Crawl spaces are not as common with newbuilds today. But even a decade ago, crawl spaces were still often used.
The truth is, crawl spaces still have a lot to offer a homeowner...that is, if they are usable and stable.
But over time, as homes pass from one owner to the next without ever getting the maintenance they need and deserve, crawl spaces often begin to bear the brunt of casual neglect.
A crawl space is part of what holds up your home – or doesn’t. Once your crawl space starts to sag, you are facing real structural damage and it is time for a lasting solution to protect the investment you’ve made into your home as well as its eventual resale value.
In this post, learn about a surefire solution that will permanently address your crawl space maintenance needs.
How Is a Crawl Space Constructed?
A variety of issues can conspire to cause your crawl space to start sagging. But at the root of every potential issue is a problem with your home’s foundation.
If you have never owned a home with a crawl space before, you might not even be too sure exactly how one is made or what makes it different from a regular home foundation.
A regular basic foundation is essentially a slab of concrete. The utility lines are laid, footers are sunk strategically for extra support, the concrete is poured and cured and then the home is built on top of it.
In contrast, a crawl space is a special type of foundation where the home structure does not sit directly on top of the concrete slab – there is space between the slab and the ground. The house sits atop a lattice of floor joists connecting the house to the foundation.
What Causes a Crawl Space to Sag?
Often, the floor joists are made of wood. And often, older crawl spaces are open to the elements, which means they are either unfinished or vented. This, in turn, causes degradation of the joists over time and attracts bacteria, mould and mildew, weakening the joists further.
Eventually, the entire structure will start to sag as the wood joists weaken and rot. When you walk across the ground floor of your home and notice dips, bumps or slopes, it is quite likely a sagging crawl space is the culprit.
Other common culprits that are often implicated in a sagging crawl space include poorly spaced floor supports, sinking columns or walls as surrounding soil expands or contracts, cracked or compromised drywall, and cracked slabs.
What Fixes a Sagging Crawl Space?
A sagging crawl space should always be taken seriously. In other words, it isn’t the type of home repair issue that can wait too long. One big storm and a crawl space can go from sagging to sinking.
So you always want to arrange to have an estimate done quickly (read on to learn how to get your estimate fast and FREE) so you can start budgeting toward repairs.
The best method to fix a sagging crawl space can vary to some degree depending on the underlying causes.
For example, if the floor joists are rotting, these will need to be repaired or replaced. If the walls or support footers are cracked, sinking or leaning, these will need to be braced and stabilized. If the slab or drywall is cracked, crack repair will need to be applied and cured.
Once these initial repairs have been made, only then is it time to proceed to completely fix your sagging crawl space.
A Permanent Solution to Your Sagging Crawl Space
In nearly every case, moisture is the underlying culprit that contributes to a sagging crawl space. Moisture is also the reason many homeowners give their home’s crawl space a consistently wide berth.
Moisture attracts not only mould and mildew, but also insects, rodents and small animals. Moisture inside a crawl space is never going to be good for your home, so any permanent solution is always going to focus on keeping moisture out.
This starts with learning how to fix a foundation leak from the inside. To do this, you need encapsulation.
Old-school construction methods focused on ventilation for crawl spaces. But today we know that ventilation simply makes crawl space moisture problems worse by introducing even more damp, moisture and humidity into your crawl space.
Encapsulation often begins with an initial temporary process of dehumidification. This gets the humidity and damp out so your crawl space can be permanently and safely sealed, or encapsulated.
Money-Saving Benefits of Crawl Space Encapsulation
Crawl space encapsulation is the best method for how to fix a leaky foundation from the inside.
Encapsulation makes your crawl space usable again. You can go from tiptoeing past that mouldy, stinky, slightly spooky area beneath your home (all the better to not wake the snoozing nocturnal rodents nesting there) to cheerfully storing your holiday decorations, seasonal attire and gear, files and other supplies, knowing they will be safe and protected from damage.
Encapsulation also raises your home’s resale value because it lets prospective homeowners know your home has been updated to the latest crawl space safety and structural standards.
Your homeowner’s insurance provider is likely to respond similarly and you may find you get a nice discount on your next round of homeowners insurance policies after encapsulating your crawl space.
Crawl space encapsulation is a fast, easy, surefire permanent solution to a sagging crawl space. As a side perk, it also often lowers your seasonal heating and cooling bills, ends problems with cold floors and removes pathways insects previously used to sneak inside your home above ground and scare you.
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