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 know. Your crawl space, for example, likely isn’t the most frequented space within your home. If you don’t make a point of inspecting your crawl space 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?
Addressing Early Crawl Space Problems
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:
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 dark 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’ve reached out for professional guidance. It’s a matter of finding the growth before they evolve into jungles.
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.
At the end of the day, one of the biggest concerns new homeowners should have when it comes to their crawl space is whether or not it will flood. While moisture can get into most unprotected crawl spaces, flooding is a sign that something’s wrong with the supports that connect your crawl space to your foundation or to the rest of your home. Above all else, do 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.
Addressing Long-Term Crawl Space Problems
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’ve lived in a home for five to 10 years may encounter include:
Damaged Structural Supports
Your crawl space holds sway not only over your foundation but your home’s additions as well. A leaking or otherwise damaged crawl space can 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 difficult to trace 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.
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 and Your Crawl Space
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 comes into contact with the structural supports you have in that space. Water can cause those supports to change size on a molecular 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 or tangentially to hydrostatic pressure include tree roots, pests, and inappropriate construction materials.
Reach Out to Area Professionals for Crawl Space Repair
Don’t try and fix a damaged crawl space on your own. Instead, get in touch with the professional contractors serving your area. Together you can inspect your crawl space and look over 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’ll be able to restore your home to its original value.