Crawlspaces are a common occurrence in Alabama. If you have a crawlspace in your home, keep in mind that it is more than just a place to store your holiday decorations. The crawlspace is the portion of the foundation that supports the entire structure. That is why it is important to keep the crawlspace in good health. If excess moisture is allowed to collect in the crawlspace, it can cause mold growth and may also lead to wood rot or rust formation, weakening the supporting structures in your crawlspace. That is why it is important to protect your crawlspace with crawlspace encapsulation with a vapor barrier (a kind of plastic or foil sheeting designed to keep moisture out).
The main question is, is crawlspace encapsulation really worth the cost? Both having your crawlspace encapsulated with a vapor barrier and sealing off crawlspace vents will work in different ways to keep moisture out. While it may be more expensive, crawlspace encapsulation is the more effective of the two options.
The most common method used to seal a crawlspace without the installation of a vapor barrier is simply to close the vents and have them sealed shut. One might also physically remove the vents and patch and seal the area where they were. Normally, this option is not very expensive. Other options to seal the crawlspace without vapor barriers include vapor retardant paint. This can be applied to the crawlspace interior rather affordably. However, vapor retardant paint is not nearly as effective as an actual vapor barrier. In addition, if the paint becomes damaged in any way, its ability to resist moisture seepage is compromised.
Closed crawlspaces offer a lot of advantages to open crawlspaces. They do not allow humid air to enter the crawlspace, they are more resistant to insect and pest infestations, and they save on heating and cooling costs for your home.
However, when it comes to whether or not merely sealing off your crawlspace is as good as installing a vapor barrier, the answer is no. While sealing your crawlspace reduces moisture entry, sealed crawlspaces still allow moisture to seep into them through the walls. This is because the walls and floor of crawlspaces are made of porous material. Water can seep through this porous concrete and end up inside your crawlspace. Vapor retardant paint reduces this occurrence, but will not eliminate it as well as a crawlspace vapor barrier. If you want to maximize the results of a closed crawlspace, you should invest in a dehumidifier as well, since this will help remove some of the moisture that seeps into the home. The effects will likely not be as effective as total crawlspace encapsulation, but they may be improved by a dehumidifier. We recommend Santa Fe Dehumidifiers.
There are a few drawbacks when considering whether or not to install a vapor barrier in your crawlspace. One drawback is the cost. Vapor barrier installation costs vary, depending on the condition of the crawlspace (preparatory work may need to be completed beforehand) and the size of your crawlspace. Prices may range anywhere from $2,000 to $14,000. Another disadvantage is that vapor barriers are not a do-it-yourself job. In order to ensure that your vapor barrier works correctly have it installed by a professional. The crawlspace encapsulation experts at Affordable Foundation and Home Repair will work with you to get the job done quickly and to your satisfaction, all while giving you the most affordable option possible.
Despite these downfalls, there are several advantages to installing a vapor barrier in your crawlspace. Some of these advantages include:
While there are some drawbacks to investing in crawlspace encapsulation, they are far outweighed by the benefits. If you have a damp or moldy crawlspace, call Affordable Foundation and Home Repair today. We can clean your crawlspace with mold soda blasting and install a vapor barrier to keep moisture out. Get in touch today for a free estimate.
Even though much of Alabama remains in a drought, it is important to prepare your home and foundation for the rainy days that often accompany springtime. It may seem contradictory to prepare for rain and moisture in the midst of a drought. However, several drought-related foundation problems could have made your foundation and home more susceptible to water leakage.
The continuing drought in areas of Alabama has caused several issues for homeowners, business owners, and farmers – increased forest fires, interruption of winter planting cycles, stressed plants, lack of water, etc. However, another problem that may have occurred due to the drought is foundation damage.
When the soil becomes extremely dry, it will shrink. This shrinkage causes the soil to settle and shift. If the soil under your foundation settles, the above home will settle as well. This can cause cracks to form in your walls or ceiling and gaps to appear between the walls and the floor. Soil shifting that results in voids forming under your foundation can cause the slab to settle unevenly or to shift to one side. This movement can also lead to exterior foundation cracks, interior cracks, or gaps and spaces opening in your home. If any of these problems occur in your home, you may see
The more cracks and gaps that form in your home, the more susceptible your home is to water entry. This is just one of the problems that can affect your home if sudden spring rains occur during a drought. Erosion can also become an issue if significant precipitation occurs, as sudden rains will wash away dry soil instead of soaking into the ground gradually. This water can leak into your home or put pressure on your foundation.
Here at Affordable Foundation and Home Repair, there are a number of things that we can do to reduce the chances of moisture damage in your home. A few solutions that we offer to repair drought-related foundation damage and protect your home from water entry:
If you see cracks or other signs of foundation damage that may have resulted from the recent drought conditions in your home, call us now. Our team will work to repair your foundation and ensure it is equipped to handle rain and water seepage.
Have you started to notice a musty odor in your home? Have your allergies become more severe – coughing, watery eyes, sore throat? If so, there could be a crawlspace mold problem in your home.
It is not uncommon for mold to grow in Alabama crawlspaces. Even though this mold may be i the crawlspace of your home, it can infect the air that you and your family breathes throughout the entire home. That is because air from the crawlspace circulates through the home – up to 40% of air on the first floor comes from the crawlspace. This is due to the fact that air flows from the ground up in homes, known as the “stack effect.”
Now that you know why mold in the crawlspace is a problem, it is time to determine whether or not you have a mold issue in your home. Aside from noticing mold-related symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, red eyes, and sore throats, you might also notice signs of mold in your crawlspace or basement itself:
These are all indications that your crawlspace has a moisture issue that is causing mold growth. If you notice these signs on your home, call Affordable Foundation and Home Repair for a solution right away.
How do we get rid of the mold in your home? First, we use a method called mold soda blasting to strip mold off of all surfaces in your crawlspace. By blasting baking soda at a high-pressure, we are able to remove mold and disinfect the area. The baking soda is both abrasive enough to remove the mold and gentle enough not to harm surfaces.
Once this step is complete, we can install a crawl space vapor barrier. These are made from plastic or foil sheeting designed to keep out water. The vapor barrier is installed along the entire interior of the crawlspace. They can also be paired with interior drainage and surface drainage methods to expel water that has made its way inside. Surface drainage techniques like installing proper downspouts and grading the yard around the foundation reduce the amount of water that can seep inside. Interior drainage with a sump pump system helps remove water during flooding and heavy rains to keep the area dry.
We can find the right solution to remove crawlspace mold from your Alabama home. Call Affordable Foundation and Home Repair to get rid of mold and mildew in your basement or crawlspace in the Birmingham and Huntsville, AL areas.