We all want to ensure our homes look good and address any issues immediately. All too often, however, the crawl space falls under the realm of “out of sight, out of mind.”
Even though we don’t often give the crawl space much consideration, it is an integral part of the home that should be considered regularly. If an issue occurs in the crawl space, it can affect every part of the home in some way or another.
Any issues with standing water, cracks in the foundation walls, or other serious problems must be fixed right away–including even minor problems that can appear as various issues throughout the home- so that they can’t get worse.
The crawl space is more than just an area under the home where we conveniently keep our plumbing and electrical components out of public view. It is an area that serves the home in many ways, and if it is cared for properly, it can even be a valuable part of the home.
In this article, we will look into several factors that could make crawl space repair necessary. We will then look at the different types of repairs that may be needed and consider taking the next step, which would be crawl space encapsulation.
Is Crawl Space Repair Necessary?
When problems happen in the crawl space, they may also appear as signs and issues in other parts of the home. Being familiar with these different issues can help you address the root of the problem and stop it from worsening.
If you notice any of the following potential issues associated with crawl space problems, you should watch them carefully. One issue does not always indicate that you have serious problems, but several issues (or an issue that continues to progress) deserve quick attention.
High humidity: Excess moisture is one of the most significant issues in the crawl space. It could be standing water, which is an obvious red flag indicating that problems are occurring. More than likely, however, it can be seen in the increase in humidity.
As we will discuss, high humidity levels in the crawl space can cause many problems. These can include mold, wood rot, and even damage to the first-level floors.
Many homeowners do not often consider another issue: how high humidity in the crawl space is associated with high humidity throughout the home. This occurs due to the “stack effect.”
The stack effect is when the hot air in your home rises and exits through the attic, leaving behind a slight vacuum. That vacuum is then filled by pulling air from the crawl space. In most homes, 50% or more of the air you breathe originates in a crawl space.
High humidity levels can mean unhealthy air, so they need to be addressed as soon as possible. Repairing the crawl space can cut down on moisture substantially.
Mold/mildew: The crawl space is typically a damp, cool, and untouched location in the home. As a result, it provides the perfect area for mold and mildew to form.
You may notice mold and mildew growing on the walls, in the insulation, or elsewhere in the crawl space. If you do, it should be fixed right away.
Increased energy bills: Your energy bills may be affected since air is coming from the crawl space into the living space. Moist air is hard to heat and cool, so you will use more energy to keep your home comfortable.
One of the biggest issues that causes people to look into crawl space repair and encapsulation is having energy bills that are higher than usual. Most people blame the power company, but in reality, those larger numbers may be due to damp air.
Old house smell: Experiencing an “old house smell” is not uncommon, but it is not something we want to deal with. Because we are accustomed to it, we may not even notice it as an issue in our home–but others will.
An old house smell is typically associated with fungi (including mold and bacteria) as it breaks down and leaves behind VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), which is where the smell originates from.
Which Crawl Space Repairs Are Typically Needed?
When work begins on a crawl space, various things may be done. Each job is unique, but many will include one or more of the following repairs.
Insulation replacement: In many cases, the insulation in the crawl space is insufficient or may have gotten wet and now has mold. In either case, the insulation may be removed and new insulation installed.
Water removal: In some cases, there may be a problem with standing water in the crawl space. If there is standing water or you frequently have standing water, it must be fixed. Any water will have to be removed, and something set up to keep water from being a problem.
Typically, this would include a drainage system, such as a French drain or Drain Tile. These buried perforated pipes carry water from the area to a lower-lying area or into a sump pit. It can then be pumped out using a sump pump with a battery backup.
Sealing foundation cracks: Foundation cracks can be a big issue, and are often associated with hydrostatic pressure. When you live in an area with expansive soil and the soil is waterlogged, it can lead to this problem.
These are just a few of the different crawl space repairs that may be necessary. After they are finished, you can then take things to the next level with a crawl space encapsulation.
Should You Consider Crawl Space Encapsulation?
Repairing the crawl space can reduce many of the issues you may be experiencing due to moisture. The next step is to have it encapsulated, which also offers many benefits.
Crawl space encapsulation takes place after any repairs have been completed. Any gaps or cracks in the crawl space are then patched, and the walls and floor are wrapped with a thick layer of poly sheeting.
This vapor barrier does more than keep moisture out of the basement; it helps protect it from many issues that could occur in the future. This includes everything from mold growth to infestation by bugs and rodents.
A dehumidifier may also be installed that will help keep the area dry. Ultimately, you are left with a clean, dry, and usable space. Many homeowners use this new space for storage.
Although we may not think about our crawl space very often, it is an area of the home that is worth our attention. By having it repaired and encapsulated, you can benefit your home, health, and family. Contact us today for your free crawl space inspection and repair estimate!