Raccoons. Mice. Rats. Squirrels. Possums. Ants. Termites. Wasps. Roaches.
All of these critters and many others have been known to inhabit unfinished basements. But to date, we have yet to meet a homeowner who is eager to welcome any of them!
Some of our customers have even gotten into the habit of avoiding their basements or crawl spaces out of a reluctance to run into these subterranean squatters.
Unfortunately, once entrenched, critters in your home are unlikely to vacate the premises of their own accord. And the longer you let them stay, the harder it will be to evict them.
In this post, learn what you need to know about how to permanently critter-proof your basement or crawl space and turn it into a truly functional space at the same time.
The Hazards of Ignoring Indoor Critters
If you were a tiny ant or a little mouse and you happened upon a dark, damp, sturdy, enclosed structure where you could hide, rest and nest, you would probably think it was your lucky day.
Seen from this angle, it makes good sense that critters will always be attracted to basements and crawl spaces and try to find their way in.
This represents what we feel is the number one hazard of ignoring basement or crawl space critters. Unless you take an active role to move them out and keep them out, you can be sure they will be there, bringing disease-producing bacteria and waste matter with them and potentially destroying elements of your home.
Major Points of Entry for Crawl Space Critters
Different critters gravitate toward different entry points into your home.
Wood-eating insects such as carpenter ants and termites will eat right through the wood (the softer and more rotted, the better) to get inside your home space.
Other insects will simply make their way through tiny cracks and crevices until they get to where they want to go.
Larger animals such as rats, squirrels and raccoons may dig through soft wood or even chew on electrical wiring – this is a major source of home fires every year. They may also seek entry through drain or plumbing pipes or even heat ducts.
If all of this is making you shudder, it is time to learn how you can keep these critters out of your home permanently.
Make Your Basement or Crawl Space Inhospitable
If there is one thing critters of all shapes, sizes and species love, it is a dank, dark, unattended space with lots of great jumble and clutter to hide inside.
So you want to provide just the opposite. Light, bright, dry, open basements or crawl spaces are natural critter repellants because they offer neither water nor the chance for hunting prey or finding shelter.
In the same way, even if critters primarily enter your basement or crawl space intent on making their way inside your home, you want to be sure that all available entry points are sealed up tight.
Cracks, leaks, soft rotting wood, open vents or pipes and other such passageways into your home must be made unavailable for entry.
It is also important to remove all sources of water or moisture, which will otherwise continue to lure critters into your crawl space and then into your home. Humidity is the perfect invitation to mould and mildew spores as well as tiny insects. Leaks and standing water will attract larger insects and animals.
By dehumidifying your basement or crawl space and fixing cracks and leaks that generate water, you effectively send critters packing and off to greener pastures elsewhere.
Steps to Critter-Proof Your Crawl Space
Basements and crawl spaces offer legitimate benefits, including ready access to utilities and extra storage space.
However, these benefits are only truly useful if you don’t dread setting foot in them.
Here are the steps we recommend to critter-proof your space and make it truly useful again.
Because of the location and nature of the crawl space or unfinished basement, conditions will always be naturally more humid than they are either outside or inside your home above.
For this reason, you can expect to need to add a dehumidifier to create the type of dry conditions that make it safe to store valuables and repel critters.
Luckily, it is simple enough to add a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture and other toxins from the air.
Older crawl spaces and unfinished basements often feature ventilation systems. While these were well meant at the time they were installed, we now know ventilation can actually create more problems than it solves by introducing more humidity into the air.
A much more effective and long-lasting solution is encapsulation. Encapsulation essentially creates a microclimate inside your subterranean space that is carefully controlled against excess temperature or humidity.
Insulation is another piece of the bigger puzzle of critter-proofing your crawl space.
Not only does insulation further reinforce the type of microclimate that will be off-putting to insects and animals, but it also helps seal up areas where critters could find their way into your home.
Finally, drainage solutions ensure your crawl space or unfinished basement won’t be vulnerable to standing water or floods in the event of an extreme weather event, plumbing leak or other similar situation.
Drainage can include installation of a backup emergency sump system along with a drain to ensure any incoming water gets routed right back outside again.
Get in Touch
Do you need assistance updating, upgrading and protecting your home's basement or crawl space to send critters packing? We can help!
Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.