A crawl space can be a great spot to stash things you don’t need often. But if your crawl space is damp and musty, you might not use it at all, much less for storage. Crawl spaces are vulnerable to many of the same problems as house foundations. Because crawl spaces are under the house, pest infestations are common. Crawl spaces often have serious moisture issues, which can cause mold and mildew growth. If moisture problems aren’t solved, they can cause the house’s floor joists to deteriorate. Crawl space repair and encapsulation contractors can help. They use a variety of solutions to turn your unusable crawl space into valuable storage space.
Crawl spaces are connected to a home’s foundation. In most cases, the crawl space is located below the ground floor. This location is part of what makes moisture problems so concerning. Wood is more prone to rotting in damp spaces. When a crawl space is damp, this can cause the floor joists to rot. Common signs of a problem are sagging, creaking, or bouncy spots on the floor over the crawl space. In these cases, the contractor needs to repair the structural problem. Concrete columns or jacks work well to raise and stabilize sagging floors. Jacks can be adjusted as needed, to ensure ongoing support. If the floor joists are no longer structurally sound, they might need to be strengthened. This is typically done by adding a beam to an existing joist in a process called “sistering.” Once the structural repair is done, the moisture problem can be addressed.
A damp crawl space can make the rest of your house feel humid and uncomfortable. It also gives insects and other pests a cozy spot to set up camp. Encapsulating your crawl space is the best way to get rid of these problems. First, your contractor will address any leaks or drainage issues. This step can include fixing plumbing leaks, building a foundation drainage system, and installing a sump pump. No two houses are exactly the same, so your contractor will design a solution that is customized to your situation. Once the moisture issues are resolved, the space can be encapsulated. This involves covering the floor and walls with a heavy plastic vapor barrier. Then, the crew will seal off all vents and other areas where outside air could get in. The last step is installing either a dehumidifier or crawl space vent fan. Even though the space is sealed, the air can still get quite humid. A dehumidifier pulls moisture out of the air in the crawl space. A ventilation fan brings conditioned air from your home’s HVAC system into the crawl space to combat humidity.