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Crawlspace FAQ

Q: My house has a dirt crawlspace, would this mean I have moisture, mold and other problems?

The majority of homes with a dirt crawlspace have moisture concerns due to improper ventilation. This can create conditions for a host of problems that can affect your family’s health – mold, mildew, wood destroying fungi, insects, rodents and vermin. Only a proper evaluation of this area can determine what your crawlspace condition is and the solutions to any problems.

Q: We have a plastic vapor barrier down in the crawlspace and still experience bad smells emanating from that area. Will proper ventilation help?

Absolutely! This is a very common complaint from homeowners and some people try many products to control bad smells, including lime, charcoal and even at times bleach. Covering the dirt with plastic will trap moisture and keep the ground wet thereby intensifying the smells. Now you have the promotion of the growth of mold, mildew and fungi, even giving safe haven for all sorts of vermin and insects. Proper ventilation is a must.

Q: My crawlspace has vents; doesn’t that allow my crawlspace to stay clean and dry?

A: No. Foundation vents only allow a small amount of ventilation if they are not obstructed by bushes or other objects. If you have duct work in the crawlspace, this creates even more obstruction to air moving through the area.

Q: My crawlspace has gravel and appears to be dry; should I still be concerned?

Remember that a crawl space is just a hole in the ground and water will be attracted to that area. Gravel works as another kind of cover-up and atmospheric moisture is still present.

Q: How does the air from my crawl space get into my home?

In many ways: tiny cracks in the floors, around air registers, space around plumbing pipes, heating and air conditioning ducts – especially return air ducts. In fact research shows that up to 50% of the air in your home comes from your crawlspace. This infiltration brings with it odors, moisture, mold mildew, fungi spores or radon gas that is in your home’s crawlspace.

Q: What will a complete crawlspace evaluation reveal?

We visually check for the presence of mold, mildew, wood destroying fungi, moisture content of wood, fallen, contaminated floor, and duct wrap insulation, broken or separated ductwork, plumbing leaks, electrical issues, standing water and structural problems.

Q: Will covering all the ground in my crawlspace with a plstic vapor barrier stop the moisture problems?

No. Studies have proven that these barriers were ineffective in protecting the crawlspace from above ground sources of moisture problems such as rain water, duct condensation, humidity and plumbing leaks. Water will pool on top of vapor barriers creating perfect conditions for unwanted mold growth and high moisture content to wood.

NOTE: Studies show that mold begins to grow at 20% moisture and wood begins to rot at 28% moisture.