Crawl Space Conundrum: Safely Maintaining Vigilance
Maintaining a home is a big responsibility, and it can be even more difficult if your house was built on top of a crawl space. This one-to-three-foot “buffer” between the ground and your house can be functional, but it also has many drawbacks and challenges.
A wet crawl space can spell trouble in many ways for your home and your family, so keeping it dry and healthy is all-important as a homeowner.
This area of your home is very tricky, so we don’t recommend that you venture into this tight, hazardous below-grade area on your own. It’s best to let local crawl space repair experts attend to this job.
But if you shouldn’t go into your crawl space, how are you going to know something is wrong with it?
Keep an eye out for these problem signs throughout the rest of your home that can indicate the presence of crawl space water and moisture:
- Unpleasant smells
- Mold and mildew growth
- High indoor humidity and moisture problems
- Pest infestation
- Sagging or bouncy floors
Dry Out Your Crawl Space: What Not to Do
Not only can a wet crawl space negatively impact your health, but it can put the structural stability of your home in danger as well. Drying out your crawl space and keeping it moisture-free is the key to a safe and healthy home.
While there are many options for wet crawl space repair and encapsulation, some just don’t stand the test of time.
Here’s a list of what not to do when considering how to keep your crawl space dry.
- Do Nothing – Your crawl space is generally out of sight and out of mind, and it may be tempting to not pay any attention to it. But your crawl space will not dry out on its own, and any water or moisture issues lingering in this space will only continue to get worse. This also puts your health and the structural integrity of your home at risk, and repairs down the road may be even more expensive.
- Install 6-mil Plastic – The plastic liners and vapor barriers often sold at hardware stores are very thin and generally do not cover your entire crawl space. They also can puncture easily and condensation continues to form. This method also does not address the unconditioned air that enters through the walls, vents, dirt floor, and rim joists.
- Spread Sand and Place Fans – While sand can be used to cover the dirt floor and help absorb water, this does nothing to address the lingering moisture. Fans placed in the crawl space will only circulate this moisture and the unconditioned air in the crawl space and throughout the rest of the home.
- Apply Spray Foam – Spray foam can be a great insulating material to help improve energy efficiency, but it does not belong in a crawl space. It ends up locking moisture in the wood flooring system, which can accelerate rot and decay. The foam also can cover and obstruct any utilities, wiring, and piping running through the crawl space, as well as impede termite and other inspections.
- Seal Vents and Install a Dehumidifier – It’s important to cut off a major source of moisture and outside air, as well as condition the air in your crawl space, but these are only part of the solution. Also, typical dehumidifiers are not powerful enough to handle crawl space humidity, and they do not address any leaking or standing water. These methods also do not fully address the various ways unconditioned air can enter the crawl space.
- Invest in Improper or Partial Encapsulation – While many companies claim to offer crawl space encapsulation, it may not be an all-encompassing project and corners may be cut for the sake of a quick installation. Wet insulation may not be removed; vents, pipes, and penetrations may not be sealed; vapor barrier seams may be stapled instead of taped; walls may be left bare and not insulated; groundwater may not be addressed; a termite inspection gap may not be left after solutions are installed; a cheap dehumidifier may be installed; and piers may not be properly wrapped.
- Any DIY Projects – The crawl space is a tight, delicate, and dangerous area underneath your home. If you venture there alone, your safety could be at risk. It also could be difficult for you to install any repairs. We at Ohio Basement Authority care about your personal health and safety, as well as that of your home. That’s why it’s best to rely on our expert team to inspect your crawl space and deploy the best permanent repair solutions based on its needs.
How Professionals Keep Your Crawl Space Moisture-Free
When you work with the professional team at Ohio Basement Authority, you will get a complete, customizable solution for your crawl space problems. We make sure to thoroughly inspect your home and your crawl space before recommending any plans for repair. We want to make sure the solutions we install are the right fit for what’s going on in your house.
The process can vary depending on the situation in your crawl space, but we typically address repairs and drying out a crawl space in the following ways:
- Address Crawl Space Water Removal with Drainage – An interior drainage system and a sump pump will be installed to intercept and remove leaking water and groundwater.
- Properly Seal Vents – Vent covers sized specifically for your crawl space vents are placed over these openings to prevent air and water intrusion, as well as make it more difficult for pests to get inside.
- Install Rigid Insulation Panels – Fiberglass can easily fail and harbor pests and mold, but our insulation panels are thick and durable for proper wall insulation. They also are Class A Fire-Rated and have an integrated termiticide.
- Full Encapsulation with a Vapor Barrier – Our true 20-mil fiber-reinforced vapor barrier completely seals your crawl space from the earth. It is thick and durable, puncture-resistant, and comes with a long-term warranty.
- Crawl Space Moisture Control with a Dehumidifier – Our energy-efficient, self-draining crawl space dehumidifier conditions the air, helps reduce odors, and minimizes the opportunity for mold growth.
Along with drying your crawl space, Ohio Basement Authority can help you create a safer and healthier living environment. Contact us today to schedule a free crawl space inspection and repair quote with our experienced professionals.