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Crawl Space Repair

Crawl Space Repair

Crawl space moisture means crawl space mold. Mold creates health problems for your family.

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Causes

There are numerous reasons your house may have these problems. Most of these causes stem from the ground.

Open crawl space vents let in moisture, which creates the perfect environment for wood rot, mold, mildew and dust mites. Plus a vented dirt crawl space can also cause your energy bill to be nearly 20% higher!

Exposed dirt in your crawl space absorbs moisture open crawl space vents allow inside. As damp soil dries, it rises through your house, changing relative humidity inside your home, contributing to high energy bills.

Spring showers are great for your flowers & landscaping, but create problems for your crawl space. Extra moisture forces the soil to expand & press against your crawl space foundation, eventually causing cracks.

If your home doesn’t have a drainage system in place, then all the water that flows out of your gutters or roof will land near your foundation. That water forces the soil to expand & will push against your crawl space foundation, forcing water in & creating cracks.

Most of us think about the damage to the inside of our home when we find a plumbing leak. Those problems spread to your crawl space. Cracks in pipes or water lines leading to your home create a mess out of your lawn but can also harm your foundation, & create water damage in your crawl space.

How can JES help me?

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    FAQs

    Humidity, unfortunately, is not a harmless visitor in your home. If you allow humidity to gather in your crawl space, then you may find yourself contending with unwanted damage in the days, weeks, and months to come. Humidity, after all, does more than make your space uncomfortable to live in. Unwanted moisture in the air can cause significant damage throughout the whole of your home, such as: 

    • Unpleasant smells 
    • Mold growths 
    • Warped door frames 
    • Damaged windowsills 
    • Sagging floors 
    • Rotting floor joists 
    • Wood rot 
    • Foundation sinkage 

    If you find yourself contending with crawl space humidity, you can reach out to a professional contractor in your area to schedule a home inspection. During a home inspection, you can find the source of a leak and determine how best you can resolve the damage done to your home. You can also discuss what waterproofing measures might help you protect your home from unwanted moisture after repairs have been completed.

    The stack effect is a condition in a home describing the behavior of air based on its density. Air that is warmer has a less significant density than cooler air. As a result, warmer air tends to rise to the top of a home. However, if the air in your crawl space takes on an excessive amount of moisture, the density of the air can increase significantly. In most cases, you’d assume that’d mean air would remain in the bottom of your home. However, if the moisture from your crawl space starts to leak into the rest of your home, that dense air can spread, exposing all belongings and other structural supports to conditions that might result in damage. 

    There is no getting away from the stack effect, unfortunately. No matter what steps you take, the warmer air in your home will always rise to the top of your home. However, if you work to eliminate the excess moisture in your crawl space, you can prevent wood rot and other moisture-induced damage from appearing in the rest of your home. It is in your best interest to see what you can do to seal off the entirety of your crawl space. Even if you haven’t taken any preventative measures yet, you can keep the vents in your crawl space closed and blocked off while also making sure your crawl space door fits well in its frame.

    The process of encapsulating your crawl space allows you to protect your home against unwanted moisture. A professional will cover the walls and floor with a dense layer of plastic-like material. In doing so, they create a tight seal within your space, preventing both water and most gas particles from making their way inside. It’s important to maintain the health of your crawl space and the function of your protective measures. So you will need to keep an eye on your encapsulation materials over the years to ensure that none of them are wearing thin. 

    The cost of encapsulating your crawl space will vary based on the types of materials you want to purchase, as well as the size of the space you want to protect. If you let your crawl space suffer from damage for an extended period of time, however, the cost of eventual repairs will vastly outstrip those protective measures you might invest in ahead of time. Additionally, encapsulating your crawl space can help lower your electric bills, as they can improve your ability to control the temperature throughout your crawl space and the rest of your home.

    Crawl space encapsulations help you create a sealed area within your crawl space. In doing so, they make it easier for you to prevent unwanted humidity and, in turn, to deal with it accordingly. If something breaks the seal you have on your crawl space, you might find yourself contending with a spread of moisture throughout the rest of your home. 

    An ill-fitting crawl space door will let moisture into the rest of your home. You’ll want to work with the professionals in your area to first identify the source of moisture in your crawl space and fix it. With a leak fixed, you can then go about removing the rest of the unwanted moisture from the rest of your crawl space. Only once your space has dried out should you go about replacing your crawl space door and its frame. Once you’ve reached that point, you can make sure that the door fits well into its frame and benefits from another waterproofing measure you may have installed in your space.

    Crawl space encapsulation will almost certainly help you lower your energy costs. In fact, some people suggest you could save up to 15-25% in energy costs when you encapsulate your crawl space. It can be more difficult to cool your home when the air is humid, and the same holds true whether you’re cooling your crawl space or the rest of your home.

    When you encapsulate your crawl space, you’re removing all ability for moisture to enter the crawl space. When moisture can’t enter your crawl space, it also can’t rise up through the rest of the home. That means you have to use much less energy to condition the air in your crawl space and in the home in general.

    On an aesthetic level, an unlined crawl space tends to smell unpleasant. These types of smells tend to arise as a result of precipitation and the unprotected dirt or materials you’ve left unlined in the space. The smells coming from your crawl space can rise up through your home along with unpleasant, moist air and permeate otherwise clean spaces. It can be extremely difficult to get rid of these smells, even if you make a point of clearing out the rest of your home. Leaving a crawl space unlined can also result in: 

    • Warped door frames 
    • Damaged windowsills 
    • The stack effect 
    • Sagging floors throughout your home 

    In short, by lining your crawl space, you protect that space from extensive damage. You can reach out to professional contractors in your area to determine what kind of crawl space lining might help you protect your space against the aforementioned problems. Note that not all linings are waterproof, but that you can invest in waterproof lining when you’re first installing the protective measure. Some other types of linings are merely aesthetic, but they can still provide tentative support in your fight against unwanted moisture.

    That “musty smell” that many people think of as being indicative of a regularly functioning crawl space is actually not an intended crawl space feature. The musty crawl space smell actually occurs because of mold growth, which feeds off moisture to grow.

    This is exactly why a “musty smell” should be a sign that you need to fix something. If your crawl space smells musty and stale, there’s something wrong. You can fix it and avoid potentially permanent damage from mold and moisture, but you have to take the first step. Don’t wait to check out your crawl space; there’s a decent chance that there’s something happening you can fix.

    That “musty smell” that many people think of as being indicative of a regularly functioning crawl space is actually not an intended crawl space feature. The musty crawl space smell actually occurs because of mold growth, which feeds off moisture to grow.

    This is exactly why a “musty smell” should be a sign that you need to fix something. If your crawl space smells musty and stale, there’s something wrong. You can fix it and avoid potentially permanent damage from mold and moisture, but you have to take the first step. Don’t wait to check out your crawl space; there’s a decent chance that there’s something happening you can fix.

    Some people seem to think that fixing bouncy or sagging floors can be a DIY project that you may be able to fix with the addition of a brick or a stack of wood. However, you should always consult an expert if you’re experiencing issues with bouncy floors.

    It’s true that this method of providing additional support, also called “sistering,” can be beneficial in some cases. However, this additional support will only last for a short period of time. If the floor joist is bouncy because it’s over-spanned or full of wood rot, you’re just putting a bandage over the problem rather than addressing it head-on.

    Incorrectly supporting the floors can sometimes be worse than not supporting them at all. Cinder blocks can tip or crumble, which can damage your home when they fall. Jacking up floor joists very quickly can cause the floor to buckle and drywall cracks to form. Using any pieces of wood may just add fuel to the fire and allow mold and wood rot to spread.

    Clearly, the only answer is to contact a crawl space expert to fix your bouncy floors. You want the job done right the first time, and the only way to do that is to contact a JES expert for help.

    For a long time, people thought open crawl space vents were actually a benefit in a home. The idea was that crawl spaces needed ventilation because the ventilation would help “dry out” the crawl space. In fact, many building codes required ventilated crawl spaces, with minimal exceptions for unventilated crawl spaces.

    Although this was a popular idea for many years, it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny nowadays. Because of the different temperatures of outside air and air in your home, open crawl space vents may actually increase the amount of humidity in your crawl space, rather than reducing it. Clearly, it’s not a good idea to leave your crawl space vents open.

    The good thing is that there are many ways to return your crawl space to an encapsulated state. JES offers crawl space vent covers that you can add to your vents to avoid the entrance of water, moisture-laden air, or anything else into your crawl space.

    Dehumidifiers can serve as effective waterproofing measures in your crawl space. Whether or not a dehumidifier can help you solve your crawl space problem, however, will depend on the extent of damage you’re seeing in your space. Dehumidifiers help pull moisture from the air and can run fairly consistently, as long as you cycle them regularly. If a contractor believes that the extent of your damage can be confined to high levels of humidity and not, for example, mold growths or standing water, dehumidifiers can help protect your space against immediate damage while also preventing a build-up of air pressure that might, later down the line, circulate moist air through the rest of your home.  

    However, note that dehumidifiers are not fix-all devices. If you’re contending with more significant moisture levels in your crawl space, it may be in your best interest to pair a dehumidifier with another set of waterproofing measures, like a vapor barrier, interior drainage system, and a sump pump. This way, the multiple waterproofing measures can support one another as they draw unwanted moisture out of your space.

    Wet insulation will not do its job in your home, but it can also become a host for mold spores. You can again work with a professional to inspect your crawl space and reveal any insulation that might have suffered damage as a result of a leak. Should you find wet crawl space insulation, you may have to hire a professional to effectively remove it and replace it.  

    You can remove that moisture, dispose of it in accordance with your county’s regulations, and install new insulation material. We recommend rigid, waterproof panels called ExTremeBloc™ that also are treated to resist termites. Above all else, be sure to check over the space where your insulation used to be for signs of mold growth. You’ll want to do what you can to remove all such growth from your home before they have the opportunity to spread further.

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    JES Service Area Map

    Service Areas

    CENTRAL VIRGINIA

    2410 Southland Dr
    Chester, VA 23831

    HAMPTON ROADS & NE NC

    2569 Quality Ct
    Virginia Beach, VA 23454

    BALTIMORE

    1250 Reames Rd
    Middle River, MD 21220

    NORTHERN VA & DC

    8122 Bethlehem Rd
    Manassas, VA 20109

    SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA/ROANOKE

    2033 Cook Dr.
    Salem, VA 24153

    WESTERN VIRGINIA

    456 Old Courthouse Rd
    Appomattox, VA 24522