Have you ever looked under your house? Do you know where to look and what to look for? True, you can’t just pick up the house like you would a couch or chair to look underneath, and it may not be as simple as pulling back the porch lattice or skirting. But you need to know what’s under your main living area and in your crawl space. It could affect your health and safety and your family’s well-being.
Not every single house was built with a crawl space, but common construction practices include building the home on top of a 1-3′ hollow area – with only room enough to crawl through, hence the name crawl space – to elevate the structure off the ground. These areas typically have dirt floors because it is cheaper than pouring concrete. Crawl spaces usually are empty, but they can be convenient for concealing HVAC units, plumbing, ductwork, and electrical wiring. (Source: Realtor.com)
Crawl spaces typically are dark, dingy, smelly places with creepy-crawly creatures. So, why would anyone even want to go into a crawl space? For those reasons. If subjecting yourself to those nasty conditions gives you the creeps, you shouldn’t want to deal with them anywhere in your house. The crawl space environment has a direct impact on the rest of your home.
In this section, we’ll go over common questions we hear from homeowners like you, and how we can help you create a safer and healthier living environment.
Think of your house like a chimney. Air enters at the bottom, rises through the structure, and is expelled through the top. It all has to do with air pressure. Air flows from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure. When there is a greater difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the more significant this airflow becomes. (Source: Fine Homebuilding)
It might help to see this in action to get a better understanding of the stack effect. While you can’t see airflow, the Cold Climate Housing Research Center has several informational YouTube videos, including a great piece that is part of the “Your Northern Home” series that illustrates the stack effect.
You know how brutal northeast Ohio winters can be, and how the heat can take its toll in the summer. Open crawl space vents allow hot air to enter during the summer, causing your air conditioner to work overtime to cool the rest of the house. And the same happens with cold wintertime air that makes your furnace struggle to keep up in maintaining a comfortably warm living environment. Instead of throwing money down the drain with high energy bills, close those crawl space vents for better energy efficiency! Read our blog, “Encapsulated Crawl Spaces: Energy Efficiency from the Bottom Up in Ohio,” to learn more!
Whether water enters through vents, the ground, the walls or plumbing leaks, a wet crawl space means trouble. Water in a damp, dark area is attractive to bugs and pests. It also can saturate and weaken wooden structural supports, as well as lead to mold growth.
You shouldn’t feel like you live in a bounce house. If you notice sagging, soft, bouncy areas of your floors, you could have problems with the support system in the crawl space. Leaking water and other warning signs contributing to this problem are explored in our “Sagging Floors Over A Crawl Space” blog.
Coupled with water intrusion, humidity is one of the biggest problems your crawl space and home can have. When the humidity level is above 50%, running a dehumidifier is your best remediation step.
High relative humidity and moisture are common in crawl spaces. These conditions promote mold growth, especially on organic materials like wood and insulation. Any crawl space moisture also can enter other areas of the home through wall, ceiling and floor cracks, and contribute to mold growth there. (Source: EPA)
Now that you’ve seen how important it is to have a healthier crawl space, it’s time to act. There are countless DIY websites, resources and videos, and it may be tempting to run to your nearest home improvement store to gather supplies and repair items.
But this isn’t something you and a friend can tackle in a weekend. No matter how handy you are, crawl space repairs are best left to professional contractors. We’ve seen what can happen with quick fixes, and it’s not always pretty. Especially when it comes to real estate transactions, even quick fixes can raise red flags. You’ll then have to spend more time and money to repair the problems.
We encourage you to educate yourself to make the best decision and sound investment with trustworthy repair solutions from a reliable contractor.
We know it can be intimidating to have someone you don’t know in your home, even if it is to help with repairs. During your journey, it’s a good idea to do your research and meet with multiple contractors before deciding who to hire.
Here are 10 helpful tips for selecting a reputable contractor, courtesy of Popular Mechanics. We are proud to meet and exceed expectations on these tips:
We also encourage you to check out our reviews from actual customers who have worked with us to gain insight from their experiences. You can learn more about our company and our team on our About Us page.
The expert team at Ohio Basement Systems is excited to help you create a safer and healthier home!
Once you contact us to set up a free, no-obligation inspection and estimate, one of our certified field inspectors will visit you and your home. This consultation will include:
If you decide to move forward with a repair project, we’ll work with you to schedule that work with one of our highly trained installation crews. Our team will use the best products proven to keep your crawl space healthy and dry. We will work until you are 100% satisfied with the job. We also provide service and annual maintenance opportunities to ensure the solutions we installed are continuing to properly work in protecting your home.
In our commitment to best serve our customers, we only use top-quality, reliable solutions that are produced right here in the United States! All these products are tested and proven to effectively keep water and pests out of your crawl space so you can have a safer and healthier home. They also are designed to work together and give you the most bang for your buck.
Our waterproofing system has three parts. To address seeping water, we first need to catch the water, then get this water to a sump pump system, and then send this water away from the home.
Our specially designed CrawlDrain™ perimeter drainage system is placed in the dirt crawl space floor to intercept seeping water from the walls and floor. The drainage channels then direct this water into the SafeDri ™ Crawl Space Sump Pump System, which then pumps the water out of the crawl space and away from the home.
These systems work perfectly together and with the rest of our crawl space solutions to keep water out of this area underneath your home.
It is crucial to seal your crawl space from outside air, water and pests. The first step is having durable vent covers placed over the crawl space vents.
Then, a heavy-duty moisture and vapor barrier is installed. Our CrawlSeal™ is a true 20-mil liner rated above 25-mil strength at the seams. This liner, which is three times thicker than builder’s grade liner, is used to completely isolate the crawl space from the earth. CrawlSeal™ prevents moisture and vapor intrusion, is waterproof, and has been treated to resist mold.
Thick drainage matting also can be placed on the crawl space floor before the encapsulation process to help direct water to the perimeter CrawlDrain™ system, as well as enhance the strength of the CrawlSeal™ liner.
It’s all too common for fiberglass insulation to fail and become a breeding ground for mold and home for pests. Our rigid ExTremeBloc™ insulation panels are more durable and environmentally friendly. 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.
Keeping mold and moisture at bay is important in crawl space health. Our low-profile dehumidifier that fits perfectly into tight spaces is powerful, but also energy efficient. This unit improves air quality by cleaning and filtering the air, controlling moisture and humidity, and reducing odors and potential mold growth. The dehumidifier is self-draining, which means there are no buckets or reservoirs that you must empty. It can be directed to drain into the perimeter drainage or sump pump systems, or the unit can be installed with a condensate pump.
If you have failing floor joists or supports in the crawl space, we have a more stable solution that can shore up even the most problematic floors. Our IntelliJacks™ are made of galvanized steel, so they are more reliable supports that can stabilize and lift sagging floors and floor joists back to level.
The cost of repair is one of the most asked questions regarding our crawl space services. And we know how frustrating it can be to not get an exact number or even ballpark figure.
The reason we cannot give you a straight answer right off the bat is that there’s a lot to consider. It’s crucial for one of our inspectors to physically visit your house and look at exactly what is in the crawl space.
Things like the extent of any damage, square footage and material usage also go into the mix. And our inspector will customize the solutions to your specific needs. Our repairs are not “one size fits all,” so what may have worked for a friend or neighbor might not be what your home needs. Every home is different and requires its own unique repairs.
The inspector you meet with also will take your repair goals and budget into consideration. He isn’t a typical salesman just out to add to his numbers, and he will not force any unnecessary products on you. He also can go over any payment concerns and financing options.
Can you put a price on your family’s health, safety and happiness? When you choose to work with us, what you are really investing in is peace of mind.
If you have any questions along the way or simply want to know how to get started, please give us a call! We look forward to helping you protect your home and your family!