Even modern homes benefit from the presence of wooden structural supports. Unfortunately, despite their versatility, these supports can rapidly fall victim to water damage if you don’t keep a close eye on the overall stability of your home.
When it comes to the care and keeping of your wooden supports, Mount Valley Foundation Services team has a few tricks up their sleeves. If you find that you may need to replace rotting or molding wooden supports, you can reach out to the professionals serving your area and work with them to determine what your best course of action might be. Then, with the benefit of a free services quote, you can go about repairing and re-valuing your home.
Understanding Wood Damage in Your Home
All of the wooden supports in your home are especially porous. This means they can take in moisture at an impressive rate. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can become a problem if your home takes in more moisture than it should.
Your crawl space can all fall victim to water damage if they’re not taken care of. Groundwater, rain, snowmelt, and other forces can cause cracks to appear in these structures. In turn, water in both its liquid and gaseous state can begin to circulate throughout the rest of your home. As your wooden supports absorb this humidity, they can become proving grounds from mold and other forms of rot. As those mold and rot clusters grow, your wooden supports can compromise the safety of your family or crack down the middle. If you don’t seek out the necessary repairs, this kind of damage can permanently devalue your home, knocking off up to 30 percent of your home’s market value.
You do, however, have some repair options available. Once you figure out why, specifically, your wooden supports have started to take on as much water as they have, you’ll be able to determine what repairs and future waterproofing measures may better help you secure your space. In turn, you can go about restoring your home’s lost value and protecting your family from unexpected moisture-related health problems.
Wood Damage in Your Home
As mentioned, water tends to be the driving force behind most wood damage in your home. There are other factors, however, that can compromise your wooden supports’ structural integrity. These include:
While you may see seepage start to make its way into your home, standing water isn’t the only sign that moisture is wreaking havoc throughout your home. Hydrostatic pressure comes in many forms, though all can trace their roots back to the influence humidity, groundwater, rain, and snowmelt have on your home.
Hydrostatic pressure begins to build up outside of your home after water starts to gather in your soil. That water, when it comes into contact with the materials making up your crawl space, can cause said materials to transform on a molecular level. The temperatures at which those materials rest will change, and they will shrink or expand, accordingly. When faced with those fluctuations, those materials can begin to develop stress cracks that will allow even more moisture into the rest of your home. If your foundation, basement, or crawl space ends up overexposed to this kind of pressure, then they can give out, buckling and destabilizing the whole of your home.
When talking about hydrostatic pressure, many contractors prefer to refer to the pressure’s influence on block walls and similar structures. However, hydrostatic pressure can force its devastating effects on your wooden supports, as well. The supports you have holding up your crawl space walls can often begin to show signs of hydrostatic stress faster than your concrete and other materials. If your wooden supports start to give out in response to the presence of this kind of moisture in your home, your drywall can pull away from your supports, your floor can start to sink in between your support beams, and your home can generally become unsafe to stay in.
Mold and Rot
As mentioned, wood’s porous nature can make it the ideal incubator for all manner of molds and other dangerous forms of rot. While mold and rot are not the same things, they can both have devastating impacts on your home’s structural integrity and on the health of your family. Both mold and rot are types of fungi that can make their way into your home. Rot, specifically, presents a greater threat to your home’s structural integrity, and it comes in fewer varieties. Mold, comparatively, presents a more immediate threat to your family’s health.
There are three types of molds that can make themselves at home in your wooden supports. These include:
- Allergenic molds. Allergenic molds exacerbate any allergies that you or your family members may have. They can also cause you or any other unaffected parties to develop allergies if you previously did not have them.
- Pathogenic molds. Pathogenic molds can make any existing health conditions that you or your loved ones suffer from worse over time.
- Toxigenic molds. Toxigenic molds, including black mold, can put your family’s health in immediate danger. These molds can cause serious respiratory problems for all residents living in an impacted space.
Note that if you find signs of any of these molds or similar forms of rot in your crawl space, you’ll need to get in touch with a mold removal professional as soon as possible. Toxigenic molds, in particular, can have devastating effects on the health of even healthy members of your family, so it’s best to let experienced professionals remove them from your property.
Termites and Other Pests
That said, it isn’t just water that can damage the wooden supports in your home. Animals and insects can cause a significant degree of damage when they come into contact with your wooden supports. Termites and carpenter ants will view your supports as ready-made meals if they’re able to make their way into your walls or floors.
Burrowing animals, comparatively, won’t actively eat away at your home’s wooden supports, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t do any damage to them. Instead, these critters can dig burrows up to 45 feet long. Those burrows will destabilize the soil beneath your home. In doing so, they can cause your foundation to begin sinking prematurely. In turn, your walls can start to bow, your floor can start to buckle, and you may find yourself facing a leak as well.
Moisture alone is difficult to contend with when you’re trying to protect your home’s wooden supports. That effort can become further complicated if the temperatures around your home start to drop. When water freezes, it can cause the materials it has been absorbed into to expand by up to nine percent. While this may not seem so severe at first glance, your home’s wooden supports are not equipped for this kind of change. Wooden supports impacted by frozen moisture can crack almost immediately, throwing the stability of your home into question.
Of course, moisture doesn’t just get into your home from the great outdoors. If you don’t make a point to maintain your pipes or your HVAC system, these essential home features can begin to leak. As these leaks increase the humidity throughout your home, they can force your wooden supports to endure high-intensity hydrostatic pressure.
When faced with this pressure from inside your home, your wooden supports will react in much the same way they would to hydrostatic pressure that originated outside of your home. These supports will absorb moisture and may show signs of cracks or other damage if they are not immediately taken care of. In turn, you may start to hear your floors squeak or see your drywall pulling away from your walls.
Sometimes the damage done to your wooden supports may have nothing at all to do with moisture inside or outside your home. On occasion, the damage your wooden supports take on after months or years of work can be the fault of the original construction team.
The construction team that built up your home, for example, may have used green wood to establish your supports. Alternatively, they may have installed your supports at inappropriate intervals. If this is the case, then you have a few different repair options available. Wall anchors and similar supports can help you shore up your damaged supports, as can concrete replacements. However, it may also be in your best interest to explore what kind of comprehensive replacement or restructuring options you have available to you.
Protecting your home from wood damage doesn’t have to be a difficult endeavor. As long as you’re willing to get your hands dirty, there’s more than one way for you to secure wooden structures, new or old.
- Waterproofing Your Home
When you waterproof your home, you limit the amount of damage hydrostatic pressure can do to your structural supports. Vapor barriers, for example, are dense enough to keep moisture from getting into your basement or crawl space, while dehumidifiers actively pull unwanted moisture out of your air.
While these protective measures won’t eliminate hydrostatic pressure entirely, they will dramatically reduce the impact it can have on the structural stability of your floor beams and wall supports. In turn, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that not only are your supports less likely to crack but that any mold particles that otherwise might settle in your home will be starved of their necessary nutrients.
- Professional Guidance
Homeowners don’t always think about the kind of attention their basement, foundation, or crawl space may benefit from. If you want to keep your home from suffering any unnecessary wood damage, however, you may want to make a point of checking in with your area experts on an annual basis.
You can schedule annual home inspections with the professionals in your area ahead of time, even if you don’t think you have water damage in your home to contend with. Professionals will be able to walk through your home with you and help you identify any signs of damage that may be ready to evolve into something more serious. With help from these sorts of teams, you can stay one step ahead of the hydrostatic pressure or other forces that might put your wooden supports at risk.
Sometimes, you’ll have the opportunity to repair or support any wooden structures in your home that have suffered from some manner of water or fracture damage. There are times, however, when it is in your best interest to replace your rotting wood instead of repairing it.
- Help from The Professionals
In these cases, area professionals can help you:
- Eliminate the source of a leak
- Address issues with your yard grade
- Address issues with your gutters
- Work with exterminators to eliminate pests
- Wait Until Other Damage Is Fixed
Only once all the problems plaguing your foundation, basement, or crawl space have been addressed will you have the opportunity to remove those rotting supports and replace them with fresher and firmer wood. Note that you may also have the opportunity to swap your wooden supports for other materials.
As mentioned, it’s never a bad idea to waterproof the whole of your home. When you invest in home waterproofing measures, you make an active effort to keep your wooden supports from coming into contact with the hydrostatic pressure that might otherwise cause them to split.
- Pick the Right Gear
Some of the best waterproofing measures to help protect your wooden supports can include:
- Interior drainage
- Sump pumps
- Full space encapsulation with a vapor barrier
- Crawl space support posts
Note that there are other waterproofing solutions available to you. You can work with area experts to determine which of those most compatible with your home are within your budget and may address your needs.
- Use More Than One Measure
You can, however, always stack waterproofing measures, or install multiple measures at one time. As long as you check up on these measures at least once a year and with professional assistance, you should be able to use them to protect your home from the kind of wood damage that might compromise its overall value.
Protecting Your Supports Against Wood Damage
With all these potential sources putting your home’s wooden supports at risk, it can be difficult to know how you might best protect your home against unwanted wood damage. Luckily, that’s where local professionals can lend a hand. After you’ve walked through your home with an expert, you’ll have a better idea of what parts of your home may be most vulnerable to future damage.
In turn, you’ll have an opportunity to discuss what small repairs or waterproofing installations may best help protect your home from wood damage. Note that it is always a good idea to invest in home repairs before you start installing home waterproofing measures. If you try to install a home waterproofing solution before you repair any damage done to your home, you risk burning that support out before it’s had an opportunity to properly protect your home. Alternatively, if you invest in early repairs, you can later use your waterproofing measure of choice (or several, depending on your preferences) to prevent any damage from reappearing in your home.
Protect Your Home Against Wood Rot with Help from Professionals
Want help protecting your home’s wooden supports? The professionals in your area can help. You can reach out to the Mount Valley Foundation Services team to schedule a free home inspection. An expert can then walk through your home with you and help you identify any signs of damage or any weak points you may want to keep an eye on in the future. Once you’ve finished your walk through your home, you’ll be able to look over a free services quote noting what waterproofing installations or repairs may best suit your home. The Mount Valley Foundation Services team can help you invest in essential wooden support repairs or replacements while working to stay within your established budget.