There is no doubt the concept of a crawl space beneath a home is a brilliant one. It’s great for storage, for one thing. But also, why not build in ready access to piping, wiring and other essentials from the start so you don’t have to go on an archeological dig later when something goes wrong?
But over time, crawl spaces can become, well, creepy. After all, who knows what else is hanging out under there?
Plus, if you are at all claustrophobic, just the thought of crawling inside that enclosed space may well give you the creepy-crawlies.
Are you reluctant to use your crawl space when you need to, even though that is exactly what it is there for? These four steps can help you fix that fast!
But First, A Word About Crawl Space Maintenance Basics
Not all homeowners are aware that crawl spaces, like practically every other element of the average home, need regular maintenance to preserve their original function.
This is why it is vital to make sure the inspection for any home you want to buy includes a full survey of the crawl space area.
If you are currently living in a home equipped with a crawl space and you don’t know its maintenance history from the prior owner, you can take a peek and figure it out for yourself.
If your crawl space is humid, damp, dank, and smells and looks suspicious, there is a good chance it wasn’t high on the previous owner’s home maintenance to-do list.
Step 1: It’s Spring Cleaning (and Sanitizing) Time
This first step, cleaning up your crawl space, tends to be the step the vast majority of homeowners want to avoid. After all, it doesn’t look inviting, especially if the floor is dirt; it doesn’t smell very good; and it can be pretty tight in there, especially for tall people, if there’s ductwork running along the ceiling.
You do have to clean up your crawl space before you move on to the other three steps. Otherwise, you risk permanently locking up inside all of the things that are wrong with your crawl space!
But here is some good news: you don’t have to clean your crawl space yourself. You can hire someone who has all of the right gear and equipment to go in and clean and sanitize and get you moving to step 2.
The extra advantage to opting for professional crawl space cleaning is that if your professional cleaning crew finds mould, mildew, rodents, insects or other special problems during the cleaning, you will have experts available to take care of each problem the correct way the first time.
Step 2: A Little Ventilation (Plus Encapsulation) Goes a Long Way
Ventilation has long been the remedy of choice for overly damp or humid crawl spaces. But ventilation on its own doesn’t always solve these problems effectively and sometimes can even add to the problem.
The climate you live in can determine whether ventilation alone is sufficient to reduce the presence of moisture and humidity inside your crawl space.
A long-term sure-cure for both issues is something called encapsulation. Encapsulation is basically the superhero version of ventilation. Encapsulation, as the name implies, seals off your crawl space from the outside with physical barriers that prevent unwelcome visitors from re-entering.
Encapsulation also reduces humidity by preventing groundwater from seeping back up into your crawl space. Ventilation and encapsulation can be used together for the most complete long-term solution.
Step 3: Drain and Dehumidify
Your home’s crawl space has a big job to do. In the dry season, the job is pretty easy. But during seasonal storms and in summer, moisture can quickly get the best of an older, poorly maintained or neglected crawl space.
Runoff from rainfall, seasonal lawn watering runoff and melting snow can readily accumulate in your crawl space, only to find it has nowhere else to go. Once inside, this standing water is a 24/7 invitation to mould, mildew, insects and animals to make themselves at home.
Crawl spaces need drainage options as much as basements do for exactly this reason. A crawl space drainage system will move water out of the crawl space as rapidly as it enters.
The other essential element to keep your crawl space dry and clean is a dehumidifier. The dehumidifier does for airborne moisture and humidity what the drainage system does for standing groundwater – it makes sure moisture doesn’t stick around to cause any harm.
Step 4: Insulate to Regulate
Insulation isn’t just protective and comfortable for your home itself. It is also a great tool to regulate and protect your crawl space.
As a perk, insulating your crawl space will help to maintain temperature and humidity integrity between your home above and your crawl space below. In the process, insulation will also lower your annual energy costs and prevent unpleasant crawl space odours from infiltrating your home as they drift up through the ground floor.
You may especially notice the difference crawl space insulation makes when the expensive winter heating season arrives! Homeowners who have invested in insulated crawl spaces happily report that their homes stay warmer even on the coldest days, often without any need to reach for the thermostat.
There are all kinds of insulation that can be installed inside your crawl space. But we recommend our own TerraBlock™ crawl space flooring insulation that readily insulates over all types of surfaces: dirt, cement, stone and more.
Whether installed on its own or with an accompanying ceiling liner, insulation is the final barrier: it repels everything from humidity and moisture to insects and mould spores.
Get in Touch
Is your crawl space giving you the heebie-jeebies? We are crawl space cleanup, ventilation, encapsulation, dehumidification, drainage and insulation experts!
Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.