Crawl Space Foundation Repairs

Crawl space foundations are a very popular type of construction throughout the U.S. and many homeowners know that crawl spaces have one inherent drawback – sagging floors. Floors that are sagging 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.

Vapor Barrier inside crawl space

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 fluctuations in soil moisture, freeze and 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.

What Causes Crawl Space Problems?

Crawl spaces are often prone to problems because they are located below ground level. This means that they can be damp and dark, which provides the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow. In addition, crawl spaces are often poorly ventilated, which can cause the temperature to fluctuate. These temperature fluctuations can cause the wood in the crawl space to expand and contract, resulting in cracks and other damage.

Furthermore, crawl spaces are often home to pests such as insects and rodents, which can cause damage to the insulation and wiring. As a result, it is important to take steps to prevent crawl space problems before they occur. Some simple measures include ensuring that the crawl space is properly ventilated and regularly inspecting the space for signs of damage.

Hydrostatic Pressure

Hydrostatic pressure is the force exerted by a fluid on a material object. When it comes to your home, hydrostatic pressure can cause problems in your crawlspace. The soil around your foundation is constantly trying to push inward from the weight of the earth and water pressure. When there’s too much hydrostatic pressure, it can cause cracks in your foundation or walls, which can lead to water infiltration. In addition, hydrostatic pressure can also compress your insulation, making it less effective.

If you think you have a problem with hydrostatic pressure in your crawl space, it’s important to contact a professional for an assessment. By taking action early, you can help prevent serious damage to your home.

Moisture

If your crawlspace is not properly ventilated, humid air can condense on the cold surface of the floor joists, leading to wood rot and mold growth. In addition, rainwater can leak through cracks in the foundation, resulting in pooled water in the crawl space.

To prevent moisture problems, it is important to make sure that your crawl space is properly ventilated. You should also check for any leaks in the foundation and repair them as soon as possible. By taking these measures, you can help to keep your crawl space dry and free of moisture-related problems.

Humidity

One of the most important aspects of crawl space care is controlling humidity levels. High humidity can lead to mold and mildew growth, which can cause serious health problems for residents. Additionally, excessive moisture can damage floor joists and other structural elements.

Crawl spaces should be inspected regularly, and any signs of moisture should be addressed immediately. Homeowners can use a dehumidifier to control humidity levels, and they should also ensure that ventilation is adequate. Taking these steps will help to keep the crawl space dry and free of harmful mold and mildew.

Crawl Space Repair Solutions

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 and secure foundation for your home.

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