In homes without basements, the crawl space is the empty space under the building between the ground and the first floor. They’re called ‘’crawl spaces’’ because they’re just big enough for someone to crawl around in, but not stand up. The role of a crawl space is to keep the home off the ground. It’s also where you’ll usually find wiring, plumbing, and the home’s central air conditioning system.
Causes Of Crawl
Space Foundation Problems
We’ve inspected many homes that had signs of settlement – cracked walls and misaligned windows and doors – even though the foundation was level. This usually happens for the following reasons…
- The interior crawl space support posts have settled. This is often because they were installed in problematic soils that experience a lot of seasonal movement. For example, expansive clay soil.
- There is poor drainage around the exterior of the home which allows water intrusion into the crawlspace. This softens the soil supporting the pier blocks.
- The existing screw jacks were installed incorrectly at grade level and have no corrosion protection. This allows moisture contact and deterioration of the screw jack base.
There isn’t enough support. Sometimes, the original design didn’t provide adequate support for the floor. If so, more support may be needed.
Foundation Repair Methods
A sagging crawl space can be repaired using screw jacks which come in various sizes and weight capacities. In most cases, the existing pier blocks are in perfectly good shape and don’t need to be replaced. Instead, we just remove and replace the posts or the deteriorated screw jacks. At that point the floor can be lifted and leveled. We also install only galvanized steel screw jacks to add protection from any corrosion and rusting.
Benefits of Using
Screw jacks are very versatile and allow the user to adjust floors in hard-to-reach areas with limited access. For example, in crawl spaces.
Screw jacks are fast and easy to install, and will immediately support the floor’s weight. They can also be easily serviced for leveling thereby eliminating the need to cut new wood posts.
The main benefit of screw jacks is the fact that you can adjust them later. This may be necessary if the footing settles in the future, or if other structural movement occurs. Screw jacks are often used in conjunction with push piers to prevent that future settlement.
Is It Worth It To
Repair A Crawl Space Foundation?
Yes, absolutely. The crawl space is literally holding up your home. Therefore, you want it as strong and sturdy as possible.
If you’re in Northern California and your crawl space is starting to settle or sag, contact us right away for a free foundation inspection.
We’re a professional foundation repair company with 15 years of experience and over 2700 successful foundation repairs and replacements under our belt. We know how to handle crawl space problems. You’ll be in good hands!
For more information about common foundation problems and how to spot and fix them, download our free foundation repair guide for homeowners in Northern California.
What is a
crawl space foundation?
A crawl space foundation elevates the house above the ground, allowing a small space (typically 1.5 to 3 feet high) between the ground and the bottom of the house.
What are the most common problems with
crawl space foundations?
Some of the most common issues and challenges associated with crawl space foundations are:
- Moisture – Unless you live in a highly arid region, your crawl space will be prone to moisture-related problems. Excess moisture in a crawl space can lead to mold growth, wood rot, and structural damage.
- Pests – Damp, dark crawl spaces also provide an ideal habitat for rodents and termites.
- Poor Insulation – Since the crawl space isn’t livable, many homeowners may overlook proper insulation, leading to energy loss and higher utility bills.
- Structural Damage – Poor foundation design, inadequate support, and soil movement can cause structural damage to a crawl space foundation over time, leading to cracks, uneven settlement, and other issues.
- Poor Indoor Air Quality – A damp, moldy crawl space can lead to poor indoor air quality, including unpleasant odors, allergens, and other contaminants that can affect the health of the home’s occupants.
How do I know if my
crawl space foundation needs repair?
Common signs a crawl space needs attention include sagging floors, doors or windows that stick or won’t close properly, and visible cracks in interior walls.
crawl space foundation problems in the Bay Area?
The Bay Area is prone to seismic activity, so ground movement from earthquakes can be a factor. Additionally, soil settling or shifting and tree roots pushing against the foundation are common causes of crawl space problems.
What are the main methods of
crawl space foundation repair?
Common methods include installing foundation piers and adding or adjusting support beams and screw jacks.
Do I need a permit for
crawl space foundation repair in the Bay Area?
Yes, most Bay Area municipalities require permits for foundation repairs. Always check with your local building department.
How much does
crawl space foundation repair cost in the Bay Area?
Costs in the Bay Area can be higher than the national average due to the cost of living and specialized expertise needed. It’s essential to get several local estimates to gauge pricing.
How long will the
repair process take?
Depending on the severity and method, repairs can take anywhere from a day to several weeks.
Is it safe to stay in
my home during the repair?
It’s completely safe for you to stay in your home while residential foundation repairs are happening. Here at Bay Area Underpinning we’ve never asked anyone to leave their home during repairs.
Will the repairs
affect the value of my Bay Area home?
Properly repaired foundations can restore or even enhance the value of a home, especially in a competitive market like the Bay Area.
How do I choose a
reputable Bay Area contractor?
Look for licensed and insured contractors in California with positive reviews and references. Also, choose a contractor with long-term transferable warranties.
Given the Bay Area's seismic activity, how can I make my
crawl space foundation more earthquake-resistant?
Retrofitting, which strengthens the connection between your house and its foundation, is often recommended in the Bay Area. It’s best to consult with a seismic retrofit specialist.
Bay Area homeowners should always prioritize safety and consult professionals familiar with the region’s specific needs when considering crawl space foundation repairs.
How long does a
crawl space foundation last?
Crawl space foundations can last a long time – over 100 years – provided they’re properly designed, constructed, and receive proper care and maintenance.
How often do you
need to clean your crawl space?
Cleaning your crawl space at least once a year will help prevent any potential issues from accumulated debris, moisture, or pests. However, if you live in a humid or rainy area or have experienced flooding, cleaning your crawl space more frequently, such as every six months or quarterly, may be necessary.