This single story house in Boaz Alabama is a single family home built in the early 1980s. The house was built over a conventional crawlspace. The crawlspace is a low void under the main living floor of the house where utilities like plumbing, air conditioning, electricity, and other services are usually routed. Traditionally, these crawlspaces are vented in an attempt to regulate the air and moisture under the house. Many times, these crawlspaces can become excessively moist due to the ambient humidity in the air during the summer season.
An excessively moist crawlspace comes with several problems that can affect the quality of the living space. Excessive moisture can promote fungi, rot, and compromised load bearing soils. In the case of this home, the moisture in the crawlspace promoted the growth of fungi.
An inspection of the crawlspace was necessary to fully diagnose the problem and identify the extent of the fungus growth. There are many kinds of fungi out there that can be present in a crawlspace. Typically, a fungus colony will appear white. During the inspection several joists were observed to have many clusters of white fungus growing. Typically, fungi needs the presence of two elements to grow: water and food. The wood that is used to frame a house is a large food source, and excessive moisture in a crawlspace is sufficient for a water source. Usually if the ambient humidity is over 50%, fungi can grow.
This homeowner elected to solve the crawlspace problem in phases. The first phase called for extensive cleaning of the floor framing system. AFS uses a process called “soda blasting” to remove fungi from the floor framing structure. Soda blasting is very similar to sand blasting, except soda powder is used instead of sand. Soda powder is a very convenient material to use because of its fineness and abrasive qualities that can remove any debris from wood, and it’s safer to use than sand under a house. By soda blasting the floor framing system and removing the existing fungi, the crawlspace became a healthier space. But most importantly, the air quality in the main living space of the house became free from the presence of any fungi that might have made its way from the crawlspace.