Crawl Space Problem Signs
Vented dirt crawl spaces can wreak havoc on your home. From water damage and mold growth to rotting floor joists and pest infestation, your crawl space can become a hotbed for unhealthy and unsafe conditions. Learn what signs of damage to keep an eye out for here.
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A moldy crawl space can be very frustrating for your home. What do you need to know about the problems that may occur with a moldy crawl space?
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A clear sign of mold issues in your crawl space is any foul or musty odors in your home.
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The floor joists in your crawl space that support your floors can become weak over time from moisture or other issues and can compromise its structural integrity.
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If left untreated, the moisture in your crawl space could also lead to mold growth and contaminate the air quality.
Homeowners like you throughout Kansas City, Moberly, Springfield, St. Louis, and nearby are no stranger to the region’s oppressive humidity and frequent rain. Just as you feel and are affected by humidity, your home is, as well. If you have a crawl space with high humidity, your home and family could be in danger. Crawl space problems including mold and mildew growth, sagging floors, and poor air quality can negatively impact your home’s structural integrity and the health of your family.
But with high-quality crawl space repair and encapsulation from our expert team at Foundation Recovery Systems, your home will be safe and healthy for years to come. Get started today by scheduling your free inspection and estimate.
Causes of Crawl Space Problems
Crawl spaces generally are “out of sight, out of mind” for homeowners, but they should not be. It is crucial to be aware of what is underneath your living space.
The biggest problem is that most crawl spaces were constructed to be vented. While building code calls for vented crawl spaces for air drying purposes, this is harmful to the home. Because of The Stack Effect, air circulates through your home from top to bottom, like a chimney.
In winter, rising warm air increases pressure at the top of the building, which pushes hot air out at the top and sucks cold air in at the bottom. The reverse occurs in summer, when cool inside air tends to get pushed out at the bottom, which draws hot air in at the top. This ends up creating a comfort problem that feeds on itself, moisture damage, and energy loss. (Source: Pro Remodeler)
As hot and humid air contributes to high levels of moisture and humidity in the crawl space and home, this can lead to sagging, soft, buckling floors above, and result in problems to hardwood floors. Similarly, cold wintertime air that is vented inside will make the above floors feel chilly and overtax your furnace. (Additional resource: Liabilities of Vented Crawl Spaces, Their Impacts on Indoor Air Quality in Southeastern U.S. Homes and One Intervention Strategy).
Whether entering from vents, plumbing leaks, or through porous block walls, water in the crawl space is never a good sign. Moisture and standing water attract bugs and other pests, leads to wood rot and weakening support systems, and contributes to mold and mildew growth on insulation and throughout the crawl space and home.
Humidity is another culprit that can wreak havoc on your living environment. The ideal range for humidity in your home is 35 to 40 percent. If it is above 50 percent, you need to take action such as running a dehumidifier. (Source: Bob Vila).
It is common for crawl spaces to have high relative humidity and moisture, which promotes mold growth, especially on organic materials like wood and insulation. The moisture that accumulates in a crawl space may also enter another part of the building and contribute to mold growth there. Moisture can pass from a crawl space into a building through cracks in walls, floors and ceilings. (Source: EPA)
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Blake and Jake showed up, explained everything they were going to do and when they were done the job was cleaned up and looked fantastic. They also walked us through exactly what happened and what to expect in the coming days.
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Terrence, Kalin, and D’Andre are such a great crew! So nice and did a good job! They came all the way from KC to STL to work on our house (STL was short staffed) and even worked on a Saturday to make sure the project was completed as promised. They…
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My plumber recommended FRS to me as the best business to do my foundation repairs and waterproofing. Nathan was my consultant and inspector. I worked previously in HVAC drafting and everything Nathan told me was right in line with everything I had…
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Cameron Houts, Joseph Woodiel, and Chris Rhroshel did an AMAZING job waterproofing our basement. They were friendly, punctual and did the job even quicker than what they had planned. They explained everything before they even started and kept me…
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I would like to preface this post as a review for the crew ONLY. I purchased a house that was supposed to have had structural work and waterproofing prior to purchase. The work was done, but not properly. It was winter and I couldn’t tell it…
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Jay King, Tyler Sprague, Deric P., Jesse P. This crew came in and waterproofed my cellar that had been flooding. The house was built in 1955 and the previous owner had did some DIY ingenuity I wasn’t aware of until Matt Kobel and Jay King showed me.…
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Corey Badder was great to work with. Easy to talk to, and up front. He is dependable and I am happy to be a client.
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Our older home was in desperate need of foundation repair and stabilization. Foundation Recovery Systems also offered cleaning and encapsulation of our crawlspace which we also needed. Brett, Dylan and Nick did a fantastic job. They were…
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The crew from Foundation Recovery were very professional and always on time. A BIG thanks to Henry, Sergio and Cously. I would recomend this crew for your foundation work!!
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Brandon C. and his team of Isiah and Dylan did a great job on my foundation piering work. Brandon was very professional and informative, and they were very efficient. I am very pleased with the results. Shawn who gave the estimate was also very…
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Crawl Space Repair and Encapsulation Solutions
Your crawl space is a delicate, often dangerous area, and repairing and encapsulating it can be an overwhelming undertaking. But our professionals take all the guesswork out of the process. Browse through our variety of customizable solutions below.
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While other waterproofing systems work to keep water out, a dehumidifier is a great way to avoid humidity in the air and keep your crawl space a clean, dry environment.
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There are several options when it comes to reinforcing a sagging crawl space. Foundation Recovery Systems recommends the use of the IntelliJack™ crawl space support posts, which are designed specifically for this purpose.
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A crawl space vapor barrier is essential in creating a cleaner, brighter, and healthier crawl space. How can you make sure your crawl space is the best around?
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A crawl space sump pump is an important part of crawl space waterproofing. What do you need to know about the installation process?
Is Crawl Space Repair and Encapsulation the Right Solution for Me?
While homes in Kansas City and Moberly have mostly basements, many houses in Springfield and even St. Louis have crawl spaces. The latter areas also experience significant rain and humidity throughout the year, which can do quite a number on crawl spaces. This is especially true if the crawl spaces are vented and have dirt floors. These common, though outdated building practices only do more harm than good, as they invite pests, humid air, and water into a home’s crawl space.
The dark, moist, isolated area beneath your home is ideal for pests but hazardous for occupants above. This is also a perfect environment for mold and mildew growth, and wood rot. Mold, particularly black mold, can be extremely dangerous for anyone to breathe in, especially those with existing allergies or lung conditions. Wood rot attacks the floor joists within your crawl space and can lead to sagging, uneven floors, and other structural damage.
To better protect your home and your loved ones, it’s important to invest in proper repairs including crawl space encapsulation solutions. Sealing your crawl space vents, having a thick and durable vapor barrier installed, and investing in other moisture control and waterproofing systems will help restore your home’s health, safety, and structural integrity.
Sometimes, people may refer to a crawl space as a “cubby hole” closet, or even the attic above the rest of the home. But typical crawl spaces are underneath the home.
Not all homes have a crawl space, but it is a common practice to build houses with this hollow area, usually one to three feet high, underneath. The crawl space elevates the home off the ground, and it is a convenient place for HVAC units, ductwork, plumbing, and electrical wiring. (Source: Realtor.com) These areas also typically have dirt floors, because it is cheaper than pouring concrete.
Crawl spaces generally are “out of sight, out of mind” for homeowners, but they should not be. It is crucial to be aware of what is underneath your living space. Would you feel comfortable knowing there could be nasty conditions like mold growth, standing water, failing support beams, insects, and rodents under your feet?
Health — You and your loved ones deserve to live in a safe and healthy home. Houses with excessive moisture and mold growth are far from healthy. These conditions can lead to and worsen health issues such as allergies and asthma. Through crawl space encapsulation and dehumidification, your home will be isolated from the earth and the air quality will be greatly improved.
Structural Integrity — Wet, damp crawl spaces with water and high humidity can have rotting and weakening wooden support systems. Wooden supports and floor joists that are compromised lead to sagging and uneven floors.
Function and Energy Efficiency — A properly encapsulated, insulated and waterproofed crawl space is bright and clean, and is a more ideal area for storage. Your belongings will be safe and dry because of our reliable solutions. The above floors also will feel warmer in the winter, and your energy costs could be reduced by up to 20 percent. (Source: Energy Vanguard)
Real Estate Value — Various factors impact your home’s appraisal value, but structural integrity, water issues, and other problems are important areas you need to be aware of. When selling your house, it is important to disclose any past or current damage. You are not required by the state of Missouri to reveal damaging defects about your property beyond certain criminal histories. However, it sets clear expectations regarding the quality and condition of the home. (Source: Nolo)
If you live in St. Louis, Kansas City, or the surrounding areas, contact us! We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you with one of our highly trained foundation repair inspectors. Inspections are free and no obligation to you, and our specialist will complete a thorough evaluation of your home. We also are proud to work with realtors, commercial property owners, and other various affiliates.
If you are concerned with foundation repair needs and insurance coverage, be sure to check with your insurance carrier, as all policies are different.
Here are some helpful tips for selecting a reputable contractor, courtesy of Today’s Homeowner. We are proud to meet and exceed expectations on these points:
- No Contract Labor: Make sure the people performing the repairs work for the company.
- Financial Commitment: Does the contractor own or rent his equipment?
- Supervisors on Site: Is the company large enough to provide full time supervision, or will the crew be dropped off at your home to do the work?
- References: Make sure references are not hand-picked.
- Warranties: Warranties are only as good as the company that offers them. A reputable company who has been in business for at least 25 years should be your best bet.
- Insurance: Ask for current insurance certificates.
- A thorough evaluation of the home’s interior and exterior. This includes looking for sources of water such as cracks or even plumbing sources.
- Discussing your goals with a repair project.
- A same-day proposal of recommended repair solutions.
- Customized solutions uniquely designed to meet your foundation repair needs.
- Discussing payment and financing options.
Vapor barrier — CrawlSeal™ is used to completely isolate the crawl space environment from the earth. The durable 20-mil-thick liner, similar to swimming pool liner, is puncture-resistant, prevents mold growth, and brightens up the crawl space.
Insulation — ExTremeBloc™ panels placed on crawl space walls will better insulate the crawl space and will not droop or develop mold like fiberglass insulation. These panels are moisture resistant, and an integrated termiticide is added to deter termites below grade. CrawlSeal™ also helps insulate the crawl space, and spray foam can be added to rim joists to seal gaps around the perimeter of your foundation. These insulation methods help prevent wood rot and enable termite treatments.
Perimater drainage system — CrawlDrain™ is placed in the crawl space floor to collect seeping water. Its custom design includes holes on the top and front to accept water from the soil and surface of your crawl space. A special wall flange collects water from the crawl space walls and the footing/wall joint.
Sump pumps — Water collected by CrawlDrain™ is directed to drain to a sump pump system to be pumped out of the crawl space. We have a variety of sump pump systems to meet your needs - SafeDri ™ Pro Crawl Space Sump Pump System, SafeDri ™ Pro X Premier Sump Pump System, SafeDri ™ Battery Backup System, and SafeDri™ TripleSump™ Pump System.
Drainage matting — Thick and durable drainage matting can be placed on the crawl space floor to help direct water to the CrawlDrain ™ system. This material also enhances the strength of the CrawlSeal™ encapsulation material.
Frozen discharge line prevention — The FreezeGuard™ can be attached to the exterior sump pump drainage line to prevent flooding if the line freezes or becomes blocked.
Dehumidifiers — Our powerful, yet energy-efficient dehumidifiers will clean and filter the air, control moisture and humidity, and reduce odors and the potential for mold growth.
Floor stabilization — Floor joists and floor supports can rot and decay, weaken and fail in wet and humid crawl spaces. But IntelliJacks™ are made of galvanized steel, so they are more reliable crawl space supports that can stabilize and lift floors and floor joists back to level.
Access wells — Typical exterior crawl space access wells are concrete, wood, or metal and can easily rust and rot. But our durable plastic crawl space access wells are safe and sturdy.
Vent covers — Along with encapsulating your crawl space, you need to seal it from outside air, water and pests. Our durable vent covers install quickly, attaching mechanically to form an airtight bond.
Our patented, top-quality solutions are tested and proven to keep water and pests out of your crawl space for a safer and healthier home.
Cheaper quick fixes like generic plastic floor liners and wooden access doors are only temporary bandages that will not address the problem.
So, don’t waste your time and money on fast fixes. You need our quality permanent solutions. We use reliable, custom equipment and state-of-the-art technology to install these various systems.
While we can’t control the weather, we can control what’s inside your house. That’s why it’s best to completely seal your home – and what’s underneath it – from outside air, water and pests. An encapsulation project including CrawlSeal ™ and vent covers will isolate your home from the earth to ensure its health and safety.
Not only does CrawlSeal™ help isolate your home from the earth, this thick and water-resistant material also acts as a moisture and vapor barrier.
When warm air comes in contact with a cool surface, condensation forms. When this happens inside the crawl space, the moisture can lead to mold growth, cause wood beams to rot, and attract pests. But a vapor barrier slows or prevents ground water seepage from evaporating into the crawl space air.
CrawlSeal ™ is a true 20-mil liner rated above 25-mil strength at the seams, and it is over three times the thickness of builder’s grade liner. Its conforming shape can be sealed around existing infrastructure and hardware to create a uniform, unbroken barrier. The radiant liner lays flat; has a clean, white finish; and is strong enough to walk on or crawl on without ripping or tearing.
Our dehumidifiers also will help keep your home healthy and improve the air quality by cleaning and filtering the air, controlling moisture and humidity, and reducing odors and the potential for mold growth.
For leaking crawl spaces, the best waterproofing system involves interior drainage. Our waterproofing system has three parts. To fix the leaking or standing water problem, we need to catch the water, get the water to a sump pump, and send the water away from the home. The CrawlDrain™ and SafeDri™ Pro Crawl Space Sump Pump System work perfectly together and with the rest of our crawl space repair solutions to keep water out of this area of your home.
Failing support systems in crawl spaces can be replaced or shored up with steel support beams that are further reinforced by IntelliJacks ™. These sturdy support jacks permanently stabilize and can lift sagging floors back to level.
All these solutions also are designed to work together to give you the most bang for your buck and prevent any further issues.
Every home is unique, and each project calls for different solutions. We can customize solutions specific to your repair needs. Your inspector will take into consideration your repair goals, the severity of damage or problem areas, square footage, and your budget. It’s not just a “one size fits all” fix. So, what works for your neighbor down the street may not necessarily be what your home needs.
Contacting us for an expert opinion is your best bet. We will not try to throw Band-Aids on the problems, push you to buy “everything but the kitchen sink,” or offer sub-standard quick fixes.
Here are some telltale signs of crawl space problems that are not mended by a do it yourself fix. You should instead seek reliable advice if you notice:
- Any kind of water seepage on crawl space walls and/or floor
- Excessive dampness or humidity
- Sagging, uneven, or bouncy floors
- Wood rot
- Cold floors during the winter
Along with top-notch solutions installed by a reliable team when you choose to work with us, what you are really paying for is peace of mind and a safer home.
Not only will this benefit you during the time you live in the house, but it will have a lasting impact for the future resale of the house. You are investing in the health and wellness of the structure.
When having your home inspected for real estate transactions, even partial fixes or temporary bandages could raise a red flag along with water or structural damage. You’ll have to spend more time and money trying to address the issues, so why not make an educated decision and sound investment with us and our trustworthy repair solutions?
Why is Crawl Space Repair and Encapsulation Needed?
Your home can benefit from quality crawl space repair and encapsulation in so many ways. Here are just a few things these solutions do for your home:
Corrects Outdated Building Practices
It has been common for many years to build crawl spaces with vents that were intended to allow more airflow to minimize moisture and humidity buildup. But foundation experts have found this practice to be unhealthy for homes, as it only allows moisture and humidity to flourish and lead to a host of crawl space problems. It also has traditionally been cheaper to leave crawl spaces with dirt floors as opposed to pouring concrete. But with solutions including a vapor barrier and airtight vent covers, your crawl space becomes a protective bubble under your home that is sealed from outside nuisances.
Creates an Inhospitable Environment for Pests
Many pests love dark, moist areas with organic material to feed on where no one will bother them like a crawl space. They can quickly breed, make nests of your vapor barrier or insulation, and leave droppings everywhere. This is unpleasant and unhealthy for your home above in many ways. The best way to help deter bugs and other pests from your home is to create an unattractive environment for them. Airtight vent covers, a 20-mil vapor barrier, and insulation panels make it more difficult for pests to get inside and thrive. Plus, our rigid insulation panels have been treated with a termiticide.
Reduces Negative Impacts of the Stack Effect
More than half of the air you breathe inside your house comes from the crawl space. This is because of the stack effect – the natural flow of air from bottom to top (or from the crawl space and up through your home to the attic). This is fueled by any open vents or cracks in your crawl space walls that let in outside air. Anything in your crawl space like mold spores, dust, pest droppings, and unpleasant odors travels with this air upwards to your living space to create unhealthy air quality and other conditions. But by properly sealing your crawl space with airtight vent covers and a thick vapor barrier, and dehumidifying the air, the space is conditioned and the air quality is greatly improved.
Common Crawl Space Repair and Encapsulation Tips & Mistakes
Crawl space problems can be difficult to read and address but having knowledge and experience on your side goes a long way. Here are just a few tips to consider and mistakes to avoid when it comes to crawl space repair and encapsulation, all of which we have heard or experienced in our 30 years in the industry.
Tips to Consider:
- Clean and Maintain Gutters and Downspouts: Your exterior water management systems like gutters and downspouts are often your first line of defense against water damage and crawl space problems. To keep excess water away from your home and crawl space, it is a good idea to inspect and clean your gutters at least twice a year – in the spring and fall. Also, make sure your downspouts and extensions are free of clogs and angled away from your home to prevent water from pooling and leaking inside.
- Maintain Positive Yard and Landscape Grading: In the same vein, it’s important to have a yard and surrounding landscape with a positive grade, meaning the earth slopes down and away from your home. This allows water to properly drain far away from the crawl space. Otherwise, a property with a negative grade encourages water to collect near and even drain into the crawl space. Landscapers can help with any regrading and ensuring a proper slope.
- Do Not Go into Your Crawl Space: Most crawl spaces are small and contain essential systems like plumbing, ducts, and HVAC equipment. They can be dangerous to enter, especially if they are infested with mold and pests. But these areas will signal problems in various forms like sagging floors, unpleasant odors, and wall cracks visible on above floors. If you notice these and other crawl space problems, contact our crawl space professionals at Foundation Recovery Systems right away to schedule a free inspection free inspection and estimate.
Mistakes to Avoid:
- Installing a Conventional Dehumidifier: Typical dehumidifiers available at big box stores are ideal for bedrooms and other small areas, but they are not designed to stand up to the humidity of a crawl space. It would constantly run, driving up your electric bill, and its reservoir full of water would always need to be emptied. We have the perfect solution at Foundation Recovery Systems, a powerful, yet energy-efficient, self-draining dehumidifier.
- Not Investing in Backup Waterproofing Measures: Part of crawl space repair and encapsulation includes installing waterproofing measures such as an interior drainage system and a sump pump. If your area experiences a lot of storms and power outages, you could be left in the dark and under water. Most sump pumps operate off electricity, and a power outage can lead to crawl space flooding and additional damage. That’s why having a battery backup sump pump is essential in protecting your crawl space and home.
- Installing the Bare Minimum: Crawl space repair and encapsulation is not as exciting as other home upgrades, but that doesn’t mean it’s best to get by with minimum repair requirements. Some companies or DIY enthusiasts might do this by only installing a 6-mil vapor barrier liner. Vapor barriers come in a variety of thickness, but a 6-mil plastic sheet tears easily, can harbor moisture and mold, and may not fully cover the crawl space walls and floor. A full encapsulation with our 20-mil vapor barrier is the best way to go.
Find your service area
Kansas City, MO
Spring floods and wet weather can disturb the peace in Kansas City—and your foundation sees the worst of it. Our team of experts can safeguard your home for good.
Moberly’s clay soil and fickle weather are a perfect recipe for hydrostatic pressure, which causes bowing or cracking in many homes. Experts can help you fix it forever.
Gravelly soil in Springfield is prone to erosion and creates an unstable base for your foundation. Give your home the extra support it needs to stand strong.
St. Louis, MO
Clay soil rules the river city of St. Louis. Though optimal for plant growth, clay is harmful for your foundation. Protect your home with our time-tested solutions.
Des Moines, IA
Moisture in your Des Moines basement or crawl space is certainly a pain, and more common than you think. Luckily, personalized waterproofing solutions are within reach.