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6 Tips for Maintaining Your Crawl Space

Dirty crawl space.

Crawl spaces are often a classic case of “out of sight, out of mind”. After all, it’s easy to ignore what happens in your crawl space since it isn’t always easy (or pleasant) to get down there.

However, keeping your crawl space well maintained is key to a healthy and happy home. What happens inside your crawl space actually has an impact on your entire living space. Here, we’ll look at 6 ways to keep your crawl space healthy. By the end of this page, you’ll understand the best steps to take to protect your crawl space from issues down the line.

How to Tell if Your Crawl Space Needs Maintenance

You might be wondering how to tell your crawl space is damaged without actually going in there to check. Well, there are a few telltale signs you can observe in your home that indicate a crawl space that needs maintenance. These are the most common signs to keep an eye out for:

If you notice one or more of these issues in your home, it’s likely because of the crawl space. As soon as you notice them, call a professional team like JES Foundation Repair to inspect it further. That way, you can be sure the crawl space really is causing these problems.

6 Ways to Maintain Your Crawl Space

Once an inspection has been done, there are a few steps to take that will ensure your crawl space stays well-maintained far into the future. Here’s what our team, with over 30 years of experience, recommends for crawl space homes.

1. Seal Vents and Openings

Traditionally, homes with crawl space were been built with vents along the walls, but this practice has shown to actually be more detrimental than beneficial. Open crawl space vents make it easier for humid air, outdoor moisture, and pests to enter the crawl space.

This fosters conditions that are harmful to your health and well-being. To prevent these issues, it’s best to install airtight covers on your crawl space vents and doorways. Additionally, keep an eye out for any cracks or openings in the foundation walls.

These gaps also allow moisture and insects to get into the crawl space. If not addressed, wall cracks can widen over time, compromising the structural integrity of your home and leading to more costly repairs.

Sealing crawl space vents.

2. Properly Insulate the Crawl Space

Many crawl spaces are built with fiberglass insulation installed. Unfortunately, fiberglass insulation only works well in an indoor environment. Crawl spaces are partially exposed to the outdoor environment, so this causes issues for insulation made with fiberglass.

When fiberglass insulation becomes wet, it absorbs the moisture and begins to sag. Over time, this causes temperature and energy problems in your home.

Instead, the best insulation to use in a crawl space is foam board insulation. Its materials make it naturally resistant to moisture, and the version installed by JES makes use of a radiant heat barrier, keeping the crawl space warm without moisture. The outcome is a warmer crawl space that makes your entire home more energy efficient.

Installing crawl space insulation boards.

3. Install Drainage and a Sump Pump

Crawl spaces are susceptible to flooding, especially after a heavy storm. Groundwater can easily seep into the dirt floors found in most crawl spaces, so installing preventative measures is a great way to keep your crawl space in top shape.

At JES, we install crawl space drains and sump pumps designed to fit specifically into a crawl space area. With these systems working together, groundwater is caught quickly and won’t have a chance to pool under your home. Having both installed gives you a leg up on water intrusion!

Crawl space sump pump being installed.

4. Utilize a Vapor Barrier

One of the best ways of protecting your crawl space is by sealing it with a vapor barrier, which can be placed over the floor and walls to separate the crawl space from the outdoor environment. Installing a vapor barrier blocks humidity from the outside, helping you avert problems like wood rot and mold growth, and make it more difficult for pests to get in.

We install a durable 20-mil plastic vapor barrier with built in mold protection. Besides controlling moisture, the plastic barrier also acts as an insulation of sorts that will keep your home warmer during cool months and cooler in hot months.

Clean, encapsulated crawl space.

5. Use a Dehumidifier

Crawl spaces are usually exposed to the outdoors. That means on a humid day, air filled with moisture will make its way into your crawl space.

This causes humidity levels in the crawl space to skyrocket. Humid air will travel up into your home and make it uncomfortable. Not to mention, humidity in a crawl space causes issues like musty odors.

Resolving this issue is best done with a dehumidifier. Installing one in your crawl space (especially in conjunction with other water management systems) will keep your crawl space dry and controlled. Our dehumidifier also purifies the air in your crawl space, keeping it fresh and healthy all year long.

Encapsulated crawl space with dehumidifier.

6. Consider Your Landscaping

Believe it or not, landscaping plays a vital role in maintaining a moisture-free crawl space. Make sure the terrain around your home grades away from the crawl space. having a properly graded yard will prevent rainwater from accumulating right next to the crawl space.

Incorporating plants with deep root systems can also help absorb excess moisture, though it’s important to avoid planting large trees too near to your house to prevent potential foundation damage. Moreover, the upkeep of your gutters plays a role too.

Ensure that downspouts are directing water a minimum of 10 feet from your home and your gutters aren’t damaged or clogged. By diligently managing your landscaping, you can mitigate the risk of water issues in your crawl space.

Wet puddle in yard.

Contact JES Foundation Repair for Your Crawl Space Needs

As you can see, proper crawl space maintenance keeps your home healthy and saves you money on repairs and electricity. Following these six steps is a surefire way to create the most protected crawl space possible! If you have questions concerning your crawl space or need help with crawl space care, get in touch with us to schedule a free crawl space inspection today!

Phillip Mazzotta

Phillip Mazzotta

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JES Foundation Repair service area map of the Mid-Atlantic region.

Our Locations

Baltimore

8361 Town Center Ct
Nottingham, MD 21236

Fredericksburg

311 Central Rd.
Suite 2-02
Fredericksburg, VA 22401

Hampton Roads & NE NC

2569 Quality Ct
Virginia Beach, VA 23454

Northern VA & DC

7940 Gainsford Ct.
Bristow, VA 20136

Richmond

309 Quarles Rd
Ashland, VA 23005

Southwest Virginia / Roanoke

2033 Cook Dr.
Salem, VA 24153

Western Virginia

456 Old Courthouse Rd
Appomattox, VA 24522

Winchester

45 W Boscawen St,
Winchester, VA 22601