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Crawl Space Problems and How to Deal with Them

April 1, 2021

Whether you’re moving into a new home for the first time or settling into your tenth year of homeownership, there are things about your property that you may not be familiar with. Your crawl space, for example, likely isn’t the most frequented space within your home. If your crawl space isn’t inspected regularly, it can rapidly fall into a state of decay. 

An unhealthy crawl space can spell trouble for the whole of your home. What kinds of problems should you be on the lookout for, and when should you expect them to come knocking? 

What To Do About Early Crawl Space Issues 

It’s not easy to predict what kinds of problems your crawl space may have over the years. You can give it a go by scheduling regular crawl space inspections. During your first year of homeownership, these inspections will help you prevent common crawl space problems like: 

Mold Growth 

While mold doesn’t enter your home via flooding, it will take advantage of crawl spaces with higher-than-average levels of humidity. Once a mold spore settles in the darkness and dampness of your crawl space, you can expect mold growth to begin appearing. This growth can compromise the health of your family, not to mention the structural integrity of your home. 

The good news is that mold growth is relatively straightforward to get rid of once you have reached out for professional guidance. It’s a matter of finding the growth before they get out of hand. 

Pest Infestations 

If mold and water can get into your home, so can pests. New homeowners often find themselves contending with not only insects like termites and carpenter ants but rodents and small mammals too. These critters will create hollows beneath your home while also tearing apart the structural supports keeping the rest of your home in one piece—all the more reason to try and keep them outside for as long as possible. 

Flooding 

One of the biggest concerns new homeowners should have when it comes to their crawl space is whether it will flood. While moisture can get into most unprotected crawl spaces, flooding is a sign that something is wrong with the supports that connect your crawl space to your foundation or to the rest of your home. More than anything else, it is important to not let water sit in your crawl space. Instead, work with area professionals to remove it and repair any visible damage as soon as possible. 

What To Do About Long-Term Crawl Space Issues

There are problems in your crawl space that can crop up over time instead of all at once. Some of the most common problems families who have lived in a home for five to 10 years may encounter include:

Structural Support Issues

Your crawl space impacts not only your foundation but your home’s additions as well. A leaking or otherwise damaged crawl space could potentially cause your chimney to crack, your foundation to heave, and the doors and windows throughout your home to stick in their frames. While it can be rough tracking these types of damage back to your crawl space, you can reach out to an area professional to inspect the damage and determine its source, be it a crawl space crack or a problem with your crawl space ventilation.

Warping Floors 

Your crawl space is more than just a cove beneath your home. It’s also the home of the structural supports that keep your floor sturdy. If these supports start to give out, you may find yourself contending with unstable floors all throughout the upper levels of your home.

Hydrostatic Pressure’s Effect

While you can’t blame all the problems your crawl space experiences on hydrostatic pressure, the force does cause a significant percentage of the damage most new and old homeowners have to contend with. 

Hydrostatic pressure is a force that builds up outside of your home as water collects near your perimeter. It begins to impact the health of your crawl space when it encounters the structural supports you have in that space. Water can cause those supports to alter on a microscopic level. Those supports can begin to suffer from stress due to the repeat and rapid changes. Eventually, your supports can begin to crack or otherwise break, allowing more moisture into your crawl space and resulting in more damage. 

Other sources of crawl space damage that can work in tandem with hydrostatic pressure are tree roots, pests, and inappropriate construction materials. 

Contact Local Experts About Your Crawl Space Repair Needs

Your crawl space is an important, delicate area of your home, and it needs special attention. That’s why it’s important to seek assistance from crawl space repair experts serving your area. These professionals can inspect your crawl space and provide you with a free services quote detailing what protective measures or repairs you may need to invest in. The sooner you have a chance to act, the sooner you will be able to restore your home's safety and value.