Many people don’t know what to make of the standing water, moldy insulation and nasty smell that they find when they visit their crawl space. To help clarify some things, we have compiled a short list of some of the top crawl space FAQs regarding crawl space conditions and their answers.
Why is my crawl space wet?
There are several ways that water can find its way into your crawl space. One of the most common is through cracks in the foundation, walls or walls of the crawl space. These cracks allow water and moisture laden air inside your crawl space, filling the area with damp.
Other ways homeowners have found that water finds its way into their crawl spaces is by having improper ventilation, poor drainage systems, or by not properly caring for or sealing the dirt floor of their crawl spaces.
Is having a wet crawl space bad?
Having a wet or moist crawl space can have very serious consequences. The presence of standing water or damp air in your crawl spaces actually encourages mold and mildew to grow. The moisture in the air and the organic matter naturally found in the crawl space allows them to flourish and spread.
Wood rot and structural deterioration is often a result of moisture getting inside your crawl space. Additionally, as the structure weakens, new cracks and holes are likely to appear, allowing in insects and rodents that are more than happy to settle into this dank, dark area.
Are vents enough to keep my crawlspace dry?
Some homeowners think that having vents in their crawl space to allow for breezes and cross ventilation will be enough to keep the crawl space moisture levels low. Unfortunately, just having vents sitting in your crawl space isn’t enough to keep moisture at bay. Not only are these vents often blocked by plants or objects outside that prevent thorough ventilation, but cracks and holes can start to appear in the sealing around the vents. This damage allows water that collects around the edges of your home or drips down the exterior walls easy access to your crawl spaces interior, giving it the opportunity to wreck havoc on your wood, foundation, and insulation.
Is gravel or a vapor barrier enough protection against water and moisture?
Not really. If your dirt floor is covered in a layer of gravel or sand, moisture can still find its way through this extra layer and into your crawl space. A vapor barrier alone will not be enough to keep water out, often because of cracks and air holes in your space that let moisture in. To keep your crawl space floors dry and protect yourself against future water damage, a combined re-sealing and re-flooring job is required to keep your crawl space mold and moisture free.
Can the air in my crawl space get into my home?
Yes, it can. In fact, up to 40% percent of the air in your home actually comes from your crawl space. The air below manages to seep up through the floors, around heating and air ducts, and into your surrounding home. If you have mold growing in your crawl spaces, the air quality is seriously damaged, and health issues may follow. Reports of headaches, fevers, and respiratory problems are often heard from homes that have very poor crawl space conditions.
How do I keep my crawl space dry?
To protect your home and its occupants from the consequences of a wet crawl space, it is important that all moisture and water be eliminated. Wet insulation and standing water should be extracted and mopped up. After this, it is important that advanced ventilation take place to force any remaining moisture out of your crawl space.
The next step is to have a thorough inspection of your crawl spaces conducted to find the source of the moisture problem. Identifying any cracks, holes, leaks, or damage to the walls, ceiling, and floors will help you to know where to start. All damaged areas should then be sealed up, fresh insulation be installed, and vapor barriers be spread to keep all nooks and crannies sealed from the outside air and moisture. You can read more on how to care for your crawl space in our recently released eBook.
If you need assistance in restoring your crawl spaces, we would love to help. Our team here at Clean Crawls is trained to identify areas that have experienced water damage and where moisture is gaining access to your crawl space. From there, we can help you tear out damaged materials and eliminate the sources of moisture to protect your structure and its occupants from harm.