What Is A Crawl Space?
A crawl space is a space provided within an infrastructure that allows air circulation. It provides an access to plumbing and electrical installations, as well as the repair of each installation when needed. Most home crawl spaces are dark and sometimes become nests to rats, snakes, spiders and other creatures that prefer a dark moist environment as it’s habitat or living place. Houses without basements and attics have crawl spaces underneath the house and built above the ceilings under the roof respectively. Commercial buildings have built-in crawl spaces in between the walls. A concrete or dirt crawl space is always a source of moisture, because warm air always rises and as it does, it brings with it air that was previously within the space which includes mold spores, dust, moisture and anything that could be airborne Thus, crawl space moisture is hazardous to health and other forms of physical risks since it leads to mold growth, must odor, high energy cost and structural damage. This alamost always requires professional water damage clean up and mold remediation. Additionally, the moisture where mold and mildew flourish affects not only the house’s floor system but also the entire house framework. It ruins houses and other built-in infrastructures due to the mold and fungi buildup along with insects that destroy wood framing and other construction materials a structure is generally built of. Incidentally, there are three factors that are considered destructive to organic materials made of wood; these are water, heat and ultraviolet radiation. The most widely spread of these is water, however, it is also the easiest factor to control.
Leaks and Flood Problems
Many crawl spaces have leaks and flood problems, which is why a built in drainage is required. Study shows that crawl spaces which do not have any opening for outside environment air could have better moisture control and responds the same as those houses which have basements constructed underneath. Stabilizing the temperature and humidity within a crawl space makes it a good place to put air conditioning equipment, plumbing and duct work. High humidity within a crawl space during the summer months causes condensation and therefore moisture on duct works that leads to equipment damage and malfunctions. Moreover, the high humidity creates a perfect environment that attracts insect propagation and mold growth. Leaving these sorts of problems uncorrected for a long period of time incurs high damage expenditure and costs of Austin mold remediation. Therefore, when finding solutions to such problems the first step is to locate and fix the source and not just remedy the symptoms.
Creating Mold and Insect Free Environment
Properly sealing the crawlspace and removing the moisture from the ground and air is part of the remedy process which will create a mold damage and insect free surroundings, that directs to better energy efficiency and a healthier home. This helps in lowering the energy bills since it reduces crawl space humidity. Having a clean and well sealed crawl space could be used as a store room and at the same time making the home more efficient, secure and in good physical form. There are ways on how to solve problems regarding crawl space. The following recommendations are more or less a do-it-yourself solution that have been proven and tested to be efficient.
Non-vented Crawl Space
Making an non-vented kind of crawl space makes it easier to control the high moisture situation inside a house. Although this method of fixing crawl spaces may not comply fully with the local and national building codes. However, this technique provides efficient control of the environment that makes for a healthy and safe crawl space. But before affecting any mold remediation effort to control the ground or air moisture – the air that comes through the crawl space must be omitted. In order to achieve full efficiency in a constructed and Non-vented crawl apace, the following procedure should be strictly followed to achieve the expected and desired results:
Position gutter and make a five percent (5%) slope away from the house’s foundation that is at least six inches for every ten feet. The purpose of this is to divert the rain water and surface water away from the house. Be sure to clean and empty the downspout and position it at eight to ten feet away from the foundation.
Seal Against Moisture
Spread a minimum of six millimeter polyethylene vapor barrier on the entire area and length pf crawl space. Do an overlap of all the seams with a minimum of one to two feet which is sealed with a tape afterwards. Stretch the outside edges of the polyethylene on the foundation wall at least six inches about the outside grade. Then attach the polyethylene to the foundation wall using an adhesive, duct or mastic sealer. A nailing strip that is pressured treated could also be used for sealing. The objective of this process is to give one hundred percent ground coverage.
Seal All Vents
The third step is to close or seal all foundation vents to prevent the warm moist air from the environment in entering the crawl space. Cut pieces of one-half inch (1/2”) to two inches (2”) of rigid polystyrene and apply pressure fitting procedures into the back side of all the vent openings to stop dirty outdoor air from going inside the space. Air duct works should be forcibly sealed to prevent or remove any leakage. Air leaks could lessen the pressure within the crawl space and increase soil moisture rate evaporation and gas transfer. If the crawl space is drenched with moisture or water, a dehumidifier should be used for a couple of weeks to bring the wetness and humidity under control. After this, the space will be safe and sound. And since the ventilation or source of air has been removed, the crawl space must not contain any kind of equipment or materials that prone to combustion like lawn mowers, gasoline, oil, paints and solvents. Do not store combustible type of material in the crawl space
Conditioned Crawl Space
The application or implementation of a conditioned crawl space is done when the present insulation is destroyed and must be eliminated. The difference between an non-vented crawl space and a conditioned crawl space is that the conditioned crawl space makes the space as a living space, which is more or less like a basement. Aside from this, the conditioned crawl space is usually in full compliance of the local and national building codes. The characteristics of this method or technique are that it insulates the exterior of the foundation and establishes a conditioned or air within the house via the crawl space.
Here Is How A Conditioned Crawl Space Is Done
Rain water is generally controlled by gutters and downspouts, with a five percent slope grade away from the house infrastructure, the downspouts must drain the water eight to ten feet from the house or building foundation, It could be tied down to an underground drain system if available. Apply a damp proofing on the exterior wall if the outside grading is higher than the inside grade. if the interior grade is above the exterior grade then proofing and construction of foundation drains could be eliminated. The polyethylene covering the ground or the installed vapor barrier must cover the foundation wall and must finish beneath the sill plate. Seal all outdoor air access by covering the exterior openings and having gaskets installed around the entrance doors.
The insulation of foundation walls outside must have the approved rigidity or batt installation with a flame that is less than a twenty-five spread. The rigid installation must lengthen down to the top of the footing with polyethylene covering the ground and sealed to its face on the bottom. The batt insulation should broaden down the wall and finishes two to three feet within the crawl space that has seams which are taped continuously. In both cases the band joist is insulated by using a rigid or batt insulation. Provided access doors are insulated by using two inches of rigid board foam.
Air Condition and Exhaust Fan
A restraining duct must be attached to the air conditioning system or to an exhaust fan that transfers air from the house to the crawl space. The building code also requires that an exhaust fan should be installed to suck out air from the crawl space outside the house. But since exhausting can could generate negative tension within the crawl space this technique or process is not usually suggested.
Regular Maintenance Required
Keeping a safe home requires proper maintenance of the houses crawl space at scheduled intervals. Properly cleaning a crawl space usually requires professional help.