Structural Damage to Crawl Space
There is another industry that has vented dirt crawl spaces to thank for its existence-Structural repairs to replace floor joists, girders, and sill plates - basically the entire floor framing system under your house. These repairs aren't cheap. In fact, they can be very expensive. You can imagine a carpenter figuring out how he's going to crawl under your home and get new 16 foot long 2" x 10"s in place, with all the duct work, wiring, plumbing, and bridging (cross bracing) that are attached to the old rotted joists, all while operating on his back in a low crawl space. It's not easy on him, and it's not going to be easy on your bank account.
Most of the time, these structural repairs are done without ever fixing the problem! So it's only a matter of time before the new framing rots out, and it has to be done again.
What is the design life of a house? In other words, how long do you want your house to last without needing major repairs? If the answer is longer than 10 or 15 or 25 years, then you better fix your dirt crawl space.
When the floors in nearly all 36 units in this New England condominium complex began bouncing and getting soft, they realized the crawl spaces were a bigger problem than they thought. As an emergency measure, they had to "sister" new framing lumber to each side of every girder and every floor joist so the homes would not cave in. Eventually they hired Basement Systems to install a CleanSpace Crawl Space Encapsulation system to fix the moisture problem.
The sill plate rotting right over this vent is no coincidence. That the problem wasn't fixed after it was replaced is the irony. (top picture)
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