Most homeowners know that in order to maintain their home’s health, they need to keep the foundation in top form. However, the problem is that foundation issues are not always that obvious. Oftentimes, homeowners notice that something is wrong only when the problems have already escalated, and they are forced to pay for pricey repairs. Luckily, sometimes remodeling projects uncover existing issues before they have gotten out of hand. This is exactly what happened in a home in Decatur, AL.
When we received the call from the homeowner, she was anxious to resolve the problems uncovered during a remodeling project. Her home was built in 1965, so the issues were not a big surprise. The homeowner had several concerns about her home, and after the initial inspection, we were able to find the cause of the problem and recommend a combination of solutions that will stabilize the house and prevent such issues from happening again. While a major part of the project was done in a day, several waterproofing solutions are yet to be installed.
Meeting the Homeowner
The customer from Decatur, AL, just southwest of Huntsville, AL, called us because of her uneven floors. Her home was built in 1965 but she moved in less than a year ago. She wanted to make the place nice for herself as she plans to spend the rest of her life in that house. However, during a renovation project, she realized that the floors were uneven. She also noticed that there were cracks around the foundation’s perimeter. The homeowner planned to continue with the remodeling projects, but before she did that, she wished to do the responsible thing and repair the uncovered damage.
When it comes to home maintenance, a lot of homeowners try to repair things on their own, which is usually a recipe for a disaster. Luckily, our customer received professional advice and understood that it is best to let the experts handle everything.
Our Initial Inspection
Luckily, the customer was already familiar with the ongoing problems, so she was able to quickly bring us up to speed. Therefore, when our inspector arrived for the initial inspection, he had an idea what he was going to find there. The home had a crawl space that was severely damaged. When he walked into the house, the inspector was able to determine that the floors were completely uneven. As the homeowner reported there were some cracks in the drywall as well as gaps around door frames. The biggest problem was in the hallway, where the difference in the floor level was most noticeable. After assessing the state of the house inside, our inspector checked the situation in the crawl space. He looked at the wooden shims between concrete supports and joists and noticed cracks in concrete block supports. The house was obviously not being properly supported and the problem needed to be addressed before the homeowner moved on with renovations.
While inspecting the crawl space, our expert was able to notice that this space was not encapsulated. Without a proper vapor barrier, the crawl space was not protected against moisture. Since moisture can lead to many problems, from wood rot and mold growth to structural stability issues, our inspector suggested that the owner encapsulate the crawl space with a vapor barrier as well. The customer gladly agreed, because she planned to live there forever, and she wanted to make sure that the house is in the best possible shape. In addition, with encapsulation, she will be able to avoid plenty of potential problems. In the long run, her home would be protected from moisture, which would also positively reflect on her utility bills. After all, the house is located in Alabama, a state with a humid climate, so a lot of homeowners from Decatur have moisture problems.
However, the uneven floors were a more urgent problem, so we agreed to address them first.
Repairing the Damage
In order to permanently stabilize the house and create an improved crawl space environment, we had to approach the project from several different angles. Since the floors were not stable, especially in the hallway area, we needed to install support beams. Three 2×8 wood support beams were installed and three crawl space floor supports were used to stabilize and lift the hallway wall as much as the home would allow. The AFS team also installed four crawl space floor supports under the dropping stairway wall to permanently stabilize it and lift it back to its original position. Another crawl space floor support was also used under the girder beam where the beam was dropping.
To summarize, our team used eight crawl space floor supports and three 2×8 wood support beams to permanently stabilize the floor in the customer’s home. The benefit of using the specialized crawl space floor supports lies in its simplicity. The supports, recommended for sagging crawl spaces, offer supplemental support to the failing structure and restores its structural stability. This solution is also used to lift failing floor joists or beams, can help with restoring them to their original position and permanently stabilizing them.
We made an agreement with the homeowner to encapsulate the crawl space with a vapor barrier, which is yet to be done. Homes in Alabama are prone to moisture problems, so the customer agreed with us when we suggested installing a dehumidifier in the crawl space area as well. This way the homeowner will be able to easily maintain a clean crawl space area and have the option to use it as storage.
If you are experiencing foundation problems, contact our local team and schedule a free home estimate. After inspecting your home, our contractors can suggest repair methods that will suit you the most.