Winter Crawl Space Damage — Signs and Remedies

Is your crawl space ready for the frigid winter weather? Here are five signs of crawl space damage in the winter and how to correct them.

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While most homeowners tend to overlook certain issues around their homes, crawl space damage is one problem you wouldn’t want to ignore during winter. The potent combination of cold outdoor air and warm conditioned air is a recipe for disaster. 

Let’s not also forget that vented crawl spaces attract bugs, insects, and rodents escaping the harsh winter weather. Venting also fosters the growth of mold, fungus, and decay, which have the potential to cause respiratory diseases and to compromise the integrity of your structure. 

crawl space winter damage

Signs of Crawl Space Damage 

You can avoid problems by knowing the signs of crawl space damage and how best to deal with the issues behind them. 

Mold and Mildew 

Mold is a common sign of crawl space damage and something you should always be on the lookout for. Mold develops and flourishes in crawl spaces with high moisture content or standing water. Over time, this mold spreads to the rest of your home, causing allergies and other respiratory issues. 

Moisture and Condensation 

Generally, condensation is a sign of a moisture problem in the crawl space. The moisture in the crawl space comes from three sources: leaks from plumbing pipes, water seepage through foundation walls, and the air. 

High amounts of moisture in the crawl space allow insects, termites, and fungi to thrive and deteriorate the wood that holds the structure up. Moisture and condensation also promote the growth of mold and mildew. 

Standing Water 

Due to the low-lying position of the crawl space, most Kansas City, MO, homeowners are usually unaware that they have standing water in their crawl space. Standing water in the crawl space may be a result of leaking pipes, floods, or poor drainage. Other than the previously mentioned mold problems, standing water can cause a wide assortment of structural issues. 

The water can cause warping and buckling of your home’s sub-flooring, which tends to occur in areas or corners where floors and walls meet. It may also create a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Your home’s structure will also be compromised and become extremely unsafe. 

Cracks in the Foundation 

The dirt floor of a crawl space can quickly become infiltrated by moisture. This is especially true if the crawl space does not have a vapor barrier or encapsulation system. When your crawl space has a high moisture content, the walls become infiltrated instigating cracks. These cracks then let water seep into the crawl space triggering even bigger issues. As a result, utility components in your crawl space may start showing signs of corrosion on pipes, valves, fittings, and other metal parts. 

Sagging or Sloping Floors 

Even if you own an older home, sagging floors are never good. This is usually a sign of damage and it requires immediate action. Some of the reasons why your floors could be sagging range from poor soil compaction and failing support beams to water seepage through foundation cracks. At the first sign of sagging or sloping floors, you should have the necessary repairs performed to prevent the problem from becoming worse. 

Crawl Space Repair Solutions 

Once you know what’s ailing your crawl space, the next thing is to approach a local crawl space repair contractor in Kansas City, MO. They will recommend any of these fixes. 

Crawl space encapsulation: Seal off the crawl space with a thick 20-mil plastic vapor barrier. This solution locks out air, mold spores, and pests that threaten your crawl space. It goes over the walls and floors, as well as around obstacles. 

Insulation: Rigid board and foam spray are the recommended crawl space insulation solutions. These prevent heat loss and outside conditions from interfering with the crawl space. 

Crawl space vent covers: Outside air must be locked out with vent covers, and this solution can help prevent air exchange that contributes to dampness. 

Sump pump: A low-lying area like the crawl space can get inundated by surface water and snowmelt. A good sump pump system ejects water that collects from the perimeter interior drainage system of the crawl space. 

Do you need help waterproofing the crawl space? Contact the experts at Foundation Recovery Systems. We will provide you with a free crawl space inspection and repair quote along with recommendations that’ll help keep your crawl space warm, dry, and healthy during winter.