Before you determine what you should and shouldn’t do in terms of repairing a crawl space, you first need to make sure it is a crawl space and not random dirt. If you have a basement, you won’t have a crawl space. A crawl space is a shallow area between the ground and the first floor of a home, created for access to plumbing or wiring when there is no basement. A sturdy crawl space has concrete walls and foundation, but some have a gravel base and the walls are not concrete.
Issues With Crawl Spaces
Moisture is a major problem with crawl spaces, so if you live in an area prone to flooding or saturated soil, your crawl space needs to be as watertight as possible. Moisture can travel upward into the floor above, insulation, and more. If your crawl space does not have concrete walls and foundation, you’re looking at a high probability of mold as well as rodent and bug entry.
All those reality programs make spray foam look like a miracle of home improvement, but truthfully, it is not the best thing to use in a crawl space. Spray foam is great to use in dry parts of the home, but crawl spaces are exposed to a lot of moisture, and foam application will trap that moisture against the space’s walls. This encourages deterioration and mold.
Fiberglass insulation isn’t much better. It’s an absorbent material, which means it sucks in moisture and keeps it trapped inside the crawl space, leading to mold problems.
Vents and Vapor Barriers
It sounds logical that a vapor barrier and/or vents will air out the crawl space and in the case of a barrier, keep water out. However, vents suck in moisture, especially when the humidity in the air is high — not to mention field mice, chipmunks, and other small creature would have easy access to the crawl space.
During warmer, humid months, the moisture outside heads indoors where it is cooler. The barrier prevents the water from moving and keeps it trapped, where it can breed mold.
Types of Cracks
Like with your home’s foundation, there are different types of cracks that may form in a crawl space. Small cracks may occur when a new crawl-space foundation and walls are constructed. Curing dries out the concrete, which may crack a bit. Generally, you don’t need to worry about these.
Vertical, horizontal, and/or cracks that look like stairs are indicative of structural damage. Of the three, horizontal cracks are the least likely to show up in a crawl space. However, all types should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the crawl-space foundation and walls. Cracks in the crawl space usually mean a shifting foundation, which can affect the rest of your home.
What to Do
Any crawl-space repairs should be done by a company that specializes in foundations. For mold issues, the company performing mold remediation must be certified. Foundation problems are nothing to sneeze at and any attempt at DIYing the issue(s) likely will make the problem worse. You might widen cracks or cause mold to spread if you aren’t trained in these repairs and have the correct equipment and products.
Crawl-Space Repair With Acculevel
As foundation repair experts, the staff at Acculevel can handle any moisture issues in your crawl space. It’s been our mission since 1996 to help homeowners have dry, solid foundations and crawl spaces. We are certified in mold remediation, so you don’t have to worry about spores being disturbed and spreading. We thoroughly investigate any problems before recommending solutions, whether it’s crack repairs or a new drainage system. Acculevel services the Midwest, so if you live in that area and have crawl-space problems or are just concerned about the condition of your crawl space, contact us at (866) 669-3349 or email us at [email protected] to schedule an appointment.