Sagging Crawl Spaces
Unlike basements, which are typically enclosed, crawl spaces are exposed to the worst that nature can offer year-round. Exposure to extreme moisture, temperature, and pests will begin to make your wooden joist and floor beams sag over time. Additionally, support columns are susceptible to soil settlement just like regular foundations are.
When joists in a crawl space begin to sag, the floors they’re supporting start showing signs of unevenness, being sunken, or having gaps where they had previously joined the walls.
Options to Avoid
Many homeowners tend to neglect their crawl spaces, often defaulting to temporary and/or less-than-ideal solutions to fix the problem. Sometimes clients will try to replace their support columns. Unfortunately, it takes a long time for the concrete to cure, and does not address unstable soil or poor drainage. As these concrete columns set, they will sink into the collapsing soil over time, requiring shims to be perpetually placed between the new columns and the house’s wood framing. Sometimes homeowners will instead use light-duty jack posts as a solution because they’re inexpensive and adjustable. Typically this kind of solution will fail because the jack posts aren’t designed to withstand the weight of a house for an extended period of time and are susceptible to rusting. Again, these solutions still do not address the biggest issue: unstable soil.
The SmartJack® System
Supportworks’ SmartJack System was created as a supplemental crawl space support system specifically to shore up sagging floor joists and beams using existing columns. SmartJack uses galvanized steel components and a cast aluminum footing to help distribute your home’s weight over a larger area and to the surrounding soil rather than centralizing it over a few column-supported points. This is a permanent solution which specifically targets your sagging floors and can work perfectly in conjunction with other methods to help soil instability under your home.