Structural Repair in Crawl Spaces – Big Picture – BAY Crawlspace and Foundation Repair
Just like everything else, homes are supported from bottom to top. Everything starts with the foundation. For homes with a crawl space, the foundation includes both the continuous perimeter footing that supports the outside walls of the home but also includes individual footings that support the piers which carry the floor framing.
The footings are designed to support the home with minimal movement. In other words, the foundation is not supposed to move. So if you want to diagnose your home structurally the first thing we want to do is to look for cracks or unevenness in the floors.
So here’s the first rule of thumb in structural repair. Cracking and uneven floors tells us there has been movement. Now that we know there has been movement and we don’t want movement, we need to find out, what has moved?
It’s important to accurately diagnose what has moved. Was it the foundation failing, was it the pier settling, have the beams started bowing, are the wood members compressing under the weight of the home, have the floor joists started sagging, is the wood rotting, or were the supports just installed in the wrong place when the house was built?
With an accurate structural drawing, you can understand how the house is constructed and how different areas of your house are being supported. The drawing is critical for a good diagnosis. Once you have a good drawing, it’s not hard to understand where the problems are coming from. Sometimes there are multiple factors that come into play and we may need multiple solutions if that makes sense.
Anyways, the second rule of thumb in structural repair is that if something is moving, it doesn’t have enough support and needs more support. Simple enough right?
There are only so many good options for adding support and each option addresses an individual source of the problem.
So of the foundation is settling, we should install a foundation support like a push pier.
If the joists are sagging, we recommend additional floor supports with a new supplemental beam. That’s actually what we have installed here. You’re looking at a Titan Adjustable Crawl Jack designed to stabilize the structure and also give us the best opportunity for correction and lift.
If a pier is settling or a beam is bowing, we also use the Titan Crawl Jacks to stabilize the existing beam and attempt correction.
Now let’s say a beam is rotten, it may need to be replaced and if a joist has had moisture damage, it may need to be sistered. So a joist sister, for those of you who are just hearing the term, is when you install an identical size joist next to the damaged joist to restore strength back to that damaged joist.
Sill plates can also be damaged by moisture and if that happens, the should be replaced if possible. Finally, the subfloor can be supported from underneath with a process called subfloor plating if it needs more support and it doesn’t make sense to tear up the floors from above to replace the subfloor.
This has been a brief over-view of crawl space repair in crawl spaces to give you an idea of the big picture. Obviously there is much more to cover to go into depth on any of the subjects covered but I hope this has helped.
Our company, Bay Crawlspace, offers free inspections from highly trained inspectors if you live within 50 miles in any direction from our VA Beach location, please feel free to give us a call if you have any concerns about your crawl space, foundation or basement, and we’ll take great care of you.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask below in the comment section and we will keep the conversation going! Thanks for joining and have a great day!