Are you wondering if your home might need a house jack or two? If so, don’t hit that back button because that’s what we’re going to review in this article. We will go over what house jacks are, signs a house with a crawl space foundation might need house jacks, why crawl spaces start to sag, and more.
What is a House Jack?
House jacks, also known as foundation jacks, are typically used to lift a sagging crawl space back into place. House jacks come in various shapes and sizes. The house jacks are placed beneath the beams, and the affected area is slowly lifted without causing additional damage. Only experienced foundation repair contractors have the knowledge and tools to effectively and safely install house jacks to fix a sagging crawl space.
Signs You Might Need House Jacks
Crawl spaces are often overlooked parts of a home. However, these areas play a vital role in the structural integrity of a building. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that crawl spaces are well maintained. However, one problem with crawl spaces is they can start to sag eventually, and when this happens, house jacks are a common repair solution designed to lift and support the crawl space beams.
Signs your home might need house jacks include the following:
- Uneven floors
- Musty smell – A musty smell inside the home could mean there’s mold in the crawl space, and if so, that means there’s excess moisture in the crawl space. The excess moisture can also begin to compromise the soils that the current floor supports reside on. Just like the exterior of your home can be impacted by improper drainage around your home’s foundation.
- Mold on baseboards or wood floors – This indicates there might be mold in the crawl space.
- Floor feels bouncy when you walk on it
- Doors and windows that don’t open and close properly
If you see any of the above – or anything else that seems suspicious – contact a foundation repair contractor right away and ask for an inspection.
Why Do Crawl Spaces Sag?
Several factors can cause a crawl space to sag, necessitating house jacks. These include – but aren’t limited to – the following:
- Moisture – Excess moisture in a crawl space is a problem in areas with high rainfall and poor soil drainage. However, the problem can also be caused by plumbing leaks or open vents that allow warm, humid air to enter the crawl space and condense on cooler surfaces. Moisture can lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which can weaken the wooden beams in the crawl space. Over time, these weakened beams can lead to sagging and the need for house jacks.
- Inadequate soil preparation – Poor soil compaction is another cause of crawl space sagging. The soil must be compacted before a foundation is built to ensure stability. If the soil isn’t compacted properly, it may settle over time, causing the support posts in the crawl space to become non-vertical. This can lead to uneven floors and other structural problems.
- Inadequate support – In some cases, crawl space sagging can also be caused by insufficient support. This might be caused by beams that are too small or an inadequate number of support posts.
- Expansive soil – If the soil under the house contains a lot of clay, it will expand when it gets wet and shrink when it releases moisture and dries out. This change in soil volume creates movement in the ground under the crawl space and can, over time, cause the support posts to become non-vertical.
- Soil erosion – When the soil beneath the house begins to erode, it can create voids that the crawl space support posts will eventually settle into and become non-vertical, creating a range of issues, including uneven floors, wall cracks, etc.
- Poor maintenance – If a crawl space isn’t regularly inspected and repaired, when necessary, minor problems can grow into larger ones. For example, if a small leak in the plumbing goes unnoticed, it can cause water damage that weakens the crawl space support beams.
Crawl space problems must be addressed early to avoid serious damage to the foundation and the home’s overall structure.
How Are Sagging Crawl Spaces Repaired Using House Jacks?
Repairing a sagging crawl space with house jacks involves several steps and should be completed by an experienced foundation repair contractor.
- What caused the problem? – The first step in the process is to determine the extent of the damage and identify the underlying cause of the sagging crawl space.
- How many house jacks are needed? – Once the cause of the sagging has been identified, the contractor will determine the number of house jacks needed and where they should be placed.
- Clear any debris – Before installation, the crawl space is cleared of any debris and leveled, allowing the house jacks to be placed on firm ground.
- The house jacks are positioned under the sagging area – Once the house jacks are in place, they’re gradually raised in small increments until the desired height is reached.
- Additional reinforcement may be installed – After the house jacks are in place and the floor has been leveled, extra reinforcement might be installed, if necessary, to provide additional support to the crawl space.
- Clean up – After the repair, the area is cleaned of debris, and the space is left in good condition.
House jacks are a reliable and cost-effective method for repairing sagging crawl spaces and restoring the home’s structural integrity.
What About DIY Repairs To Fix A Sagging Crawl Space?
While taking matters into your own hands and attempting a DIY repair may be tempting, we don’t recommend it. In fact, we strongly advise against it.
Crawl spaces can sag for various reasons, making it essential to bring in a team of experienced foundation repair professionals to assess the situation, determine the cause of the sagging, and create a customized solution that might involve additional repair work to address the root cause of the issue. This might include excavation, structural repairs, and moisture management solutions to ensure the crawl space doesn’t start to sag again.
When you leave the repair job to the experts, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing the work is being done efficiently, safely, and with a long-term perspective in mind.
If you think your crawl space might need house jacks, contact us today to schedule a crawl space evaluation and receive a repair estimate. We serve Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada.