What Can Go Wrong in Your Crawlspace?
Your crawlspace is probably one of the last things on your mind when you think of your home. It makes sense. You never see it. But, because of this, you may not be aware of all the hidden things that could be going on down there. Believe it or not, your crawl space is one of the most important parts of your home. It is the foundation, the glue that holds everything together. If one thing goes wrong and it goes unfixed, you could run into issues that are more serious and your home could start to fall apart. Today, Your Crawlspace Guys are going to explain all that could go wrong in your crawl space and what signs to look for.
One thing that can cause many issues in a crawlspace and often goes hand-in-hand, is moisture. Moisture causes mold and dry rot, which then results in the breaking down of elements, such as wood, which can weaken the support system. Moisture issues are very common in crawl spaces, mainly because they are in the ground and surrounded by moisture. There are things you can do to prevent excess moisture, but if you don’t fix the issues, then more serious problems may arise.
Signs of Moisture:
Mold or Mildew
- Mold or mildew tends to grow in crawl spaces due to moisture. This can lead to issues such as decay and unsupported beams, and even make your home an unhealthy place to live.
- If you notice strange, musty odors in your living space, this is usually an indication of a mold problem, which also indicates moisture.
- If you notice pests or insects, this indicates that there may be excess moisture in your crawl space. Pests thrive in dark, moist environments, so the crawlspace is one of their favorite places.
Dry rot refers to the decay of wood and usually occurs due to moisture or water damage. If you have wood supports, then dry rot will eat away at the wood, causing the supports to be unstable.
Signs of Dry Rot:
Darkening, cracking or shrinking wood
- The wood supports may be cracking, shrinking or darker in color
Wood can be pierced easily
- The wood can be pierced with little effort.
- A wet environment is dry rot’s best friend. This can lead to mold, which results in a musty odor.
Floors feel “creaky” or “bouncy”
- If you notice slouching, mushy or creaky floors, this is a sign that you may have dry rot issues.
Structural issues are very common in crawl spaces and the ones that do the most damage over time. They typically occur when the dirt and soil surrounding your crawl space expand as it collects water. When the soil and dirt expand, this may put pressure on your foundation, which can lead to damage in your structure. The damage may be minor at first, but the longer the problem persists, the worse the damage gets.
Signs of Structural Issues:
Unlevel door frames or window frames
- Doors and window frames may look uneven or unlevel.
Sagging, sloping and uneven floors
- You may notice a “sinking” sensation when you walk on parts of your floor, or they may look uneven. One side of the home may be lower than the other, as if it is “settling.” This is a cause for concern and should be addressed and fixed immediately.
Failing or sinking supports
- Your supports may be sinking into the ground. This usually occurs due to loose dirt and soil that is separating and your supports and beams are not properly secured.
Cracks in the floors and walls
- You may notice cracks in the drywall of your living space. This indicates that movement is happening and you will want to get this fixed as soon as possible.
- If you notice any of these cracks listed below, this usually indicates a foundation problem that should be fixed right away.
- Cracks that are wider at one end
- Cracks angled around 45-degrees
- Horizontal cracks
Gaps in the walls between windows or doors
- If you happen to notice gaps in the walls between your doors or windows, this means that your foundation is shifting and this can be a very serious issue if it persists. As a result, moisture and bugs can get into your home and cause even more problems. While the movement happens slowly and over time, if left untreated, it can lead to serious issues and severely damage your foundation. If you notice this, have your foundation checked out immediately. The sooner you address and fix the issue, the better off you’ll be.
Rodents, insects and other creepy crawlies can make home in your crawl space, which is something you do not want. Rodents like crawl spaces because the area is moist, warm and gives them protection from the outside elements. Termites also enjoy wet environments. If you have an infestation, you want to take care of the problem right away, before it becomes an even bigger issue.
Signs of an Infestation:
- If you find droppings, this is an indication that you have pests living somewhere in your home. You will want to have your crawlspace checked right away.
You find shreds of wall insulation
- This indicates that some creature was and likely still is in your walls.
- The bumps you hear in the night, coming from your walls is possibly a Pest of some sort. Don’t push it off as nothing. You want to have your crawlspace checked out and address the problem as soon as possible, before it gets worse.
- Waste or dead pests are likely to cause bad, strong odors, which can spread throughout your home.
If you notice any of these signs, it is best to contact a professional right away.
Sump Pump Failure
Sump pump failure is another issue that can occur in your crawlspace. On average, a sump pump should last about 10 years, until it might start to have problems. If this happens, your crawl space could flood and accumulate extra moisture, leading to mold and other issues.
Signs of Sump Pump Failure:
- If you notice your sump pump is making a strange or unfamiliar noise, this can indicate that parts of your sump pump are old and worn down. If it’s rattling or grinding, it may be a jam issue or the fan/propeller is damaged.
Cycling All the Time
- Sump pumps are meant to only turn on at the detection of water and shut off when no more water is detected. If your sump pump is always cycling, this indicates a problem related to the switch controlling your sump pump.
Your crawl space is important. Keeping track and noticing any new changes or odd things in your home, then fixing problems when they arise will help maintain your crawl space and avoid major issues. If you experience any of these signs, Your Crawl Space Guys can address and fix them all! Give us a call today to learn more and have us come look at your crawl space!