The “bigger” problem causers.
We have talked about how insects, mold, and fungus can harm the wood in our homes. Now we need to look at the bigger sources, people. Although larger and more capable, they usually cause less damage, usually unintentionally.
There are many ways people can damage the framing of a house. The most common ways are cutting holes or taking chunks out of it.
Not to point fingers at any trade, stuff happens, and it happens all the time. The perfect layout upstairs in the house rarely takes into account what’s going on in the crawl space. The location of joists and girders is not a typical part of the interior design process. Sometimes, the perfect placement for a sink or toilet runs right through a joist/girder/pier. Sometimes, a joist happens to be where an HVAC duct needs to go.
Things happen, and holes get made. But when they do, this diminishes the capacity of the framing member.
Our moving around in a crawlspace can potentially cause damage too. Bumping and banging things can cause small plumbing leaks, which won’t flood a crawlspace but can make it humid. If you knock insulation off ductwork, it can cause condensation and moisture problems. If you install insulation upside down, it can trap moisture against the subfloor. This can lead to microbial growth.
Failure to clean gutters can lead to standing water in a crawlspace. We can unknowingly damage our homes in various ways, and the symptoms may only show years later.
We also build in or cause structural deficiencies in homes. If engineering is not done during home design, it can cause problems like joists that span too far or walls that are not aligned correctly. These issues cause floors to sag over time. When you move or remove walls in a house, it’s important to consider and support all the loads in the new arrangement.
Before changing any parts of the structure, consult the building code for guidance on how to do it properly. Or, to ensure that new supports are added to replace the support that was removed or modified. It never hurts to bring in a professional for guidance.