Crawl Space Damage: Repairing Sinking and Sagging under Your Home in Wisconsin

Thursday, January 12th, 2012 by Parker Delmolino

Crawl Spaces and New Construction

Crawl Space Damage Repairing Sinking and Sagging under Your Home in Wisconsin - Image 1

A contractor will choose to install a crawl space instead of a basement in order to minimize the construction costs.  With this mentality, they will look for other inexpensive ways to build the home, while still following local building codes.

One easy way for them to do so is to install crawl space vents.  Crawl space vents are accepted by local building code as means for creating a crosscurrent throughout the crawl space, which will in theory keep the crawl space dry.  In comparison to sealing the crawl space and installing a dehumidifier, the vents are a great, easy way for the contractor to get the job done.

Crawl Space Vent Failure and the Stack Effect

Crawl space vents operate on the following assumptions:

  1. Outside air will dry the crawl space
  2. The vents will create cross-ventilation in the crawl space

These assumptions are incorrect because the natural movement of air that enters a crawl space is upwards, as opposed to sideways.  This is a result of the phenomenon known as the stack effect. The stack effect entails that air entering through your crawl space is pulled upwards towards the rest of your home.

Warm air will exit the home through the attic and upper levels of your home, creating a vacuum that will in turn pull the air from all lower levels of your home upwards.  If there are any allergens, odors, or humidity in that air, they will be pulled upwards as well.

On a humid day, air will tend to cool in a crawl space, creating condensation on surfaces which will lead to mold growth.  If untreated the buildup of moisture, mold, and humidity will ruin insulation, damage stored items, and even damage the structural wood.

Damp Crawl Spaces Can Damage Support Systems

Damp and poorly vented crawl spaces will not be your only source of crawl space structural damage. Many houses are already ill-equipped when it comes to structural support, so any damage to them could be detrimental to the home’s overall structure.

Even when an adequate number of crawl space supports are installed, the soil underneath them may not be strong enough to completely support the weight of the home.  When this happens, the supports sink into the earth, causing the house sinks downward with them. This is known to lead to uneven floors, jamming door operation, and cracks in the drywall surfaces.

Control Moisture to Create a Healthy Crawl Space

To eliminate your crawl space issues, you will need to ensure that all sources of moisture and flooding in the crawl space are secured, and that there is enough crawl space supports to sufficiently support the weight of your home.

Sealing the crawl space with a properly installed vapor barrier system and installing an energy efficient dehumidifier will keep moisture out of your crawl space.  Adding a sump pump and perimeter drain will further prevent moisture accumulation.

When adding more crawl space supports, we highly recommend the SmartJack System.  This system is made from corrosion-resistant galvanized steel. An adjustable design allows you to lift your floor to its original position without ever damaging the structure.

A special, excavated fill creates a solid base that will prevent the structure from sinking.

Contact Badger Basement Systems today to schedule your free estimate for crawl space repair in Wisconsin. They're your expert crawl space contractor in Fort Atkinson and other surrounding areas.

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Badger Basement Systems
N1656 Hwy 12S
P.O. Box 158
Fort Atkinson, WI 53538