Crawl Space Repair Case Studies: Mold and Odors Resolved With Crawl Space Encapsulation

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Challenge

 Mr. and Mrs. Sabatka have lived in their home for 14 years. It is a 1950's era ranch style home with 1,200 square feet. The house had a vented dirt crawl space under the entire structure.

The Sabatka's have made many improvements to their home over the years as they enjoy where they live and value their home. The Sabatkas had always noticed a damp odor in the summer months in the main floor living area. Mold growing in the crawl space was a concern that they had. They also had issues with water in the crawlspace. Condensation builds up on the main floor windows in the Winter was also occurring. They replaced the windows in their home about seven years ago. They went with high-quality double pane windows. The condensation was still a problem even with running a dehumidifier through the Winter. The newer window panes were then replaced with low e argon triple pane windows, and the condensation problem persisted.

The Sabatkas wanted to go into the crawl space during storms or tornadoes, however didn't want to go into that environment. Storage space was also an issue since they didn't have a basement. 

 

Solution

Thrasher installed the CleanSpace encapsulation system, a drainage system and conditioned the crawl space air.

To effectively address an issue like this and come up with the proper solution, it is crucial to identify the problem's root cause. The loose soil and moisture are the issue in most crawl space situations, as in this case. First and foremost, it is essential to know that the damp smell and odor are caused by mold. 

Mold takes three things to grow and flourish. First is moisture, the second is mold spores, and the third is organic material or anything from a tree. We can only eliminate one of those three things, and that's the moisture. 

Organic material is what our homes are built of, so that can't go away, mold spores are just in the environment which we can't control, but moisture we can help with that.

The first step to addressing this issue is to encapsulate the crawl space and protect the area from the soil's moisture. Our CleanSpace encapsulation system takes care of this step by sealing the damp soil off from the area to be covered. CleanSpace is antimicrobial, which means that mold will not grow on it.

The next step, if necessary, is to install a drainage system to collect excess moisture, which protects the area from flooding. A professionally designed drainage system is an essential part of this step to ensure that excess water is captured effectively. Once the excess water is captured, it then needs to be diverted away from the area. 

That part of this step can be addressed with our Triplesafe sump system or SuperSump Plus system

 The final step to solving this issue would be to properly insulate the area and then condition the area by controlling the amount of humidity in the air. This would consist of properly insulating the walls and rim joists cavities and then controlling the humidity with a SaniDry Sedona air system. Because of the "stack effect", the upper levels of your home replace air by pulling air from the lower levels of your home, so if you want clean, healthy air in the upper levels of your home, then you need to have clean, healthy air in the lower levels of your home.

 The result is providing our customers with a dry, healthy, useable space that improves the quality of life, provides peace of mind, and helps protect the value of their homes. An added benefit to this solution is increased energy savings because your home will be sealed off better from the elements, and your existing HVAC systems will not have to work as hard to keep the air cool in the Summer and warm in the Winter.

"We tried several different methods to stop the condensation on our windows before turning to Thrasher. We ran the dehumidifier all Winter long, and we also upgraded our windows. We still had the same problem. Our neighbor told us that the crawlspace under our home might be the cause of our problems. We called Thrasher. Kevin came to our home to do an inspection. He suggested a crawl space encapsulation system. After having the system installed, the window condensation problem was eliminated, and the musty odors went away. We can go into our crawl space during storms, and we like the extra space for storage items. It has solved all of our problems and has given us' peace of mind' that our home is being protected. We were extremely pleased with the quality of materials and workmanship. The workers were on time, friendly, knowledgeable and hard working." -The Sabatkas