Crawl space foundations are a very popular type of construction throughout the US and many homeowners know that many crawlspaces have one inherent drawback – sagging floors. Floors that are sagging or not level create many issues for homeowners from cracked tiles and squeaky floors to potentially failed foundations. These issues require that homeowners seek a solution for supporting these floors to original height and levelness. The problem is the many flawed systems designed to provide homeowners relief.
The first aspect to review when looking for foundation repair solutions is to understand the cause of the problem. In the construction of a crawlspace foundation, piers are placed below the support beams to give support for the home. These piers can be made from a variety of materials ranging from concrete blocks to wooden posts. These piers rest upon either shallow concrete pads or lightly compacted soils. Over time these piers move with the soil due to fluctuation in soils moisture, freeze – thaw cycles or soil compaction due to water intrusion. As the pier sinks into the soil the floor is no longer supported, hence sagging floors.
Many poor foundation repair contractors place ill-conceived solutions such as steel posts or by simply encapsulating the crawl space with a vapor barrier in an effort to control the moisture. By supplementing a crawl space foundation with steel posts, resting on the soil or even a shallow foundation (<7’ deep), is a temporary fix at best. Obviously resting a new support in the same fashion as the failed piers will not work for long. If the foundation repair or waterproofing contractor installs an encapsulation system without a deep foundation support system this will only slow the settlement without solving the problem.
Installing a deep foundation support system is best done by using a steel push pier system that drives steel pier pipe down to a load bearing soil well below soils that are affected by moisture. Earth Contact Products, the leading resistance pier manufacturer, has developed such a system. ECP’s Model 200 crawl space pier system is specifically designed for crawl spaces and other limited access areas. This system uses the weight of the structure to drive the pier pipe to a load bearing stratum and then using a unique manifold system the structure is simultaneously lifted and locked into place providing a solid, secure foundation for your home.