Thursday, March 31st, 2022 by Holden Videon
It's not uncommon for crawl spaces to have problems. Crawl spaces are damp, dingy, and messy by nature, and they expose a part of your house to the weather. While most homes with crawl spaces have some venting to help with air circulation, it is rarely enough to keep mold, wood rot, and determined vermin at bay. When it comes to mistakes committed during do-it-yourself attempts to remedy crawl space issues, there are four warning flags to look for.
Exposed crawl spaces are notorious for having drafty, cold floors. Homeowners wedging fiberglass insulation between the joists beneath their flooring in an attempt to block out the cold is one of the most popular DIY remedies in an attempt to block out the cold. While fiberglass insulation is a viable alternative for drier places, such as behind drywall within a home, it is not suitable for crawl spaces. Moisture from the ground and moisture from HVAC ducting are quickly absorbed by exposed insulation. When paper-backed fiberglass insulation is exposed to moisture, it loses nearly all of its insulating characteristics and, because it's an organic substance, it can actually host extra allergens, mold, and mildew. The soaked insulation then either becomes so saturated that it falls down, defeating the original purpose, or with the help of staples or metal spikes to hold the insulation up, it will hold water directly against the wood, developing mold and wood rot at an accelerated rate.
More often than not, homeowners may think that it is safe to vent their dryer into their crawlspace. The dryer vent releases hot moist air, and this additional warm moisture spreads throughout the crawl space where it can quickly lead to mold growth, rot and warping of floors.
Some well-meaning homeowners take a moisture-resistant material and just run it along the underside of the flooring, stapling it to the floor joists as they go. Despite their good intentions, this method traps moisture between the underside of the flooring and the vapor barrier. As temperatures rise and fall, condensation develops in the gaps between the barrier and the flooring and becomes the perfect breeding ground for mold and wood rot.
While pooling water from misdirected gutters and downspouts can produce difficulties that require basement waterproofing, homes with crawlspaces can also be at risk from pooling water from gutters and downspouts. Water will always go to the lowest location it can find, so over time it will seep its way into the crawlspace. Mold development, damp odors, structural damage, and sinking & settling of support structures in your home are all possible consequences of pooled water. If you're seeing - or smelling - signs of excess moisture in your home's crawl space, contact one of our trained crawl space professionals today for a free crawl space consultation and no-obligation quote for repair. Our products create a complete barrier between the exposed dirt floors beneath your home, eliminating excess moisture and allergens, and protecting your home against rot, mold, mildew, and pests.