If you’re experiencing inflamed allergies when in your home that seem to go away a few hours after you’ve left, or you’ve noticed a musty, moldy odor rising from your floors, your crawl space may be the source of your problems.
Crawl Spaces are the causes of many different issues in you home, including sagging floors, cold floorboards, high utility bills, and foul smells in your home. The good news is that all of these problems can be quickly and effectively solved by one of our crawl space experts.
Homeowners will generally not enter their crawl space regularly, and many do not use it for storage. However, what happens in the crawl space will still have an important impact on the daily life of those living within the home. In a vented crawl space, about 40% of the air in your home is coming from this space. Anything contained in that air, including odors, humidity, mold spores, and dust mite waste — is being brought up from your crawl space and into the home.
By cleaning your crawl space, you can eliminate this significant source of allergens on your home, creating a cleaner, healthier living space.
This is a complicated issue and does not have a simple answer. What makes matters worse is the amount of readily available wrong and misleading information on the internet. When it comes to installing insulation, ask yourself- Am I trying to keep something in or am I trying to keep something out? They seem like the same question, but they’re not. For example, with a vapor barrier you are trying to keep something out, the moisture. With insulation, you are trying to keep something in, your conditioned air. Knowing this helps the process to move forward in the right order. With insulation and a vapor barrier like DrySpace properly installed in your crawl space you can now begin to control the environment under your home. Now your crawl space is part of your home and you should protect it from the outside as such. The days of separating your home from the crawl space is over, mostly because it is impossible to do. It is far more reasonable to accomplish a plan to protect your crawl space from the outside than it is to protect your home from the crawl space and the outside.
The floor joist area, or the crawl space ceiling, is the most commonly insulated area. This area is usually insulated with fiberglass and held in place with metal wire or staples. The fiberglass insulation in nearly half of the homes that have insulation in this area has it installed wrong. The fiberglass insulation should be installed with the paper vapor barrier on the heated or conditioned side of the space. This means the paper should be closest to the floor boards and not exposed to the crawl space. Until 2003 insulating your floor joist was the only option if you wanted to have any hope of keeping the winter air from entering your home. Today there is a better and more efficient way to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient.
The rim joist area is the part of the wood structure under your floor. Like the floor joists, the rim joist’s job is to help hold up the floor and walls of the home. The rim joist goes around the perimeter, or the rim, of the home and its primary job is to support the exterior walls as well as giving the floor joist an adjacent surface to be attached. Other names for this area are band joist, sill box and bond.
Insulating the foundation walls is a complete waste of money IF you have an open crawl space. A crawl space with foundation vents that can be opened and closed is considered and open crawl space. It is considered open because the vents, even while closed, offer little protection from the elements outside the home. An open crawlspace with rigid insulation on the foundation walls is like having the walls of your home insulated and opening the windows. It neutralizes the usefulness of the insulation by having the open vents/windows.
ADEQUATE VENTILATION - The rule of thumb is one square inch of venting for each square foot of conditioned floor space. Also, the ventilation openings should be screened and distributed around the perimeter of the crawl space to allow for cross-ventilation, with at least one vent within a few feet of each corner to avoid a dead air space.
MOISTURE LEVEL IN SOIL - This can be caused by natural water movement through the soil or plumbing leaks. It can be observed visually by discoloration of the soil or by touch. Fingertips are actually an excellent moisture evaluator. Follow-up with an electronic moisture meter determines the precise level of wetness. Excessive soil moisture can cause multiple problems, such as mold growth, wood rot, and corrosion of metal fasteners. Lack of ventilation compounds the problem.
DAMAGED MASONRY WALLS OR STEM PIERS - Most damage to foundation piers and stem walls is caused by settlement or heaving due to clay soil. If the damage appears to be structurally significant, we recommend further evaluation by a licensed engineer.
TEMPORARY SUPPORTS - concrete blocks or wood supports placed below floor framing are usually there because of foundation settlement or the sagging of undersize floor joists. They are quick fix that and will not last. We document them and recommend a permanent repair be made.
TERMITE GUARDS - A termite guard is a metal strip on the top of foundation piers and stem walls that sticks out into the crawl space at an angle and deters the building of mud tubes up into the home by termites. They cannot build a tube around the sharp edge of the metal. We look for termite guards under the home and the lack of them increases the risk of Subterranean Termite infestation. If we are also performing a WDO (termite) inspection, we look carefully for mud tubes on the foundation and evidence of termite or beetle damage to the framing. Drill holes in the foundation and other evidence of treatments are also noted.
THINGS THAT SHOULDN'T BE IN THE CRAWL SPACE - Stored wood or debris on the ground, chemicals, air conditioning condensate drain termination, or dryer vent termination, for example.
CONDITION OF THE FLOOR FRAMING - We observe the sill beam, floor joists, sheathing, and bridging, along with mechanical connections to the structure.
EVIDENCE OF MOLD-LIKE SUBSTANCES - Any areas that look to be mold are noted and should be sampled and evaluated in a lab. Mold in a crawl space is always related to a high-moisture problem in the area.
VAPOR BARRIER AND INSULATION - We note the presence of both and describe the type000 solved exercises
EVIDENCE OF ANIMAL DAMAGE - Torn insulation, fecal pellets, shed snake skins, and burrow holes all indicate current or previous animals in crawl space.
PLUMBING, HVAC DUCTS AND ELECTRICL WHERE VISIBLE - We examine and describe these components and note any defects observed.
Because homeowners don’t ordinarily get under their home and examine the crawl space, an inspector’s findings are often a surprise to everybody.
Wouldn't it be nice to know?