Whether due to practicality or cost, a crawl space is often installed in place of a full-sized basement. It's generally used to give contractors and repair companies access to the HVAC system, plumbing pipes, or electrical wiring. Unfortunately, without certain precautions like French drains or vapor barriers, it's susceptible to moisture issues, especially in homes that are located in low-lying areas. To better understand why this is a problem and how to prevent it, here's what you need to know.
When water floods in or the humidity in the crawl space rises, these are some of the more common problems that will likely occur:
- Mold: Perhaps the most common problem is mold, which can develop wherever there's too much humidity and not enough ventilation. These two qualities are common in crawl spaces, creating the perfect environment for mold growth. Not only is mold unsightly, but it can also pose a health hazard, especially to people with respiratory issues.
- Pests: The presence of too much water will attract any pests looking for a shelter that is warm and damp. This can include spiders, rats, snakes, and termites. The latter in particular feeds off of wood with a high moisture content and some decaying matter, so the more water damage, the more they'll likely enter the crawl space.
As mentioned above, there are many ways you can mitigate the amount of moisture in the crawl space. Proper drainage is the primary method. The overall slope of your foundation and landscaping should always be designed to move rainfall away from the house, but if your property is still lacking proper drainage, a French drain system throughout the property can help. French drains basically consist of a trench with a perforated pipe or gravel that will collect the rainwater and move it away from the house. There is a variation of the French drain system known as a curtain drain, which has a perforated pipe surrounded by gravel to fully draw away the water.
Aside from French drains, you can also protect the crawl space directly by installing a vapor barrier, which is a plastic or foil sheet that goes on the walls to block out any water that's trying to permeate the space.
However, if the crawl space has suffered excess moisture problems and subsequent mold issues, then it's important to invest in mold remediation as well. Remediation is a complex process in which professionals carefully document the extent of the mold contamination, clean the space, and finally dry the room to prevent the growth of more spores. The initial documentation must be done accurately to ensure the area is thoroughly cleaned.
If you need to protect the crawl space or any other room from water damage, contact Piedmont Home Contractors. Located in Greensboro, NC, this family-owned and -operated business has served the region for nearly 30 years. Not only can they install French drains and vapor barriers, but they also offer mold remediation. You can learn about their services on their website or by calling them directly at (336) 545-8812.