Crawl spaces are usually the most forgotten and unappreciated areas of a home. In many cases, they go ignored until there is a problem, such as moisture, heat loss, pest, and other complications. These problems can damage your home’s foundation, cause an increase in your energy bills and introduce toxins in the air that you and your family breathe.
With as much as 40% of the air coming into your home from the crawl space, keeping up with proper insulation, ventilation, and encapsulation is key to ensuring your home stays healthy and energy-efficient.
In this blog, Guardian Foundation’s team of expert contractors will review the crawl space repair solutions to tackle the most common problems homeowners in Knoxville face in maintaining their crawl space.
But first, for the unversed,
What Exactly Is a Crawl Space and How to Take Care of It?
A crawl space is a small area beneath your home that is typically only tall enough for a person to walk through while hunched over. It is generally designed to allow plumbers and electricians easy access to the home’s utility lines. And it sometimes also serves as an extra storage space.
Crawl space inspection should be a routine part of any home maintenance schedule, especially for homeowners living in moisture and humidity-prone areas like Knoxville. You can avoid many costly repairs down the road by taking the time every few months to check for potential problems.
During the inspection, look for:
- Water stains or pooled water
- Mold or mildew
- Rotting wood
- Joints that have separated
- Sagging floors
- Bugs or other pests
If you notice any of these problems, it’s time to take corrective action.
Read here to know about the steps to take if the crawlspace floods.
Crawl Space Repair Solutions for the Most Common Problems
Homes with poor ventilation are more likely to experience condensation and moisture build-up in the crawl space. Unfortunately, you may not even know there’s a problem without regular maintenance until it’s too late.
Spotting signs of moisture throughout the home is relatively easy as it is readily noticeable. Still, it can be harder to detect it in the crawl space if it’s not well-insulated and ventilated. Unfortunately, the moisture can cause complications such as mildew, mold growth, and wood rot if not addressed promptly. In addition, when there is nowhere for the moisture to escape within the crawl space, it travels upwards, affecting the insulation, walls, ceilings, and floors of the home, thus threatening the overall structural integrity of the house. Also, crawl spaces with exposed dirt floors are more prone to moisture.
Crawl Space Repair Solution 1: Vapor Barrier
A vapor barrier is one of the most effective ways to protect your crawl space from moisture encroachment. It is a thick sheet of plastic placed on the ground of the crawl space to cover any exposed dirt. While a vapor barrier does not entirely stop moisture from entering, it does slow it down and prevents it from soaking into the exposed wood and insulation. It is one of the most affordable ways to insulate your home and should be considered for any home, especially those in high moisture areas.
Although it can be a DIY project if you are willing to get down and dirty, covering the entire span of your crawl space can be a daunting task, so it’s recommended that you hire a professional to provide all kinds of foundation repair services in Knoxville.
Crawl Space Repair Solution 2: Crawl Space Encapsulation
Encapsulation may be the next alternative if the vapor barrier alone isn’t effective in solving your moisture problem. This process involves sealing the crawl space with a heavy-duty liner to isolate it entirely from the outer environment. The liner is placed over the walls, floors, and ceilings, and all openings are sealed. Once the space is closed, a dehumidifier is installed to keep the relative humidity minimum.
While placing a vapor barrier is relatively straightforward, crawl space encapsulation is the most involved process. Therefore, it should only be attempted by experienced professionals such as the team at Guardian Foundation Repair.
Problem: Energy Loss
Although a crawl space is not a livable space, it does play an essential role in the overall energy efficiency of your home. For example, if you find your furnace running all winter long and driving up your energy bill yet feel like your home is never quite warm enough, you have an issue with energy loss in your crawl space.
If your crawl space is not adequately insulated and ventilated, the conditioned air from your home will escape through the cracks and openings and be replaced by cold air from outside. In addition, it will force your furnace to work harder and longer to heat your home, increasing energy bills.
So if you want to live comfortably and save money on your energy bills, it’s important to take care of any energy loss issues in your crawl space.
Crawl Space Repair Solution: Crawl Space Insulation
Insulating your crawl space depends on various factors such as climate, age of home, and crawl space accessibility. In warm or dry areas, a minimal amount of insulation in the area between the floor joists may be all that is necessary. However, you will need more insulation to keep the crawl space warm and dry in areas with high moisture or cold climates.
Engaging a professional insulation company like ours is the best way to determine the right level of insulation for your home. We will inspect your crawl space, consider all the variables, and install the correct amount and type of insulation to solve your energy loss problem.
Rodents and Insects can be anywhere in your home, and the crawl space is no exception. They like the dark, moist areas and will make their home in your crawl space if you let them. Unfortunately, since most homeowners do not spend much time in their crawl space, these pests are not often discovered until it’s too late.
Pests such as rodents, spiders, and carpenter ants can contaminate your crawl space with droppings, urine, and nests. They can also damage the insulation and wiring, creating a fire hazard.
If you have seen any evidence of pests in your crawl space or just want to ensure they don’t have a chance to invade, it’s important to take action and seal up the space.
Crawl Space Repair Solution 1: Crawl Space Ventilation
The best way to prevent pests from invading your crawl space is to ensure that it is well-ventilated. It means that there must be a continuous flow of air in and out of the space. If the crawl space is closed off and there is no way for the air to circulate, the pests will be able to thrive.
Installing a screened vent at the top of the crawl space and using fans to create a breeze will help keep the space free of pests. It’s also important to ensure that the screens are in good condition and that there are no holes or cracks that the pests can use to get in.
Crawl Space Repair Solution 2: Pest Control
Proper crawl space maintenance, including encapsulation and regular inspections, can help to prevent pests from becoming a problem. Once all entry points are sealed, the pests will find it more challenging to get in. However, if pests have already invaded you, a professional pest control company can help eliminate them.
As a homeowner, maintaining your crawl space is vital for your home’s overall energy efficiency and prevention of pests. That means regular inspections, taking care of any energy loss issues, and using the right solutions to keep the pests out.
If crawling around in your crawl space is not your idea of a good time, leave the job to the professionals at our insulation company. Guardian Foundation Repair offers a wide range of crawl space repair and basement waterproofing solutions in Knoxville and the surrounding area. Contact us today to schedule an inspection and find out how we can help you take care of your home.