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What Causes Crawl Space Problems?

What You Need To Know...

Moisture problems, house settlement and poor construction can all create crawl space problems.

Moisture
Crawl space moisture can be the source of many of your wet crawl space issues, including that moldy crawl space smell. As the water in your crawl space evaporates it rises, going through your insulation, floor and through the rest of your home – creating a trail of destruction. Humidity problems are caused by:

Vented Crawl Space:
A vented crawl space lets in moisture, which creates the perfect environment for wood rot or mold, mildew and dust mites. Plus a vented dirt crawl space can be the source of your high energy bill; raising your heating and cooling costs by 15-25%.

Dirt Crawl Space:
The exposed dirt in your crawl space absorbs the moisture let in by your vented crawl space. As the damp soil dries, it rises through your house, changing the relative humidity inside your home – contributing to your high energy bill.

Mother Nature:
The rainy season and a humid summer can wreak havoc on your crawl space. If your crawl space leaks then that water will eventually evaporate, rising through your home and creating problems like wet insulation, a moldy crawl space or dust mites.

House Settling
Your home's crawl space problems can also be caused by your house settling. A house will settle when the soil it's built on can no longer support the weight of the house. Aside from poor soil preparation, moisture is the biggest player in how the soil acts around your foundation. The soil surrounding your crawl space foundation can be effected by:

Poor Drainage and grading:
If your home doesn't have a drainage system in place, then all of the water that flows out of your gutters – or off of your roof – will land near your foundation. That water will force the soil to expand and it will push against your crawl space foundation, forcing water in and creating cracks.

Mother Nature:
While Spring showers are great for your flowers and landscaping, they can create problems for you home's crawl space. The extra moisture forces the soil to expand and press against your crawl space foundation, eventually causing cracks.

Plumbing Leaks:
Most of us think about the damage to the inside of our home when we find a plumbing leak. But those problems can spread to your crawl space. Cracks in pipes or water lines leading to your home can not only create a mess out of your lawn but can also harm your foundation, and create water damage in your crawl space.

Construction
The construction of your home's support system – foundation, floor joists and support beams - plays a major role in the stability and health of your crawl space. If the support pier columns aren't spaced properly it can cause sagging floor joists which result in squeaky floors, uneven floors and sagging floors.

The type of crawl space foundation also impacts how dry, or wet, your crawl space can get. Some crawl space foundations let in more water and air, creating problems and unnecessary stress.

Concrete block:
Block walls are the easiest and cheapest type of foundation to install. They also let in the most water and air, creating a lot of mold, water and wood rot problems.

Poured concrete:
A poured concrete foundation is a solid surface, and is common in newer homes. Unless there's a hole or crack, these foundations don't allow air or water in.

Stone walls:
This type of crawl space foundation is found in older homes and can let a lot of water and air leak into your crawl space.

Mother Nature
The temperamental East Coast weather can create a lot of crawl space problems:

Hurricane:
Summer bring warm weather, sunshine and hurricane season. The strong winds can blow water into your crawl space while the heavy rains, coastal flooding and tidal flooding can inundate your crawl space with water.

Nor’easter:
Meet the hurricane’s winter cousin, the Nor’easter. And just like a hurricane, this storm can create a lot of damage in your crawl space. From flooding and extra moisture to expanding the soil, chances are you’ve been left to clean up after a Nor’easter has blown through your town.

Drought:
On the opposite end of the weather spectrum is drought. The hot, dry summers suck moisture from the soil, and your crawl space, which leads to settlement problems.

If you're worried about your crawl space and need help now, request your free inspection. One of our crawl space repair specialists will conduct an in-depth investigation of your home's crawl space and will recommend a solution that is designed for your crawl space. And if we find that your crawl space doesn't need to be repaired, we'll tell you!

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We will work with you every step of the way to make sure that you feel comfortable with your home's crawl space solution – from inspection and planning to installation and project completion.

Requesting your free inspection takes 60 seconds, and you can download your Free Homeowner's Guide to Foundation Repair immediately!

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~ Beatrice W.

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