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Repairing Your Crawl Space? Don't Do These 5 Things!

spray foam

In all the decades we have been in business, we have yet to meet any homeowner who thinks working on their crawl space is fun.

The truth is, the majority of homeowners try to avoid ever entering their crawl space unless they have to.

The typical crawl space is not a very enjoyable place to be. It’s damp. It smells funny. It’s dark and cobwebby. It can attract all sorts of visitors you would rather avoid running into.

But then that day comes when the crawl space finally makes a demand you cannot ignore. It springs a leak. Or a family of raccoons moves in. Or one of the support beams rots away and your floor caves in. Or that musty smell you’ve been telling yourself is nothing turns out to be mould.

Whatever it is, it is time to repair your crawl space at last. And when you do, you want to make sure NOT to do these five things!

1. Don't ignore existing humidity or moisture

If your crawl space is not insulated (or is ventilated only), humidity and moisture are almost a given during certain times of the year.

But at other times of the year, when the weather is dry, it is easy to overlook the structural and health issues that humidity and moisture can cause.

No matter what time of year it is and what the weather is like when you finally tackle crawl space cleanup and repair, do your best to tackle repair and upgrade needs from an all-year-long perspective. In other words, when deciding what to do first, always factor in what your crawl space is like in the humid season as well as when it is dry.

From repelling mould and mildew to discouraging critters and insects to safeguarding the supports that hold your house up, a dry crawl space is a safe crawl space.

2. Don't use regular fibreglass insulation in your crawl space

Because a home’s belowground spaces are always going to be more naturally damp and humid than the areas above ground, it takes a special kind of crawl space insulation to protect these spaces.

Most homeowners do not realize that regular fibreglass insulation is just as susceptible to rot as the crawl space structure itself. You need special insulation that is designed to be resistant to humidity and water.

The right crawl space insulation will repel moisture that leads to mould, improve temperature control both above and below ground, block water and critters and improve energy efficiency.

3. Don't ventilate your crawl space

Crawl space ventilation used to be the gold standard to facilitate air circulation in these semi-enclosed spaces. Today, however, we know that ventilation always makes existing crawl space problems worse.

The reason is that a humid crawl space is only going to get damper with more humid air flowing in!

Dehumidification can be an appropriate short-term solution for a persistently damp, humid crawl space.

The most sophisticated dehumidifiers do a lot more than simply pull excess moisture out of your crawl space.

For a permanent solution to crawl space humidity and damp, modern technology has now produced crawl space encapsulation, which is a far superior product that solves all the problems ventilation causes.

Crawl space encapsulation blocks humidity, moisture and water leaks, insects and critters, mould and mildew. It is durable, attractive, long-lasting and – best of all – fast, easy and affordable.

4. Don't use spray foam in your crawl space

Spray foam insulation has been popular in crawl spaces in past decades because it is often easier to use in tight spaces such as around wall and floor beams and joists and in crevices and cracks.

There is just one problem. Spray foam insulation is typically used in the same tight spaces that tend to trap moisture that can lead to mildew and mould growth.

Unless you are 150 percent sure that the areas where you plan to use spray foam insulation are dry as a bone (and it is nearly impossible to be sure of this) you risk trapping damp and moisture between the insulation and the walls, floors or ceiling of your crawl space itself.

And guess what happens when moisture gets trapped in an already humid area? (If you guessed “mould,” you just saved yourself potentially thousands of dollars in remediation bills.)

5. Don't neglect your above-ground drainage system

Finally, it is one thing to tend to your home’s crawl space and make sure it is safe, clean, dry, insulated and sealed up tight against insects and critters.

But all of the same problems that today’s modern crawl space solutions are designed to solve can be undone by a neglected aboveground home drainage system.

If there is one thing you can absolutely count on as a homeowner today, it is that moisture from rain, runoff, lawn watering, the local water table and other sources will always be trying to find its way into your belowground crawl space.

This is just the way that gravity, water and soil interact.

One of the important ways to safeguard your home and crawl space is to make sure your home drainage system above ground is designed well and functioning properly.

Your gutters, downspouts and landscape grading function to route water away from your home and crawl space. Clogged gutters, too short or missing downspouts and poor grading will all send excess water back toward your home’s foundation, where it will ceaselessly attempt to enter your crawl space.

This is why a big part of protecting your crawl space is maintaining and, as needed, upgrading your home’s drainage system.

Simply installing gutter guards and extending your existing downspouts can go a long way toward protecting your crawl space from excess runoff. Installing a backup sump pump (one that will work even during a power outage) is another smart move to protect your crawl space from flooding.

Get in Touch

Is your crawl space overdue for some timely protective preventative maintenance? We can help!

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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