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Common Wet Insulation Issues

While insulation surely has its benefits, wet insulation can wreak havoc all over your crawl space and even lead to compromised structural integrity.

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When unprotected from the elements, crawl spaces are prone to water damage. One of the more untraditional waterproofing measures is insulation. Although it is an effective solution, it shouldn’t be considered a permanent one. There are many things that can go south when it comes to insulation, so make sure it receives an inspection at least once a year. Otherwise, your insulation could become damaged and turn into a host for moisture. 

Wet Insulation

Why Should I Insulate My Crawl Space?

When unprotected from the elements, crawl spaces are prone to water damage. One of the more untraditional waterproofing measures is insulation. Although it is an effective solution, it shouldn’t be considered a permanent one. There are many things that can go south when it comes to insulation, so make sure it receives an inspection at least once a year. Otherwise, your insulation could become damaged and turn into a host for moisture. 

Why Should I Insulate My Crawl Space? 

Your crawl space houses the structural supports that keep your home and utility lines stable. Therefore, it is important to ensure the health and stability of it. If it becomes damp, it will likely lead to many other problems that will disrupt your quality of life. For example, your wooden elements can begin to rot and mold can start to spread all over your foundation, and later, your house. 

By insulating your crawl space, you won’t waterproof your crawl space, but you easily control the temperature in your crawl space and therefore reduce the amount of damage this area can take on. To keep your crawl space safe from water damage, it is best to pair your insulation with encapsulation. 

Issues with Wet Insulation 

When insulation becomes wet, it can cause a variety of problems. Here are some of them. 

Compromised structural integrity: Insulation is often in contact with steel structural elements in buildings. When it becomes wet, it can cause corrosion. Rusted steel studs, wall ties, and screws can become very loose, resulting in excess movement. Eventually, the wall surface will become cracked or discolored, or even worse, collapse completely.  

Lack of energy efficiency: When you heat your home during the winter, that heat goes out through the ceiling and the roof and you lose that energy. However, when your roof is insulated, the heat remains in your home and you can conserve energy. When that insulation becomes wet, it starts to conduct energy and no longer serves its purpose. 

Mold growth: Mold needs several conditions to thrive, including a food source, adequate temperature, and moisture presence. When insulation becomes wet, it turns into an ideal environment for mold growth. If you do not inspect your insulation once a year, it could become wet and turn into a mold hotspot. From there, mold spores will spread all over your home, contaminating the air you breathe and causing respiratory problems. 

Common Causes of Wet Insulation 

 While your insulation can become wet during the construction of your home, or due to improper construction, such as poorly installing coping details and poorly sealed openings in the walls, it can also end up wet and ruined for the following reasons: 

Clogged weep holes: Weep holes are drilled at the bottom of the wall and their purpose is to let water exit from inside the walls. However, when these holes become clogged, they can cause wet insulation. 

Cold spots: When contractors do not install continuous insulation, cold spots form. They lead to condensation in the walls and soak up the insulation. 

Ground moisture: Rainfalls in Moberly, MO are nothing unusual. When large storms occur, they oversaturate the soil and make it completely moist. Since crawl spaces rest on dirt, the moisture from the ground can easily affect them and the insulation inside them. 

Curing concrete. When the concrete cures, water evaporates and makes the walls moist. 

Moisture-laden air: When warm, moisture-laden air mixes with the cooler air, it creates condensation. 

Air barriers: If your crawl space does not have professionally installed air barriers, your insulation can suffer. 

What to Do About Wet Insulation 

There are several distinct types of insulation. Each of them will respond to moisture differently. While some won’t be affected by it at all, others need to be dried out as quickly as possible to prevent mold growth. Here are several types of insulation and the separate ways moisture affects them. 

Wet Spray Foam Insulation 

If wall cavities are filled with hard white foam, your home has spray foam insulation. Since spray foam is also a moisture barrier, you don’t have to worry about insulation itself. However, if moisture is passing through it, there is surely a hole you need to find and seal, otherwise, all that humidity will damage the wood surrounding the insulation. 

Wet Fiberglass Insulation 

Pink batts inside your wall cavities are a sign that your home has been insulated with fiberglass, which is made of small strands of glass and therefore does not absorb water. However, moisture can easily fill the air pockets between the fibers, making insulation completely ineffective.  

Having wet fiberglass insulation is just like having no insulation at all. In addition, fiberglass creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and pests. To dry it out, use a crawl space dehumidifier. If your insulation smells musty afterward, it means it has been contaminated with dirty water and you will need to replace it. 

Wet Cellulose Insulation 

Cellulose insulation features loose, gray fibers in wall cavities, and since it is a plant-based product, it cannot recover after getting wet. If there was an extensive leak, you will need to completely remove your insulation and replace it with a new one. Mold can begin growing in wet insulation in just a couple of days, so it is better to get rid of it. 

To avoid these problems, it is recommended to invest in waterproof, pest-resistant insulation. ExTremeBloc™ insulation panels reduce energy usage by 15% to 20% and are integrated with a termiticide to repel termites. This type of insulation is eco-friendly and has a Class A fire rating. 

Do you have wet insulation you have no idea what to do with? Or maybe you wish to learn more about ExTremeBloc™? In either case, contact professionals at Foundation Recovery Systems and schedule a free inspection

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Moberly, MO 65270
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