Sagging Crawl Space
Structural solutions for sagging crawl spaces
Have you noticed unlevel or bouncy floors in your home? If so, there is a good chance your crawl space is experiencing structural problems that are causing it to sink or sag in the middle. Crawl spaces experience structural sagging for three primary reasons: support columns spaced too far apart, rot-weakened joists, girders, and posts, and columns settling due to weak soil or poor footings.
If you have tilting or sinking crawl space supports, too few supports, moist or rotting wood, sagging, sloping, or uneven floors, cracks in interior drywall, or door & window frames that are skewed and unlevel, it’s time to call in a professional.
Advantages To Our System
At Baird Foundation Repair, we recommend installing the SmartJack® System, which uses adjustable heavy-duty steel crawl space jack posts. These posts install quickly in a home and provide the best solution for restoring stability to your structure.
The SmartJack® system can be installed in tight conditions, usually in less than a day. Made with galvanized steel for corrosion resistance, it can support vertical loads exceeding 60,000 lbs. The adjustable design of our crawl space jack system means that sagging floors can not only be stabilized; they can also be restored to their original position in many cases.
To address the issue of poor supporting soils, each crawl space jack distributes the weight of the home through a precast concrete footing and a base of engineered fill material. The SmartJack® is the only solution that addresses problem soils during crawl space restabilization!
Installing the SmartJack®
Installing the SmartJack® is a fast process that will not disrupt your home or landscaping. During our crawl space repair, your installers will follow these five steps:
- Preparing for installation: Our system design specialists will determine the best plan for your home’s needs, mapping out the location for each crawl space support jack. The installers will excavate a 2′ square, 2′ deep hole at each SmartJack® location that will be prepared with engineered fill consisting of tightly compacted crushed stone.
- Placing the pre-cast footing: A pre-cast concrete base (or footing) is placed on top of the engineered fill and carefully leveled to serve as a stable base for the steel jack post. The engineered fill base underneath the footing provides solid support that won’t shift, settle, or be affected by soil moisture.
- Cutting the jack posts to length: Once new bases have been installed, measurements are made for the steel crawl space jack posts, and the posts are cut to length. The steel tube used in each SmartJack® is manufactured with a triple-layer, in-line galvanized coating.
- Assembling & tightening: Each crawl space jack post is assembled in your crawl space. The top of the crawl space jack is mounted against the girder, and the installation is carefully plumbed. Each SmartJack® is then tightened in an attempt to lift the floor back to its original position, straightening and leveling floors, closing cracks in walls, and halting future downward movement. The jacks will continue to be adjustable for future tightening, should you need it.
- Encapsulating the crawl space: If your wood crawl space joists, girders, and/or supports were damaged by mold, rot, and moisture, then you will want to address these issues to prevent future damage. The encapsulation process involves sealing all crawl space vents, installing an airtight crawl space door, and lining crawl space walls and floors with a durable plastic liner. This treatment can also include additional drainage measures like installing interior drains and a sump pump. Encapsulation stops moisture-related damage and associated structural problems that occur when framing members rot and deteriorate.
What NOT To Do
Here are three “fixes” that we at Baird Foundation Repair do NOT recommend:
- Concrete Columns: Crawl space girders or beams are sometimes supported by columns made from concrete blocks. Once the column has been built and the mortar has cured, the extra space between the uppermost block and the floor girder above is filled with wooden spacers or “shims“. This is a very slow, time-consuming process that results in a completed column that isn’t adjustable, meaning additional shimming will be needed as the concrete column settles or the wood girder shrinks.
- Additional Shimming: This is a “cheap fix” solution for repairing a girder and floor that have sagged because of settled concrete columns. Temporary jacks are used to lift the girder, and wooden shims are pushed between the existing column and the floor girder. The jacks are then removed. This is a short-term fix only – the concrete columns will continue to settle, requiring additional shimming and maintenance in the future.
- Light-Duty Jack Posts: Skinny, light-duty jack posts are available at many hardware stores and home centers. This type of adjustable steel post is often installed on top of a concrete block that rests on the ground in the crawl space. Unfortunately, these posts hold very little weight, have poor stability, and are difficult to adjust. Also, they won’t compensate for poor supporting soils in the crawl space.
We’re Your Local Crawl Space Structural Support Contractors!
If you’d like a permanent solution for your crawl space issues or any other foundation problem, we’re here to help. We offer free crawl space structural repair quotes to homeowners in the South Texas area. To schedule your free, on-site inspection and written estimate, call or email us today!
We proudly offer all our foundation repair services in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and most of South Texas.