It's not uncommon to have issues with crawl spaces. By nature, crawl spaces are damp, dingy, messy places that leave a portion of your home exposed to the elements. While most homes with crawl spaces do have some venting to help with air movement, rarely is it enough to prevent the growth of mold, wood rot and determined pests. Below we have four warning signs to look for when it comes to errors made during do-it-yourself attempts to fix crawl space issues.
#1: Exposed Insulation
Drafty and cold floors are common with exposed crawl spaces. One of the most common DIY fixes we'll see is when homeowners jam fiberglass insulation between the joists beneath their flooring in an attempt to block out the cold. While fiberglass insulation is a reasonable fix for drier areas - like behind drywall inside a home - it's not a good option for crawl spaces. Moisture that seeps up from the soil and condensation created by HVAC ducting is easily absorbed into exposed insulation. Once exposed to moisture, paper-backed fiberglass insulation loses almost all insulating properties and, because it's an organic product, can actually harbor additional allergens, mold and mildew.
#2: Appliances Vented into Crawl Spaces
More often than not, this occurs with dryers. Homeowners think that the current venting in their crawlspace will provide enough air movement to compensate for the additional moisture created from a dryer vent, but it won't. This additional warm moisture gets pumped throughout the crawl space where it can quickly lead to mold growth, rot and warping of floors.
#3: Vapor Barrier Stapled to Floor Joists
Well meaning homeowners will often take a product that they know protects against moisture and simply run it along the underside of the flooring, stapling it to floor joists as they go. While their intentions are good, this approach actually traps moisture between the underside of the flooring and the vapor barrier itself. As temperatures rise and fall, condensation develops in the gaps between barrier and the flooring and becomes the perfect breeding ground for mold and wood rot.
#4: Pooling Gutter and Downspout Water
While gutter and downspout water can also cause problems that warrant assistance with basement waterproofing, homes without basements can also see pooling water from poorly maintained or misdirected gutters and downspouts. Water will always seek out the lowest point. In homes without basements that means the crawl space. Pooled water means the potential for mold growth, musty and damp smells, structural rot, and sinking and settling of support structures in your home.
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.