IBA Crew in Crawl space with PVC

Crawl Space Repair

Normally these areas are empty, but you never know what creepy conditions you’ll find there – mold, pest infestation, wet insulation, and much more.

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Causes

While various factors can impact your crawl space and home, the biggest culprit has to do with the way your home was constructed.

The stack effect refers to the airflow pattern in a house from bottom to top, like a chimney. Air enters at the bottom, rises through the structure, and is expelled through the top. It all has to do with air pressure. Air flows from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure. When there is a greater difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the more significant this airflow becomes. (Source: Fine Homebuilding

To get a better understanding of the stack effect, it might be beneficial to see it in action. While you can’t see airflow, there is a great demonstration of the stack effect in a YouTube video from the Cold Climate Housing Research Center titled “Your Nothern Home: Stack Effect.”  

More than half the air you are breathing inside your house comes from the crawl space. So, whatever is in your crawl space – such as mold and high humidity – also is in the air circulating throughout the rest of the house and affecting your living environment. 

There are different ways water can enter a crawl space – through the walls, floor, open vents, and plumbing leaks. No matter how it got in, it’s a big problem. Areas of leaking, standing water are very attractive to bugs and other pests who seek shelter and a food source. Water can easily saturate soft fiberglass insulation and lead to mold growth, and wet support systems can fail to do their job and contribute to sagging floors.

If there is high humidity in the crawl space along with water, this is a recipe for disaster. Humidity levels above 50% contribute to mold growth, unpleasant odors, failing support systems and more.  Crawl spaces commonly have high relative humidity and moisture. These conditions promote mold growth, especially on organic materials like wood and insulation. Moisture in the crawl space also can enter other areas of the home through cracks in walls, floors, and the ceiling, and contribute to mold growth there. (Source: EPA)

Crawl Space Repair

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you notice any of the following signs and symptoms in your home? If so, you’ve got a problem crawl space on your hands. 

  • Interior drywall cracks  
  • Uneven floors or buckled hardwood floors 
  • Foul odors in the home 
  • Poor indoor air quality 
  • Dampness in the living areas 
  • Heightened allergies or asthma symptoms 
  • Mold growth  
  • Wood rot  
  • Higher energy usage and bills  
  • Pest infestations 

While various factors can impact your crawl space and home, the biggest culprit has to do with the way your home was constructed. The practice of building homes with crawl spaces typically has called for having open vents to be code compliant. The idea was to allow better airflow under the house and air drying. However, experience shows this is an outdated practice that is more harmful to homes than it is useful. Open crawl space vents let outside air, water, and pests inside to cause a host of other problems that affect not only the crawl space but the rest of the house. This is because of the stack effect. 

There are so many ways you, your family, and your home will benefit from conquering your crawl space problems. Crawl space repair will help you avoid unnecessary repairs, create a healthier living space, and save money on your utility bills. And once you’ve encapsulated your crawl space with a vapor barrier, you’ve gained valuable storage space in your home. 

Here’s a look at some of the major advantages of crawl space repair: 

  • Better Health and Quality of Life 
    Everyone deserves a safe and healthy place to call home. By ridding your crawl space of any unhealthy conditions through proper waterproofing, dehumidification, encapsulation, and insulation, you are keeping mold, allergens, and sickness at bay. The air quality of your home will be greatly improved, and so will the well-being and happiness of your family. 
     
  • Protected Safety and Structural Integrity 
    Failing support systems and sagging floors are not safe and could result in significant structural damage and safety hazards. By shoring up the supports in your home, you will have a more stable living environment for your family. 
     
  • More Functional Space 
    A nasty crawl space is not somewhere anyone wants to go into or even think about storing anything. But when you rid your crawl space of leaking water and mold and it has quality encapsulation and insulation measures to protect it, you can use this as an extra storage space!  
     
  • Enhanced Energy Efficiency 
    A crawl space that is sealed from outside elements and properly insulated does not require as much energy usage. When you have these essential projects completed, you could reduce your home energy costs by 20 percent. Homes also can benefit from crawl space winterization
     
  • Improved Home value 
    Your home is going to be on the real estate market at some point, whether that’s soon or many years away. Is it ready and has it retained its value? A home’s resale value can depend on a variety of factors, including the condition of areas like crawl spaces. Homebuyers generally expect houses to be free of problems like moldy crawl spaces and sagging floors, so why not fix these issues before they hurt your chance to sell the house? You could sell as-is, but you’re still going to have to complete a seller’s disclosure form. Some items on this list you’ll have to address include any past and current issues like mold and damage from wood-destroying pests. Plus, things like foundation issues can reduce your home’s resale value by 10 to 30 percent, and homebuyers could have problems getting a mortgage. 

Now that you’ve learned more about crawl space problems and why it’s important to address them, are you ready to take back your home with needed repairs?  

Before preparing your plan of attack, you first need to think about who will be doing these repairs. You have a wealth of resources at your fingertips, and you’re probably thinking about how you can save some money by fixing it yourself.  

However, crawl space repair is serious work and not something you can tackle in a weekend, no matter how handy you are.  A lot can happen during the DIY process, and we have seen many problems that can result from fast fixes. Especially concerning real estate transactions, quick fixes can raise red flags. You’ll then have to spend more time and money to have those issues repaired. It’s best to leave these projects to professional contractors so the problems will be fixed correctly the first time around. 

It can be intimidating having to hire a contractor, and you’ve probably heard from others about their less than stellar experiences with shady contractors and shoddy work. But don’t let these troublesome tales completely turn you off to contractors.  

Do your research and learn as much as you can about a company. Read reviews, ask for references, and make sure to inquire about contractor essentials like licenses, certifications, insurance, written estimates and contracts, and other important documents. 

It’s important for you to feel comfortable with who you bring in your home. Sure, there might be a few bad apples out there, but there also are a lot of co

Some people have come to think that late start times, messes, and unfinished projects are the norm when it comes to dealing with contractors. But these are unacceptable circumstances you should never have to deal with. Let us prove to you that we are not like other companies. From your initial contact with us to the inspection, and all the way through the completion of the repair work, we will be right there with you every step of the way. 

It all starts when you reach out to us. We will schedule a time for you to meet with one of our certified field inspectors for a free inspection and estimate. During this professional consultation, the inspector will do a complete assessment of your crawl space. He will discuss his findings with you, your goals with a repair project, your budget, and payment and financing options. The inspector will then put together an estimate that includes a plan for repair with solutions tailored to your specific crawl space needs. Take your time to review this estimate and follow-up with your inspector if you have any questions or concerns. 

When you’re ready to proceed with the recommended work and sign a contract with your inspector, we’ll schedule that work with one of our expert crews. The crew will take great care in installing top-quality products to fix and protect your home. The job is not complete until you are totally satisfied with the work, so don’t hesitate to speak up if something happens or is not living up to expectations. We also want to make sure our work and the solutions we install continue to work in protecting your home as they should, which is why we offer service and maintenance opportunities. 

We care about your home and your safety, which is why we only use the very best solutions to protect your dwelling and your family. The products we use are manufactured here in the United States, they carry longtime warranties, and they are tested and proven to effectively work in keeping your crawl space clean, dry, safe, and healthy. All these solutions also are designed to work together, as well as with our other waterproofing and foundation repair systems, to give you the most bang for your buck and prevent any further problems. 

Here are different ways we address crawl space issues and their repairs: 

  • Waterproofing 
    I’ve you’ve got leaking and standing water in your crawl space, we will find the source and work to eliminate it. Our CrawlDrain™ perimeter drainage system is placed in the topmost part of the crawl space floor to catch seeping water from the walls and floor. This water is then directed to drain into a sump pump system to be pumped out of the crawl space and away from your home’s foundation. We offer a variety of SafeDri™ sump pumps to meet your waterproofing needs, including the SafeDri™ Crawl Space Sump Pump designed to work alongside our crawl space encapsulation material. Additionally, we can place a FreezeGuard™ on the exterior sump pump discharge line to help prevent flooding from frozen or blocked pipes. 
     
  • Encapsulation 
    Along with keeping water out, it’s important to seal your crawl space from other outside nuisances like humid or cold air and pests. The first step in doing that is to cut off a major entry point. We’ll put durable, airtight vent covers over the crawl space vents. 
     
    Next, we’ll place thick drainage matting on the crawl space floor to help direct water to the perimeter drainage system and enhance the strength of the encapsulation material. Then, CrawlSeal™ is used to cover the floor and crawl space walls. This thick and durable 20-mil liner completely isolates the home from the earth. It also acts as a moisture and vapor barrier. It is waterproof and has been treated to resist mold and mildew. CrawlSeal™ is bright white, so it lightens up the crawl space, and it is tough enough to crawl on. 
     
  • Insulation 
    Typical soft, fluffy insulation can easily fall off crawl space walls and harbor mold, but our rigid ExTremeBloc™ panels are the better alternative. These panels are moisture resistant, and an integrated termiticide is added to deter termites below grade. CrawlSeal™ also helps insulate the crawl space, and spray foam can be added to rim joists to seal gaps around the perimeter of your foundation. These insulation methods help prevent wood rot and enable termite treatments. 
     
  • Dehumidification 
    When sealing off the crawl space, it is important to condition the air so it does not become stagnant. Our powerful, energy-efficient dehumidifier works to effectively clean and filter the air, control moisture and humidity, reduce odors, and help prevent mold and mildew. The unit’s low profile makes it ideal for even the tightest crawl spaces. It also self-drains and can be directed into the perimeter drainage or sump pump system, so there are no buckets or reservoirs you must empty.  
     
  • Structural Supports 
    Support systems can easily fail if they are exposed to prolonged water intrusion and humidity. But our galvanized steel IntelliJacks™ are more sturdy and reliable supports that can stabilize and help lift sagging floors and floor joists back to level. They are designed to help stop settling but can be adjusted if any settlement occurs. 
     
  • Access Points 
    Typically, crawl space doors and access wells are concrete, wood, or metal that can easily rust and rot as they are exposed to the outside elements. But we can install more durable plastic access wells and doors that are safe, sturdy, and airtight. 

We’ve saved the best for last, so to speak. The cost of repair is one of the top concerns and most asked questions we hear from homeowners. And that’s natural. You want to make sure you’re protecting your home with the best solutions that also are cost-effective.  

To give you a general idea, crawl space repairs can range from $5,000 on the low end to $15,000 or more. These are rough estimates, and the cost greatly depends on a variety of factors. There’s a lot to consider with crawl space repair including square footage, materials that will need to be used, the quality of those materials, the extent of any damage, labor, etc. All of these vary from company to company, so make sure you have a thorough conversation with your contractor about pricing specifics and payment options.  

If you are wondering about repairs being covered by home insurance, check with your insurance provider, as all policies are different.  

Also, no two crawl space problems are the same. There is no “one size fits all” fix that applies to every single crawl space. We use customized solutions because every home is different and requires its own unique set of repairs. That’s why an inspector needs to visit your home and see what is going on. That way, he’ll have a better idea of how to help and what specific solutions to recommend. 

That being said, when you decide to fix your crawl space, you are investing in your home. Can you put a price on the health and safety of your family? 

The stack effect refers to the airflow pattern in a house from bottom to top, like a chimney. Air enters at the bottom, rises through the structure, and is expelled through the top. It all has to do with air pressure. Air flows from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure. When there is a greater difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the more significant this airflow becomes. (Source: Fine Homebuilding

To get a better understanding of the stack effect, it might be beneficial to see it in action. While you can’t see airflow, there is a great demonstration of the stack effect in a YouTube video from the Cold Climate Housing Research Center titled “Your Nothern Home: Stack Effect.”  

More than half the air you are breathing inside your house comes from the crawl space. So, whatever is in your crawl space – such as mold and high humidity – also is in the air circulating throughout the rest of the house and affecting your living environment. 

Here are a few major issues that result from open crawl space vents and the stack effect: 

  • Water Intrusion 
    There are different ways water can enter a crawl space – through the walls, floor, open vents, and plumbing leaks. No matter how it got in, it’s a big problem. Areas of leaking, standing water are very attractive to bugs and other pests who seek shelter and a food source. Water can easily saturate soft fiberglass insulation and lead to mold growth, and wet support systems can fail to do their job and contribute to sagging floors. 
     
  • High Humidity 
    If there is high humidity in the crawl space along with water, this is a recipe for disaster. Humidity levels above 50% contribute to mold growth, unpleasant odors, failing support systems and more.   
     
    Crawl spaces commonly have high relative humidity and moisture. These conditions promote mold growth, especially on organic materials like wood and insulation. Moisture in the crawl space also can enter other areas of the home through cracks in walls, floors, and the ceiling, and contribute to mold growth there. (Source: EPA
     
  • Sagging Floors 
    Other related problems that go hand in hand with water and humidity are failing support systems and sagging floors. When hot, humid air is vented into the crawl space during warmer months, this can cause wood to rot. Metal supports also can rust and corrode. Coupled with the presence of water, this also can lead to sagging, soft, buckling floors above, and affect hardwood floors. 
     
  • Energy Loss 
    You could be wasting a good deal of money trying to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. This is because of your vented crawl space. When hot and humid air is vented inside, you’ll be running your air conditioner nonstop to stay cool and potentially overtaxing the unit. Similarly, cooler wintertime air vented inside makes your furnace struggle to keep up in maintaining a warmer environment. Floors may feel cold because of the cooler air from the crawl space underneath. 

Resources

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