Just as with any other part of your home’s foundation, when a crawl space begins to sag and sink the structural integrity of the house may be threatened. If the problem is allowed to persist, the symptoms will become much more severe, and the floor may cave entirely.
You may not know that your crawl space has a problem, but issues in the other parts of your house may give you clues. If you have sinking or sagging floors, jamming or sticking interior doors or cracks in drywall, these may indicate structural issues in the crawl space. Odors coming from the space or rodent and insect infestations could also be telltale signs.
There are various ways to repair a structurally damaged crawl space. The wood that is damaged by rot can be ripped out and replaced. As long as the dampness problem is also addressed, this method may be successful. Some contractors opt to add concrete columns to jack up the floor. These will need to be shimmed with wood to jack up the floor sufficiently, and that wood could deteriorate too over time.
A better method is to use metal supports sunk into a concrete footer. These supports are adjustable, and will set the floor at exactly the correct height. Because this system is constructed of metal and concrete, it will not deteriorate no matter how much time elapses.
As with every foundation repair that is meant to fix a sinking and settling issue, the first step is to assure that the crawl space is no longer damp or wet.