No footing under crawl space wall?

ShadyAcresJune 20, 2014

Good day everyone,

We just bought a house in Northwest OH (built 1990). I have been reading a lot about crawl space encapsulation on various internet sites recently. It seems like something that would be beneficial and that I could do myself. So I was looking around down in the crawl space yesterday just to get some ideas on how I would proceed, and I noticed that there doesn't seem to be a footing under my roughly 3' high crawl space walls. I can reach under it quite easily with my hand (there was some loose fiberglass insulation that had fallen down in there). Also, it looks like there is a 2x6 or 2x8 under the wall. I am new to crawl spaces, so I really don't know what to think of this. Shouldn't something be holding the crawl space wall up? Why wood anyone put a wood board under the concrete wall? Should I fill this space in with gravel? Is it actually a poured concrete wall or some cheaper alternative? Thank you for your help.

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SparklingWater

That looks like a lentil, with the fill dirt collapsed to me. See the horizontal piece? Can't tell if it's metal or wood.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 6:30PM
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worthy

You say
lentil.

I say lintel. :-)

But neither one has a place under a concrete wall. Hopefully, this is just an aberration at one spot, in which case filling with tamped gravel or concrete would be OK.

If your crawl is not just under a porch but the entire house, I would definitely have concerns.

First, a crawl foundation should be sufficiently deep to avoid frost heave. Secondly, the soil under the foundation should be undisturbed, not fallen away. Thirdly, wood--unless it's specially treated wood in a wooden foundation--has no place directly under the foundation.

This post was edited by worthy on Sat, Jun 21, 14 at 0:15

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 12:10AM
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SparklingWater

Ha, must have been hungry.

Seriously though, I have two lintel's-one in the foundation side at the beginning of each crawl space-which are metal. That's how I recognized the posters.

Thanks for correction Worthy; I actually enjoy making lentil soup.

This post was edited by SparklingWater on Mon, Aug 4, 14 at 16:21

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 8:13PM
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ShadyAcres

Sounds like I may be in the same boat as you Sparkling Water. The area in the above photo is at the beginning of my crawl space as well. I have not had time to get in there to see how far the wood extends along the wall (hopefully tomorrow - wife taking kids to in-laws - yay!). I just moved in a week ago, so I have not seen the effect of a major rain on that area of the crawl, although I will say the soil (clay) was wet underneath the wall. Thanks for the help guys!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 10:05PM
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ShadyAcres

I was doing some research online and saw this image. This may be in relation to what we are dealing with. It seems like the idea is not to extend the crawl footing to the basement wall for whatever reason.

This post was edited by ShadyAcres on Sat, Jun 21, 14 at 23:50

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 11:49PM
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So it's a crawl under a porch and is not continuous with the foundation wall of the house except for a piece of wood?

A properly built crawl space is typically just a short version of a full foundation. And you don't leave out blocks (or a section of pour) in either.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 2:01AM
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SparklingWater

Thats a great picture, ShadyAcres. Does that fit in with your space, or is your lintel farther down to the foundation end as your photo seems to imply?

I don't imagine you can build an addition with cinderblocks abutting cinder blocks as you'd leave a space between. So my guess is they used the lintel for bridge and support.

This post was edited by SparklingWater on Mon, Aug 4, 14 at 16:16

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 8:59AM
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SparklingWater

ShadyAcres, as to that wood, I'm flummoxed too why anyone would use it in a crawlspace. Have you gone in (with proper protection of course and visual inspection first to determine safety of space) to physically check it out? I see the brown wood, but am I seeing a darker, narrower possibly metal under the wood too?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 9:38AM
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Anyway, this area is a source of water entry.Any ideas what to do?

Water or moisture?

At the least, a crawl with finished space above should have a ground cover. At best, a concrete floor with an appropriate drainage system.

I don't imagine you can build an addition with cinderblocks abutting cinder blocks...

It'sdone all the time, though you have to tie in the two. But starting a new foundation a foot away and using a lintel--let alone a wood beam(!)--to connect the two is a new one on me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Building Science Corp. on crawl spaces

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 11:14AM
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SparklingWater

Thanks again Worthy for your help here.

It was actually water that, with a recent very heavy rain, pooled in a low ground spot.

Thanks for letting me know you can tie in block additions.

This post was edited by SparklingWater on Mon, Aug 4, 14 at 16:18

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 12:45PM
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SparklingWater

ShadyAcres, when you put your hand under that lintel, what did you eventually touch? An outer wall? You also said you found some insulation. This might apply to you.

I've found a bit of information on wall cavities and lintels between inner and outer walls used to damp proof spaces.

"Insulating cavities and lintels

Wall cavities are much more than just gaps in a wall. This article explains whatâÂÂs in a typical cavity.

If your house was built after 1920, you probably have wall cavities between the outer and inner walls of the house. Originally, the wall cavity became widespread as a way to prevent damp in the house. More recently, it has also provided a place for more insulation to be added to the house." (see link for more).

Do you mind if I tag along with you on this thread? I don't want to high jack it you know.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cavities and lintels

This post was edited by SparklingWater on Sun, Jun 22, 14 at 16:51

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 4:47PM
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ShadyAcres

Where I put my hand under the wall was just soil. Dry dirt towards the inside of the crawl wall and damp soil underneath and towards the exterior. Hijack away, I still have not had time to get in there and inspect further. If it is some sort of lintel system, I most likely will fill the void up with either gravel or concrete. Having the wood beam under the wall (there is no metal beam) is obviously not ideal but I guess the only thing I can do at this point is try to keep the area surrounding it as dry as possible. If I see the wood beam around the entire crawl(below my family room), I will be much more concerned. Thanks for the responses.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 9:16AM
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worthy

The cavity wall refers to above grade walls, not to foundations.

If the wood is actually supporting the foundation wall, it will rot away eventually. At the least, it needs to be supported and separated from the damp soil beneath. If the entire foundation is resting on wood, eventually it will destabilize the wall. Perhaps we are not getting the whole picture, as it would be unusual to see this on a relatively new home subject to building inspections. DIY additions after the fact, nothing surprises me.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 10:45AM
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ShadyAcres

I got into the crawl today. Took some of the fiberglass insulation off of the walls and tried to see how far the wood beam extended. It looks like it extends for about 3 ft from the entrance of the crawl (exterior wall). I did dig down after that 3 ft and found a footer. Why it does not extend to the partial basement I have no idea. The wood is damp, but has held up well considering it has been 24 years. It seems like there would be enough support (considering it is only a three foot span, to remove all the surrounding dirt and replace with gravel and perhaps some sort of crude water removal system.

This post was edited by ShadyAcres on Mon, Jun 23, 14 at 14:21

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 2:18PM
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