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No footing under crawl space wall?

Posted by ShadyAcres (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 20, 14 at 13:50

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.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: No footing under crawl space wall?

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.

RE: No footing under crawl space wall?

You say Image and video hosting by TinyPic

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

RE: No footing under crawl space wall?

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.

The other crawl side lintel seems better supported. While in the crawl, I measured the foundation lintel as 6" in depth (front to back), then felt ~3 more inches to ground dirt.

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

This post was edited by SparklingWater on Sat, Jul 5, 14 at 12:20

RE: No footing under crawl space wall?

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!

RE: No footing under crawl space wall?

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

RE: No footing under crawl space wall?

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.

RE: No footing under crawl space wall?

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?

If you moved the man and the lintel down to that house's foundation, it pretty much mimics mine. I think the ~ 1/2" height metal lintel I see at our crawl space foundation bottom running laterally is there to support the cinderblocks (the lintel probably runs all across the front wall) and bridge to original house foundation wall. 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. I have no idea though as I'm just a mom.

As promised, here is a photo of the metal lintel with no fill dirt below.

 photo 0622040734a_zps410418c5.jpg

Looks a lot like yours, ShadyAcres.

This post was edited by SparklingWater on Sat, Jul 5, 14 at 12:21

RE: No footing under crawl space wall?

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?

RE: No footing under crawl space wall?

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's done 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

RE: No footing under crawl space wall?

Thanks again Worthy for your help here.

It was actually water that, with a recent very heavy rain, pooled in a low ground spot a foot away and east from that west facing lintel. At other times when it rains less, the area is moist.

Thanks for letting me know you can tie in block additions. Yes, that lintel placed next to the original home wall (to left on photo) sandwiched with foundation to the right is puzzling. Weight distribution supporting the new west foundation? Shouldn't that open area be similarly filled, even if just to support the lintel?

Edit: Like the OP, I am in the process of re-evaluating the crawl space for insulation, and have viewed the diagrammatics you referenced.

This post was edited by SparklingWater on Sun, Jun 22, 14 at 12:54

RE: No footing under crawl space wall?

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 what’s 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

RE: No footing under crawl space wall?

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.

RE: No footing under crawl space wall?

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.

RE: No footing under crawl space wall?

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

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