We don’t tolerate water leaks in our attics, so why do we tolerate wet conditions underneath our floors? (Granted, heavy, wet sheetrock falling from the ceiling is a far more imminent hazard than damp wood floors and carpet padding - but you get the idea).
But here's the thing...
We all know that hot air rises, right? So as air rises in your home, it brings with it the air that was in your crawl space. We call this, the stack effect.
I want you to imagine all the unhealthy organisms thriving in that damp environment, beneath your feet. Mold spores and moisture - and they're really unhealthy for you and your family to be breathing & inhaling.
In other words, the air in the crawlspace under your home - with the musty smell, mold spores, and moisture - will, at some point, be the air that you and your family will breath in your living areas.
This is the air that literally makes people chronically sick, and it can also ruin your home.
Moisture in your crawl space makes a lovely environment for mold, fungi, mildew, and insects - all of which destroy wood framing.
So, doing nothing is just not an option.
After 18+ years as Atlanta’s Crawlspace Insulation Company, crawling under all types of Atlanta’s homes, I’ve seen conditions that belong in third-world countries.
Yet, oftentimes when I show pictures and describe conditions underneath their floors, a homeowner will invest their money elsewhere, “We’re landscaping the backyard Bob, just put some [box-store] plastic down there”.
I know… you never see the picture of a healthy, sealed, insulated crawlspace as the feature photograph in a home-for-sale ad. (One like my picture in this report).
Maybe that should change (I did have a Ms. Homeowner who showed off her insulated crawlspace to her Christmas guests!)
If you think your vented crawlspace is damp, dark, and spooky, then you need to add “unhealthy” to your list of adjectives.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Here’s what you do.
First, redirect surface water from the yard and downspouts, so that it is not prone to run underneath your house.
Then, in the crawlspace ...
- Clean out the debris, and rake/level the dirt.
- If a french drain system and sump pump are needed, do it here.
- Seal the ground. Usually, a heavy-duty, reinforced poly (12 mil or thicker) is used for this.
- Seal and insulate the support pillars and foundation walls. We use a combination of closed cell spray foam, with 12 mil reinforced vapor barrier.
- - Make sure to leave a 3” termite inspection strip.
- - Seal the foundation vents.
- - Confirm that any uncapped concrete blocks are sealed.
- - Don’t forget the band joist!
- Address the scuttle door, for a dependable seal.
- Install a dehumidifier. Set it to limit relative humidity to 60%.
- - We use a wireless hygrometer to easily monitor conditions under the floors.
Local, recognized expert Alison Bailes, has a blog (Energy Vanguard) that also discusses your options.
If you'd rather not do this yourself, but you want to do something about that dark, damp, vented crawlspace, and protect your family from breathing that unhealthy air, give Savannah Bird a call (404-538-9168) and she'll schedule a Comfort Pro from Bird Family Insulation to suit up, crawl under your house, and provide you with a professional evaluation. Because we aren’t comfortable until you are!