CRAWL SPACE REPAIR
Do you know what’s underneath your house, what your home is sitting on top of? You could have a basement, cellar, crawl space, or nothing at all under your house if it was built on a slab. There are big differences between basements and crawl spaces, mostly in their size and purpose.
While not every single house has one, it’s common to build houses on top of crawl spaces. As the name implies, there’s only enough room to crawl around this area, usually 1-3′. This hollow, normally empty area not only elevates the house off the ground, but it also can be convenient for concealing home essentials like HVAC units, ductwork, plumbing, and electrical wiring.
Odds are you’re rarely if ever in this area of the house. Why would you be? It’s dark, dingy, smelly, and downright creepy. Who would want to be around that? If it’s out of sight and out of mind, it can’t hurt you, right? Absolutely not.
The biggest mistake homeowners make is ignoring their crawl spaces. You may not want to go into this area because of nasty smells and creepy crawling creatures, but those are the reasons you should be paying attention to your crawl space. A lot more could be going on under your house than you realize, and it could be impacting your health and your family’s quality of life.
Crawl Space Repair in Virginia, Maryland, DC
Crawl Space Repair
Crawl space problems can be stressful and frustrating. Plus, they can have very real and very damaging effects on the entirety of your home. If you leave crawl space problems for too long, it’s common for them to expand and create something dangerous.
However, many people have a hard time understanding how to pinpoint and fix crawl space issues. Crawl space repair isn’t exactly a DIY experiment. Instead, you need a crawl space repair company that can help you with your problems.
JES Foundation Repair should be your first stop when you’re having crawl space issues. For truly comprehensive crawl space repair, look no further than JES. Keep reading to learn more about the options available to you.
Your First Steps: Find the Source of Your Issue
The very first thing you should do to understand a little more about your crawl space repair needs is to find the source of your home’s crawl space problems. Scroll through these common crawl space problems to see which one seems to fit your issues best.
Common Crawl Space Problems
Do any of these problem signs and symptoms sound and look familiar? If you notice any of these issues in your home, you need to fix your crawl space.
- High Indoor Humidity
High levels of indoor humidity tend to indicate that there’s water leaking in from somewhere. This may mean there’s standing water you need to find or it may just let you know that humidity has made its way into your crawl space from the soil. You can typically note high levels of indoor humidity because it feels sweltering and uncomfortable.
- Sagging Floors
Have you started to notice that the floors in certain areas of your home seem to sag? This sagging can be either significant or relatively hard to notice. These sagging floors typically indicate that your floor joists are wet. It may indicate wood rot or mold, or just that the wood has too much moisture in it and isn’t holding up well. Another common symptom is that the floor in that area feels more “bouncy” than the rest of your home.
Condensation is what happens when the air gets too full of water vapor and it has to release some of that vapor. You can find little droplets of condensation on just about every surface, although condensation tends to gravitate more toward cooler ones. When you start seeing excessive condensation, that’s a good sign that humidity is too high.
- Standing Water
This is one of the more dangerous crawl space problems. Standing water refers to actual puddles of water in your crawl space. These may arise because of a plumbing leak, flooding or pooling from hydrostatic pressure. Standing water takes an extremely long time to evaporate, and it gives off significant amounts of humidity. Mold and mildew grow well in the immediate area, and it can soak your wooden floor joists.
- Foundation Cracks
Cracks are another potential problem. Every so often, you want to inspect your foundation for cracks. Whether you go down and do it yourself or you hire a crawl space repair company to do it, these inspections can make sure you notice foundation problems before they start in earnest. Talk to a JES crawl space repair expert to learn whether you should be worried about the cracks in your foundation.
- Mold and Mildew
This is one of the biggest health hazards you’ll notice if you have high levels of humidity in your crawl space. Mold and mildew grow best around 70% humidity or in areas that have lots of standing water. Not only are mold and mildew gross to look at, but they can be health hazards. Plus, they can also invite bugs and rodents into the area.
- High Electric Bills
As humidity in your crawl space circulates through your home, you’re going to notice the discomfort. In an attempt to feel more comfortable, you may turn down the air conditioner to try and keep yourself cool. It takes more energy to condition high-humidity air, and high-humidity air tends to feel less comfortable at higher temperatures. If you’ve suddenly noticed a giant electricity bill spike, talk to JES about it.
- Open Crawl Space Vents
These used to be very popular in crawl spaces because people believed that crawl spaces needed to “breathe.” Now, however, it’s well-known that they just introduce additional moisture into the crawl space. If you have open crawl space vents, you really need to seal them closed to avoid high levels of crawl space moisture.
- Wet Crawl Space Insulation
Especially if you recently experienced flooding or standing water in your crawl space, there’s a chance that water went into your insulation. Not only does wet insulation not really insulate anything, but it retains moisture for long periods of time, making it perfect for mold and mildew. The only way to fix it is to tear it all out and replace it entirely.
- Wood Rot
This is a fungal infestation that happens in certain wooden structures. It needs high levels of moisture to grow, which means it grows well in floor joists and support columns in a wet crawl space. Wood rot causes the wood to stop having enough strength, which can lead to bouncy, sinking floors, and in extreme cases, complete collapse.
- Floor Joist Issues
There are plenty of problems that can attack floor joists. For example, floor joists can fall victim to wood rot, causing serious structural damage. Floor joists can also cause problems if they weren’t installed correctly or the home’s design puts too much pressure on them. There are many potential floor joist problems you can run into, and they’re all vital to fix.
- Vapor Barrier Problems
This is especially common if you previously tried crawl space encapsulation on a budget. If you used a thin 12-mil barrier or didn’t have an expert come in to do it, you might have a torn or collapsed vapor barrier that you need to clean up and replace. With JES crawl space encapsulation, you can get this low-quality vapor barrier out and install a new high-quality vapor barrier that will do the job.
The Causes of Crawl Space Problems
There are three main causes of crawl space concerns. If you’re having any of these problems or any other crawl space concerns not on this list, it’s probably coming from one of three sources: crawl space moisture, house settling or your home’s construction.
What’s causing your problems? Consider these three main sources.
The biggest source of crawl space problems is crawl space humidity. As crawl space water evaporates, it rises, moving throughout the entire home. This is because of the stack effect. So, whatever is in the crawl space, like mold, humidity, and allergens, also is in the rest of your home and affecting you.
It’s common for crawl spaces to have high relative humidity and moisture, but it’s also problematic. These conditions promote mold growth, especially on organic materials like wood and insulation. Moisture in the crawl space also can enter other areas of the home through wall, ceiling and floor cracks, and contribute to mold growth there. (Source: EPA)
With squeaky floors, high electric bills, mold, mildew, wood rot, condensation and more all coming from moisture, it’s clear this is a massive problem. As soon as you notice excessive humidity in your home, talk to a crawl space repair expert about JES crawl space encapsulation.
- House Settling
Another common crawl space problem is house settling. Homes settle on a normal, day-to-day basis, but it’s usually very slow. Natural settling also shouldn’t be very extensive. You can find problems if the home starts settling very quickly or settles far more than anticipated.
Floor joist issues, foundation cracks and even certain sources of crawl space moisture can all be a response to house settling. An inspection by a JES foundation repair expert will let you know whether your home is settling more than it should be, and if so, how to fix it.
The last potential crawl space problem is in the construction of your home’s support system. You should have faith that your home has a solid construction, including the foundation, floor joists and support beams. If it doesn’t, that can lead to serious crawl space issues.
Poor construction can lead to vapor barrier problems, sagging floors, floor joist issues, and open crawl space vents, which can cause excess humidity. These construction problems can go unnoticed for many years, so you may want to consider scheduling an inspection to see whether you have any of these issues.
When hot, humid air is vented into the crawl space during warmer months, this can cause wood to rot. Metal supports also can fall victim to rust and corrosion. Coupled with the presence of water, this also can lead to sagging, soft, buckling floors above, and affect hardwood floors.
How Important Is Crawl Space Repair?
Most people don’t go into the crawl space because it’s damp, tough to move around in, and not extremely important to day-to-day functioning. However, your crawl space actually has a substantial impact on your home’s stability and health. That means you need to make sure you’re paying attention to it.
Crawl space repair has a serious impact on a variety of factors. Have you thought about how a healthy crawl space influences these things?
- Your Home’s Safety
A healthy crawl space is more likely to lead to a healthy home in general. Crawl space problems, if left alone for a very long time, can lead to such drastic things as having your floor literally collapse underneath you.
It’s important that you maintain your crawl space if you want to maintain the safety of your home as a whole. After all, your crawl space and your foundation are often very closely entwined, and taking care of your crawl space may also mean taking care of your foundation.
Moisture especially tends to attack all parts of your home, including parts of your home that have nothing to do with the crawl space. When you opt for JES crawl space encapsulation, you’re improving your whole home’s safety, not just the crawl space.
- Your Family’s Health
These crawl space problems can lead to serious health concerns for you and your family. When water circulates through your home, it does so through your whole home. That includes your crawl space and the rest of the home.
This means that if your crawl space has mold or a fungal infestation, the spores are traveling throughout your home. It’s common for this to lead to worsening asthma or allergies and to make people feel unwell overall. Plus, what happens if the floor collapses while a family member’s walking through it?
Your family’s health should be paramount. That’s why it’s so vital to pay attention to your crawl space. A crawl space repair company like JES will help you manage your home or work’s quality and safety.
- Your Resale Value
You might not be thinking about your home’s resale value at this very moment, but staying on top of crawl space issues is an important part of maintaining resale value for when you start thinking about it. Otherwise, you might find that when you go to sell, it’s an extensive and costly problem to fix.
The Real Estate Seller Disclosure Act requires that sellers in some states tell buyers about existing foundation problems. Realtors tend to discover that if you have foundation problems that have been part of your home for a long time, you’ll have to reduce the price by 10%-20% to sell it.
Resale value might not be an important component of your life now, but why not prepare for the day that it will be? Crawl space repair through JES allows you to make life healthier for your family right now and increase your home’s resale value in the future.
How Do I Fix My Crawl Space Problems?
Now that you’ve learned more about what could be lurking in your crawl space, how it affects your family, and why you need to fix it, are you ready to take back your house?
Before planning out your repairs, first think about who is going to complete this work. You have a wealth of resources at your fingertips and may be very handy. But crawl space repair is not a weekend DIY project. It is a significant undertaking that is best left to professional contractors with the right experience and the right tools. A lot can go wrong if you’re not careful, so don’t leave these important projects to chance.
Undoubtedly, you’ve heard about or even previously experienced less than stellar service from shady contractors and their shoddy work. But don’t let a few bad apples completely influence your decision. There are a lot of companies out there who want to help you.
The best thing you can do is arm yourself with knowledge and research. It’s important that you feel comfortable with and have confidence in who you bring in your home. Learn as much as you can about a company. Ask for reviews and references and check out third-party resources like the Better Business Bureau. Make sure you request contractor essentials like licenses, insurance, certificates, warranties, and most importantly, a written estimate and contract.
How Much Will Crawl Space Repair Cost?
Without a doubt, the cost of repair is the top burning question homeowners have. And that’s natural. Money matters, and so does your home. You want to make sure you’re using quality, cost-effective solutions to protect it.
To give you an idea, crawl space repair can range from $5,000 on the low end to $15,000 or more. This greatly depends on the size and condition of the crawl space. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to crawl space repair costs such as square footage, how much material will be used, the extent of damage, labor, etc. This varies from company to company, so be sure to have a thorough discussion with your contractor about price and payment options.
No two crawl space problems are alike. Every home is different and requires its own unique set of repair solutions. So, even though one particular system worked for a friend or even your next-door neighbor, that may not necessarily be what your home needs. That’s why it is important to have an in-home inspection completed by a repair professional, namely the experts at JES.
What Can JES Do to Help Me?
As you navigate your crawl space repair journey, we at JES would be honored to assist you! Rest assured that you will be in good hands with our team of professionals.
Let us show you how we are different from other contractors. We truly care about you, your family’s safety, and your home. When you choose to work with us, you become part of our family. It’s the JES Difference.
Once you contact us, we’ll schedule a time for one of our certified field inspectors to visit your home for a free inspection and estimate. It’s important for the inspector to physically visit your house to get a better idea of what is going on in your crawl space. That way, he can recommend the best repairs.
During this consultation, the inspector will complete a thorough evaluation of the crawl space and investigate any areas of concern. He’ll also discuss his findings with you, as well as your goals with a repair project and your budget. Taking all these into consideration, the inspector will put together a plan with solutions customized to meet your specific repair needs. He also can review payment and financing options with you.
Take your time to review this estimate, and don’t hesitate to reach back out to your inspector with any follow-up questions or concerns. And when you’re ready to move forward with the repairs and sign a contract with your inspector, we’ll schedule that work with one of our experienced crews. The crew will take great care in installing the best crawl space repair solutions to protect your home. The work is not done until you are completely satisfied with the job, so don’t be afraid to speak up if something doesn’t live up to expectation. We also offer service and maintenance opportunities to make sure our work continues to protect your home as it should.
What Will Be Used to Fix My Crawl Space?
We believe that you deserve only the best, so all our crawl space repair solutions are custom designed for your home.
Manufactured right here in the United States, each product is carefully designed and tested by a team of structural and geotechnical engineers. All our systems also come with a written warranty, giving you complete peace of mind. They are designed to work together, as well as with our other waterproofing and foundation repair solutions to give your home the complete protection it deserves.
Here are different ways we address crawl space issues and their repairs:
One of the first things we need to do – other than clearing the area of debris, failing insulation, and other nuisances – is to tackle any leaking water with trusted waterproofing solutions.
The CrawlDrain™ perimeter drainage system is specially designed to sit in the crawl space floor and to intercept leaking water from the walls and floor. This water is then directed to drain into a sump pump system so it can be pumped out of the crawl space and away from the home. We have a variety of SafeDri™ sump pump systems to meet your waterproofing needs. Additionally, we can attach a FreezeGuard™ outlet to the exterior sump pump discharge line to prevent flooding from freezing or blocked lines.
In order to create a safe and healthy crawl space and home, it needs to be sealed off from exterior forces. Once waterproofing measures are in place, we will encapsulate the crawl space. Thick drainage matting can be placed on the crawl space floor to help direct leaking water along the floor to the perimeter drainage system, as well as enhance the durability of the encapsulation material.
The crawl space is then completely sealed and isolated from the earth with CrawlSeal™. This thick and durable liner is 20 mils, so it will stand up to tough forces and traffic. CrawlSeal™ is a moisture and vapor barrier that also is waterproof and has been treated to resist mold.
The crawl space is further sealed off by vent covers that are placed over vents on the home’s exterior. This prevents any intrusion from outside air, water, and pests.
Soft fiberglass insulation commonly fails in crawl spaces and can fall victim to mold growth and breeding pests. But our rigid ExTremeBloc™ insulation panels are more durable and environmentally friendly. These panels are moisture resistant, and an integrated termiticide is added to deter termites below grade. CrawlSeal™ also helps insulate the crawl space, and spray foam can be added to rim joists to seal gaps around the perimeter of your foundation. These insulation methods help prevent wood rot and enable termite treatments.
One of the best things you can do for your crawl space is keep the air dry. Plus, if you’re going to seal off your crawl space, you should keep the air in this area conditioned, so it won’t get stagnant. Our powerful, energy-efficient low-profile crawl space dehumidifier cleans and filters the air under your house, controls moisture and humidity, and reduces odors and potential mold growth.
The dehumidifier also self-drains so you don’t need to worry about emptying any buckets or reservoirs like with typical dehumidifiers. We can direct the unit to drain into the perimeter drainage or sump pump system or install a condensate pump.
- Structural Stabilization
Wooden and even metal support systems floor joists and floor supports can easily rot, decay, corrode, and weaken in wet and humid crawl spaces. But our IntelliJacks™ are made of galvanized steel, so they are more reliable supports that can stabilize and lift sagging floors and floor joists back to level. They are designed to stop settling but can easily be adjusted if any settlement occurs.
- Access Points
Typical exterior crawl space access points like wells and doors are concrete, wood, or metal and can easily rust and rot. But our durable plastic crawl space access wells and doors are safe and sturdy.
Get in Touch With JES Foundation Repair to Learn More About Your Next Steps
When you’ve determined the most significant crawl space problems you’re dealing with, you need to make sure you have high-quality crawl space repair lined up. Plus, if you’re having a hard time isolating your specific problem, you may need crawl space experts to perform an inspection and let you know.
This is exactly what JES can help you with. Through JES crawl space encapsulation and other fixes, you can make sure your crawl space stays clean and dry all year round. Talk to a crawl space expert to learn more about your options and take advantage of JES’s high-quality crawl space repair.