What are the Most Common Crawl Space Problems?

S. Gonzales

Crawl space problems can be a significant worry for the average home owner. Several expensive repair problems can originate from within the crawl space, so concern about crawl space problems is not at all uncommon. Mold, wood rot, column settling and improper pier column spacing can all contribute to damage within a crawl space that can demand immediate attention. Addressing crawl space problems while they are still manageable can save homeowners a lot of money in future expenses. This is because crawl space problems can lead to damage in other areas of the home as well.

Mold growth is a common issue with crawl spaces.
Mold growth is a common issue with crawl spaces.

One of the most common crawl space problems is the settling of columns. This usually occurs because of weakness in foundation soils. Homes that are built on top of mixed types of soil can be affected by settling columns, because the soils and their layers can move. The soils' moisture and density play a big role in shifting and settling. Beams as well as columns can be affected by soil's changes, which can cause cracks in foundation, sloping floors and other problems.

Black toxic mold can flourish on any organic material, including wood and textiles.
Black toxic mold can flourish on any organic material, including wood and textiles.

Pier columns that have been improperly spaced can also be the reason for crawl space problems. If pier columns are placed with too much space in between them during the construction of a home, a home's weight will not be properly supported. As a result, beams can sag or bend. Slopes can form on floors and cracks along the home can present themselves.

Mold and wood rot are frequent crawl space problems with which homeowners have to contend. Even the best-maintained crawl spaces are susceptible to mold and wood rot because of their location. A seemingly dry crawl space can still retain moisture, which can affect the crawl space and the home after a time. Humidity and dampness can easily accumulate in a crawl space and eventually affect wood beams and joists. It's not uncommon for these to weaken and to require repair after the moisture has accumulated and damaged them.

Failing to address crawl space problems can result in extensive structural damage as well as superficial damage. Support systems might need to be reinforced or added onto so that damage can be corrected. The types of repairs required to restore a home to structural viability will depend on the type of damage and the particular needs of the home owner. Repairs made to a home, however, can increase a property's value and make a home safe to live in.

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