl space.
- The Installation Process
It is best to leave the installation of this system to us! Our crawl space experts know this system inside and out, and we have plenty of experience working inside crawl spaces.
First, we will do a quick sweep of your crawl space to get an understanding of the extent of the damage. Then we will install the IntelliJack™ system to any shifted or cracked joists that we see. Installation should not take longer than a few hours, at most, which means you can enjoy a completely leveled floor the very same day.
- Why Crawl Space Support Beams are the Best Repair Option
Crawl space support beams are far more efficient than other solutions you might find. Floor joist damage is no joke, which is why you cannot rely on cheap, light-duty jack posts to get the job done. The same can be said for bottle jacks. These posts will likely become squashed or break under the pressure, leading to the same floor sagging issues all over again.
You may also think that sistering the joists will do the trick, too. This process primarily consists of adding yet another joist under the damaged one to straighten it out again. Think of it like a tourniquet but for your sinking floor joist. Of course, if your crawl space faces moisture issues, this only works as temporary relief to this sagging problem, at best. This sistered joist could just as easily be susceptible to rot, shifting, or cracking over time. Therefore, you need a floor joist solution that will not give way nor give up on you.
Crawl Space Support Beam Failure: The Causes
When you first move into a new home or choose to build your own, you’re probably not thinking too much about what kind of protections your crawl space support beams might need. These beams hold the entirety of your house up and ensure that it is structurally sound. If these beams start to fail, your home may begin to sink prematurely.
Why, do crawl space support beams start to fail? More often than not, you can blame a crawl space leak.
Hydrostatic pressure is the primary cause of distressed crawl space support beams. This pressure is generated by the moisture in your yard and home. As moisture settles into your structural supports, it can force the molecules to rapidly expand and contract. Your support beams, in turn, can eventually crack from the stress of those rapid changes.
Damaged Floor Joists
You have small support structures attached to your crawl space support beams known as floor joists. These joists connect your support beams to the floors of your home to help support your floors when you walk on them. If your floor joists start to fail, then you may notice your floors becoming bouncier, noisier, or less structurally sound.
Inadequate Structural Design
Unfortunately, there are times when the person who once designed your home may have made a mistake or two when establishing your crawl space. There are a few things that can go wrong during this stage. For starters, the clay bowl effect can come into play. This effect sees the soil around the foundation loosen as professionals dig out a spot for said foundation, pour it, and let it cure. The soil around both your foundation and your crawl space will be looser for the work that’s already been done around your home.
Crawl Space Support Beams
Your crawl space requires more attention than you might imagine if you want to keep your home secure. The longer you let moisture settle in your crawl space, the more likely it is that you’ll find yourself contending with more severe damage later down the line.
- Immediate Crawl Space Damage
When your crawl space first starts to show signs of damage, you may think that what you’re seeing is insubstantial. However, even insubstantial damage can have a long-term impact on both your quality of life and the value of your home. Some of the most common problems to arise in your home as soon as your crawl space support beams start to go include:
- Less stability in your floors and walls
- Increased levels of humidity and moisture throughout the whole of your home
- Inconsistent temperatures throughout your home
- Higher electric bills
Because that excess moisture in the air lowers the temperature in your crawl space, your HVAC system will fight to compensate for the constantly changing temperatures in your home. In short, your HVAC system ends up overworked as soon as moisture begins to make its way indoors – meaning that not only will you face higher bills, but that you may have to replace part of your HVAC system sooner than you might like to.
- Crawl Space Leaks and Foundation Damage
As mentioned, not repairing the structural supports in your crawl space—or failing to repair your crawl space itself—can have a significant impact on the safety of your family in your home. Not only can the said problems grow worse over time, but the moisture gathering in your home—the same moisture that compromises the structural integrity of your support beams—can eventually soak down into your foundation.
As your foundation takes on water damage, the whole of your home can begin to sink. This kind of sinkage can cause your floors to buckle, making them unsafe to walk on and less capable of supporting your home. Similarly, your walls can begin to separate from their supports. Before long, your home may have lost up to thirty percent of its market value, and your family may begin experiencing respiratory problems where they hadn’t before. With those consequences of inaction in mind, it is in your best interest to act as soon as possible if you suspect that your crawl space’s support beams may be failing. Note that area contractors can help you get your crawl space back into shape whether moisture proves to be the root of your problems or another force seems to be in play.
You always have the option to repair your crawl space support beams on your own. However, trying to DIY crawl space support beam repair isn’t always as financially practical as it seems. It’s also entirely possible that you may do more damage to your home than you mean to by trying to repair your support beams on your own.
- Losing Money on Repairs
Repairing your own home can cost you a pretty penny. While it can be gratifying to take your work into your own hands, you’ll have to make room in your repair budget for any tools you may need, even if you’re only going to use them once. Similarly, you’ll want to make sure you have the materials you need on hand to invest in repairs, or else all the work you’ll have done will be for nothing.
Unfortunately, if you’re not careful, you may end up blowing through your repair budget before you’ve started on your work. Alternatively, professional contractors can often make deals with other parties in their industry to secure deals on materials and specialty tools. That’s why it can be a little less expensive for them to go about repairing your home than for you to try your hand at your own repairs.
- Losing Value on Your Home
Even if you imagine saving money buying specialty tools and materials, there is always a chance that you may accidentally make matters worse for yourself around your home. Without any experience repairing crawl spaces or other parts of your home, you may well improperly uninstall the support beams you already have in place. Alternatively, after putting your new support beams in place, you may think that you’ve addressed the problem you’re contending with. It’s possible that you may have installed your beams incorrectly.
When you improperly install these materials around your home, or if you accidentally cover up those symptoms that indicate damage, you may face significant trouble with your crawl space later down the line. The longer you allow moisture to settle in your home undetected, the more likely it is that the damage in question can start to affect the structural integrity of your home’s foundation.
Protect Your Home with the Help of Foundation Repair Experts
When it comes to maintaining your crawl space, the experts at Innovative Basement Authority are here to help! Our professionals can help you determine what may be wrong with your crawl space and offer tailored solutions to fix it. During the inspection, they will provide you with a free quote noting what repairs and waterproofing measures will resolve the issue at hand.
Your crawl space support beams need just as much love and care as the rest of your home. If you’re having problems with the structural supports in your crawl space, please reach out to our team.