Neglect The Crawl Space at Your Own Risk – Protect Your Home Value

Crawl Space Neglect Can Result in Severe Financial Risk

At Foundation Repair Pros, we know that most homeowners with a pier and beam foundation hate the idea of even thinking about the crawl space beneath their feet. That dark, dank, smelly area under the house is not something they want to devote any attention to. However, this purposeful neglect can eventually result in significant reduction in a home’s market value. This can be corrected but will require expensive foundation repair bills that could have been mitigated with a little periodic attention and maintenance.

Rotten beams, Foundation Repair Pros San Antonio Tx

Mold rotten beams Foundation Repair Pros

The problem with a neglected crawl space is that this area can easily become the perfect habitat for mold, fungus, termites, insects and rodents. All it takes is a humid environment or standing water and these critters can thrive. And these critters will destroy the wooden components of your foundation i.e. piers, posts, beams and joists.

Standing Water in the Crawl Space

Pier and beam foundations are designed to remain “bone-dry” after construction. A little moisture here and there is ok as long as it dries out quickly. The real problem is persistent water accumulation like from a plumbing leak or frequent rainfall that flows under the home and results in standing water in the crawl space.

Persistent standing water can lead to the saturated soil to initially expand and then weaken and collapse allowing the heavy piers to sink. This unbalance causes the foundation to shift resulting in the common symptoms of foundation failure – bouncy, sloping floors, sheetrock cracks, windows and doors that don’t function properly.

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How to Correct Crawl Space Water Issues

In order to fix water accumulation problems you need to first figure out the source of the issue. In many instances, it is the result of drainage around the home. If a section or portion slopes down towards the house, this directs rainfall or sprinkler water to seek entry into the space. One solution would be to create a berm to block this flow of water and re-route to drain away from the home.

Another potential solution is to install a French Drain system to collect external water and route the water to a sump or to the street in front of your house. You dig a trench to slope towards a drain point.   You can just run it to an underground basin or wherever else would get it away from the home.  Once you have the trench dug, you install a 4″ perforated pipe, cover it with a geo-thermal sleeve for a filter and cover it with drain rock.

french drain construction diagram, Foundation Repair Pros

French drain diagram

Encapsulation of the Crawl Space

Once you have external water sources under control, it’s time to consider a permanent solution to protection the internal area of the crawl space with encapsulation. The basic technique is to cover the dirt floor with a durable vapor barrier (thick plastic 20 mil) and up the side walls to lock out water vapor. In some instances, a sump with a pump is installed below the barrier to handle any groundwater accumulation. In areas of high humidity any vents need to be sealed particularly during the spring and summer months and a high-capacity dehumidification and air filtration system may be warranted.

crawl space encapsulation San Antonio

Crawl space encapsulation, Foundation Repair Pros

Encapsulation on the low end will run about $3,000 and $8,000 to $10,000 on the high end with the mid-point at about $6,000.

Pier and Beam Foundation Repair

Once all water issues have been corrected, it’s time to inspect and fix any foundation failure issues. There are several potential corrective measures that the professionals at Foundation Repair Pros have perfected for pier and beam foundation repair depending on the extent of the damage and specific site-specific conditions. These may include:

  • install new piers with engineered concrete pad base and block or steel supports
  • use heavy-duty jacks to support and level joists and girders
  • replace rotten or broken beams with fresh wood or steel i-beams
  • use steel shims to solidify the intersection of piers and beams

For further information, visit our Pier and Beam Repair page:

Foundation Repair Pros is the most experienced contractor in the San Antonio area that offers pier and beam foundation repair. Protect the value of your largest investment. Give us a call today for a free inspection and cost estimate to correct any water drainage issues and fix your foundation problems.


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