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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Repairing Your Crawl Space

Crawl Space Repair - the right way

Crawl spaces are inherently moist, damp environments that put your home at risk. Understanding what NOT to do is as important as knowing what to do when improving your crawl space.

Gardening is fun.

Decorating is fun.

Dealing with a crawl space problem is not fun.

And yet, the state of your crawl space can have a major impact on your home. Damp moist air trapped in your crawl space can breed mold and affect your foundation. Musty smells can find their way into your living spaces. Local pests and bugs will find it a refuge from the outside elements and move right in.

For all these reasons and more, it's important to choose the right approach when fixing your crawl space. Crawl spaces are complex environments and the wrong approach can exacerbate the problems you're trying to solve. That gets costly and time-consuming.

To illustrate, here are some examples of mistakes to avoid when fixing your crawl space:

1. DON'T: Install additional vents in the crawl space

The theory behind adding vents in a crawl space is that more vents will force more moisture out. But it turns out that additional vents do a better job of ushering in humid air during times of high humidity, doing more harm than good when the goal is to maintain a clean, dry space under your home.

More vents also means more ways for pests to enter the space.

2. DON'T: Spray foam a damp crawl space

While spray foam insulation is one of the most effective insulation materials in other rooms of the home, it is a bad idea in a wet or damp crawl space. Moisture gets easily trapped between the foam and the wall and a moist foundation wall generally leads to mold growth and wood rot.

Mold and rot? Never good for your home's foundation.

3. DON'T: Insulate with fiberglass to repair a damp crawl space

Insulating damp crawlspaces with fiberglass is another common mistake. As you probably know, fiberglass insulation absorbs moisture. When that happens, the crawl space becomes an even more hospitable environment for mold growth.

Fiberglass's moisture absorbing properties make it an ineffective solution.

4. DON'T: Add vapor barriers to floor joists

Another crawl space repair tactic is to install vapor barriers to floor joists to keep moisture from seeping into the wood joists. The problem here is that in summer months, condensation in the crawlspace gets trapped between the joists and the vapor barrier. And as with spray foam, this can encourage the mold growth and wood rot that you're trying to eliminate.

Avoid condensation at all costs.

5. DON'T: Skip the drainage system

Drainage issues are common with both dirt and concrete crawl spaces. Once rainwater and groundwater seep (or gush) in, it's dangerous to let the water stand or let the crawl space "air out" on its own (meaning let the wooden structures absorb the moisture). An effective drainage system will take into account the type and slope of the crawl space floor, the foundation and drainage outside and will often include a sump pump and dehumidifier designed for the crawl space.

DO: Hire a Professional with Crawl Space Experience

Selecting the right crawl space solution and a professional contractor experienced in crawl spaces will save you time, headache and money. We’ve built up a network of crawl space repair contractors throughout the U.S., trained and certified to diagnose and solve crawl space issues.

Let us turn your crawl space into a worry-free zone. Because gardening, decorating and almost any other home improvement project are more fun!

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