Serving Mid, Western and Northern Michigan,
Kalamazoo, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Traverse City
Friday, November 1st, 2019 by Amanda Waldmann
Usually when we talk about mold, we talk about it in terms of health. Mold is known to exacerbate allergies and asthma and even cause respiratory infections, so it’s a big deal when you find mold in your home. But did you know that it’s a big deal for your home, as well?
Mold grows on organic materials as long as there is sufficient moisture to harbor it. This is why things like fiberglass insulation with paper backing are strongly advised against in a basement or crawl space, because even humidity can be enough to let mold take hold in your home. But your home itself is also based in organic material - wood. And when mold grows on available wood, usually in the form of the floor joists of the home (visible as the ceiling of the basement or crawl space) it can cause catastrophic problems.
We recently encapsulated a crawl space where this was a problem. In the process of some projects, our customers pulled up the subfloor in one area of their home to find the joists riddled with mold and almost entirely rotted out. Constant exposure to moisture and expanding mold ate away at the wood until it was barely holding on.
Since floor joists run the length of your home and are a major support structure, it’s dangerous when they’re even slightly compromised. This level of degradation could lead to collapse at any moment. When a joist buckles, gravity comes into play and everything it’s holding up tends to follow it. This means your kitchen could end up in your crawl space.
Depending on the level of rot, there are a few things we can do to stabilize and support your home. If joists are simply sagging, SmartJack support posts are installed to support the joist and keep it in place. If they’re sagging and also starting to rot, we can sister wooden or steel beams to the existing joists and then install the SmartJacks for a supportive boost. In this case, we had to fully replace many of the joists to ensure the home’s safety.
This is another one of those situations that makes me want to remind you: problems don’t get better on their own - they only get worse. If you notice dips or soft spots in your floor, or a slightly funky smell drifting up from under your home, call us for your free inspection. Your home could literally be at stake.