How Crawl Space Leaking Can Damage Your Pier and Beam Foundation

How Crawl Space Leaking Can Cause Damage

Before large quantities of concrete became widely available in the 1950s, most homes were built on pier and beam foundations. Today, many homes still rest on this foundation type which does its job superbly well. Briefly, the pier and beam foundation consists of beams that rest on vertical piers driven into the ground. The beams support the rest of the understructure upon which the house sits. The piers are made of concrete or wood with concrete feet that extend into the ground at varying depths. The area between the ground and the house’s understructure is enclosed to form a crawl space.

How Standing Water and Moisture Affects the Foundation

While the pier and beam structure works well as a foundation, serious problems occur if you get standing water inside the crawl space. Besides the air quality problems caused by the water, persistent standing water will damage the foundation which will ultimately damage the house on top of it. The water softens the earth beneath the piers causing them to sink. The beams resting on the sunken piers will deflect and eventually sag. This in turn distorts the floors and the rest of the house’s structure. If the soil is clay based, the water can cause it to swell which may tilt or shift the piers. Any kind of pier movement damages the understructure.

crawl space leaking

Crawl Space Leaking Can Lead to Wood Rot

Persistent crawl space leaking increases the humidity which promotes wood rot. The wood rot in the beams and any piers made from wood weakens the structure and eventually causes it to fail. If your crawl space has standing water problems, a sump pump drainage system should be installed.

Wood rot can also occur when very humid outside air gets inside the crawl space. The humidity in Atlanta gets very high in the summer. If your crawl space has the old-style air vents or is otherwise not sealed off, the humidity will again promote wood rot when overnight temperatures drop and cause condensation. Dealing with this problem requires sealing off doors, vents, and the walls. Vapor barriers can be installed that completely seal off the crawl space from the outside environment as well as from the moisture in the soil.

If you are having water or moisture problems in your crawl space, Everdry Basement Waterproofing can help. Contact us today for a free inspection.