Are you in the market to buy a home? Even if it looks great on the outside and the bedrooms and kitchen are immaculate, you may want to also consider the crawlspace beneath your feet. A crawlspace is more than just a place to house aircon equipment and plumbing lines. Crawlspaces were initially meant to help keep the home’s floor level away from the soil and its moisture. This was important because excess moisture can wreak havoc on a home.
Unfortunately, crawlspaces don’t quite achieve their purpose as intended. Moisture and water can get trapped in a crawlspace, especially in humid areas or places that receive a lot of rain each year. What’s more, with lingering moisture, the crawlspace can begin to experience a variety of problems that may require repairs or remediation.
To make sure that no unwelcome surprises come up when you buy that house, look out for these problems in the crawlspace…
Crawlspace Problems to Watch Out For
Before deciding on a house, you may want to inspect the home’s crawlspace and watch for these common problems…
- Mould Growth
- Wood Rot
- Damaged/Leaking Foundation
Mould is one thing that no one wants to have in their home. But a damp crawlspace has moisture, and wooden material for mould to grow, survive, and spread. As mould grows, it will begin to release new mould spores. Due to the Stack Effect (or chimney effect), the air from the crawlspace will be sucked up into the floor levels above, carrying those extra spores with it. When your indoor air begins to carry more mould spores than usual, it can lead to allergic reactions. Some of the moulds you may encounter include black mould and Penicillium.
Another fungal problem that can plague a crawlspace is wood rot. As moisture soaks into the wooden support structures of the crawlspace, wood rot can begin to grow and consume parts of the wood. This can lead to the weakening these wooden structures and may even require the replacement of those parts.
Termites, ants, rodents, oh my! There are a lot of critters out there that are always looking for a place that’s safe and abundant with food sources. Unfortunately, that makes a damp crawlspace a perfect spot to set up a nest or begin a colony. Termites especially can cause a lot of damage to the wooden structures of your home, leading to high repair costs. Dust mites are known for causing allergic reactions when their faecal particles get swept up into the air around your home.
While foundations are made of concrete and are designed to be robust, hydrostatic pressure and foundation settling can lead to cracks. These foundation cracks can also leak groundwater through and into the crawlspace. It is essential to have the foundation stabilized and repaired in these cases.
The Source of These Problems
You may have noticed from the problems above that they all have one thing in common: Moisture. Whether it’s moisture in the air flowing into the crawlspace, or groundwater seeping in and evaporating, a damp crawlspace can mean problems. Those problems won’t stay in the crawlspace either—they can impact the rest of the house. Musty air filled with mould spores can saturate the air of the living spaces. Pests can venture up as they search for food. Weakened floor joists can lead to sagging or bouncy floors. It’s essential to stop the moisture in the crawlspace before things get worse. Otherwise, it means more repairs.
The Solution? Crawlspace Encapsulation and Waterproofing
To prevent these problem scenarios from occurring, the moisture in the crawlspace must be dealt with at its source or sources. That’s where an encapsulated crawlspace and crawlspace waterproofing can help. Crawlspace encapsulation involves using a thick vapour barrier lining to seal the crawlspace away from outside moisture. This can help make the space dry and useable as an extra space.
Crawlspace waterproofing may also be needed if the crawlspace is having hydrostatic pressure problems. A waterproofing system in the crawlspace can redirect that outside groundwater and move it away from home. This also helps crawlspaces that flood because groundwater seeps through the dirt floor.
Make Sure Your Next Home is a Safe and Healthy Home
When it comes to crawlspace encapsulation and crawlspace waterproofing, you’ll want to make sure that your next home is taken care of by the best crawlspace expert available. While searching for a contractor, be sure to do your research.
Check if a contractor has a lot of positive reviews online. Do they offer a strong warranty for their work? How long has the contractor been in business doing crawlspace repair?
Ref: THSI-2990 | ZD.26234