Common Crawl Space Problem Signs
If your crawl space begins to rot, grow mold, or experience structural problems, this will extend to every part of your home. At AFS Foundation & Waterproofing, we specialize in crawl space problems of all types.
High humidity in your crawl space is a warning of hidden damage and issues, and, as such, should not be ignored. Here’s how you can spot this issue.
Water in your crawl space causes condensation, mold and wood rot. It’s a serious problem for your structural integrity and for your family’s health.
To protect your crawl space from water damage, read on to learn how to spot the problem signs, like dampness, rising humidity, mold growth, and other subtle indicators.
Rotted floor joists are not just a problem sign of serious issues within your property—they can also be direct contributors to further damage. Acting quickly is crucial.
Recently had 9 helical piers installed on a sagging corner of our house. Ian K from AFS Huntsville came out initially and inspected. He spent the necessary time to diagnose the issue (even found an additional crack in the brick facade that I hadn’t…
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I definitely would recommend AFS. Keith did an amazing job.
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Ryan Haley visited our property to advise us on how AFS could help us remedy some settling in our concrete staircase. He was professional, knowledgeable and super helpful. Great customer experience.
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Afs sent it a crew to install sump pump and put downspouts in underground. Clay Graham , Taylor Fox, Clayton Cox came out and worked professionally and did a fantastic job !
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AFS sent manager Aaron and his helper Caleb to level our uneven concrete in 2 different places. I was being told it will only take an hour…they took 4.5 hours and make sure it’s done right and the best quality. The boys really took pride and get…
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Josh Walp made the inspection process and results completely understandable. His extremely easy to talk with while still being fully professional!
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Jon Baugh and Michael Jeffery did a great job with the inspection! They were very personable and knowledgeable
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Joe, Elias, Joe Burnett and Jeremiah did a great job. On time and very fast. Very pleased with the job.
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Ian was most a very helpful and a perfect person for me to understand this major event to us. Ian is extremely good asset to AFS
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AFS was very fast to send out an employee for an estimate and even faster to get a team here to make the needed repairs. Levi R, Randle S and Ivan called prior to arrival and were a little early. They added the additional supports, beams and lifted…
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Matt Carter is a very professional young man and really seems to enjoy what he does for people that he meets. He is a no pressure AFS representative which made this experience pleasurable. He is a good man.
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JON BAUGH ND MICHAEL JEFFERIES WERE GREAT!
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Dustin Loeb was very professional, and very detailed with answering all inquiries!
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Tim Byrd addressed our issue promptly and thoroughly. Highly recommend!
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The AFS team is excellent. We have a pretty large amount of work that needs to be done at our house, to include sump, dehumidifier installation, ,general contractor wood work, and encapsulation. Dustin Loeb did a great job estimating the work, and…
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Dustin Loeb came out and did our estimate and WOW! Great Service and scheduled not too far out! Excited about the work they will be doing! Edit 5/20/2022 Richard Warner and Nick Lee have been here this week and although our project has had…
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Technician; Parker Wilson was thorough and gave good suggestions on addressing the issue of standing water in driveway. .
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My representative Steven Turner, was responsive, knowledgeable and went above and beyond the Call of Duty in order to assist me.
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Jon Baugh came out to my home today to inspect our crawl space. As a first time home owner I was a little nervous about some mold that our pest control company had told us about. Jon was extremely thorough, explained everything, and was patient with…
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Joseph hindman was very professional,very informative and on time he explained things for my wife and me to the letter,it looks like we’ll probably be using y’all,thanks.
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Crawl Space Encapsulation Solutions
If you’re having a problem with your crawl space, you’ve come to the right place. Whatever your issue, we have the products and experience that you need to find the best solution.
Waterproofing professionals can help you to protect your home from dampness and damage by fully encapsulating your crawl space.
High humidity levels in your crawl space can lead to rot, mold growth, and other problems. With a dehumidifier, you can keep these levels under control and avoid expensive repairs.
Backup sump systems & battery backup pumps for a dry basement
Mold and pest infestation, water damage and comfort issues are a thing of the past with the right crawl space insulation.
Is Crawl Space Encapsulation the right solution for me?
Does your crawl space have vents? If you currently have a vented crawl space, you’re going to need to install a crawl space vent cover on each of those vents. In the past, many people believed that “airing a crawl space out” was the best way to avoid crawl space moisture. However, nowadays, experts believe this venting process actually allows more moisture to collect in the crawl space because of the math that goes along with relative humidity.
If your crawl space is damp, musty, and humid, crawl space encapsulation will transform this area underneath your home from dirty and wet to a clean, dry, usable space.
Not only does mold growth, mildew, and excessive moisture ruin your home’s indoor air quality, but it also causes structural damage to your home’s foundation. Cleaning up any water is a good first step, but encapsulating your crawl space using a high-quality vapor barrier improves energy efficiency and creates an all-around healthy living environment.
AFS Foundation & Waterproofing Specialists have been developing cutting-edge crawl space encapsulation products for more than 20 years. Our durable 120-mil thick vapor barrier, combined with AquaStop™ Thermal Insulation board, state-of-the-art sump pump systems, and high-capacity dehumidifiers ensure your crawl space will not only be dry and usable for storage but also greatly improves the indoor air quality throughout the entire home.
Why is Crawl Space Encapsulation Needed?
These days there are a number of homes that already have some level of waterproofing and encapsulation. Still, some older properties have exposed, vented crawl spaces. Below are the most common reasons for waterproofing and encapsulation:
If you already have a waterproofing and encapsulation system in your home, one of the main reasons that you may need to revisit it is because of water damage. Sump pump breakdown, a loose or cracked crawl space door, internal plumbing leaks, and foundation damage can all cause a previously dry, safe, secure crawl space to become damp, humid, and unhealthy. In these cases, the underlying damage will need to be dealt with before you can replace or repair the waterproofing measures in your crawl space.
Some older properties may still have exposed crawl spaces. In these cases, you will need to encapsulate and waterproof your home for the first time to ensure that your home is protected, but first, it will be necessary to have a professional look for signs of damage. If you simply cover up the damage with vapor barriers and insulation, it will grow unseen and unchecked inside your home. This will cause a world of trouble further down the line.
Most waterproofing and encapsulation products have long lifespans, but there is a point at which they will start to become less and less effective. This process of deterioration is natural, but it will put your home in danger as it progresses. Having your home assessed and maintained regularly is important to ensuring that your home stays in good condition even when the weather is extreme.
The reasons for choosing to encapsulate your property (either for the first time or to upgrade your current waterproofing systems) can differ greatly depending on your situation. Therefore, we recommend that you talk to a professional about the process and its potential benefits as well as the costs.
Crawl Space Encapsulation Steps
Interior Drainage and Sump Pump
The first step in the encapsulation process may be installing an interior drainage system and a sump pump if you have standing groundwater or leakage. Although not all crawl spaces need a sump pump, it might be important if you’re dealing with a leak or if your home has a build that will result in water slowly gathering in the crawl space. With these situations, a sump pump can be a great way to avoid further problems that standing crawl space water can cause.
The drainage system and sump pump work best when paired together. The specially designed EZ Flow™ Crawl Space Drainage System is placed in the crawl space floor to collect leaking water. This water is then directed to drain into the sump pump system so that it can be properly removed from the crawl space. Additionally, drainage matting can be placed on the crawl space floor to help direct water from other parts of the crawl space to the perimeter EZ Flow™ system.
Vapor Barrier Liner
Next, you need to make sure the crawl space doesn’t have an open dirt floor. If your crawl space has any open dirt space underneath it, which may be the case for some or all of your crawl space, it’s important to have an AFS Foundation & Waterproofing Specialists place a vapor barrier liner. By using only a 20-mil vapor barrier liner, which is the thickest liner available, you can be certain you’ll keep all water vapor outside your crawl space.
Remember that any dirt crawl space needs a vapor barrier. This is true whether it seems like the area has a lot of moisture in it or it seems like it is mostly dry. Even dirt that seems dry will connect much further down to dirt with a lot of moisture in it. Dirt retains moisture very far down, and any dirt crawl spaces will eventually release that moisture. It’s a good idea to put a vapor barrier liner over any dirt areas that might be in your crawl space.
Installing airtight vent covers can fix this additional moisture problem. A vent cover is very easy to install, overall; all you have to do is fasten the vent cover on the vent and you’ll be protected from extra moisture that may come in from the vent. Vent covers can also protect you against pests that might enter through a vent and water that might come in during rain or floods. Overall, covering your crawl space vents is absolutely a better choice than leaving them open.
Lastly, especially if you tend to have a very humid home, it’s important to install a crawl space dehumidifier. Even if you’ve completely sealed off the crawl space from humidity, it’s still possible for the home and the area around it to carry more moisture, as is often the case in areas with humid subtropical climates. In these situations, you may need to consider a crawl space dehumidifier.
Dehumidifiers shouldn’t be your first step. If you have a humid crawl space, you can’t necessarily stick a dehumidifier in the space and call it done. You really need to tackle the base problem of the crawl space, which is probably open vents or a dirt crawl space, before you can install a dehumidifier. However, a dehumidifier can be a genuinely useful part of encapsulating a crawl space, so you also shouldn’t rule out the possibility for a dehumidifier.
Common Crawl Space Tips & Mistakes
- Even an encapsulated, sealed crawl space can experience excess moisture levels in the air that can lead to mold growth. A high capacity, energy-efficient, self-draining crawl space dehumidifier improves air quality inside the crawl space as well as above in the home’s living areas.
- Encapsulating your crawl space can save you money in the long run. HVAC, like the furnace and air conditioning ductwork, are often located in the crawl space. In the summer when temperatures are hot, if the crawl space isn’t encapsulated, the ducts are also hot. This means your air conditioner has to work harder to cool your living space when air is moving through hot ducts. The same is true in the winter when warm air runs through cold ducts to reach the desired temperature. By stabilizing your crawl space temperature with encapsulation and proper insulation, you will not only reduce your energy usage but also decrease the rate of wear and tear on your HVAC system.
- Building codes used to recommend a vented crawl space; we now know crawl space vents do more harm than good. As humid untreated air enters the crawl space it gets trapped beneath the floors causing mold and mildew to grow. Mold spores and high humidity can travel up through the home causing increased allergies and asthma. It’s a good idea to seal crawl space vents from the outside air with durable, airtight vent covers, even if encapsulation isn’t in your immediate future.
- Not installing a backup crawl space sump pump in an area of your home that is infrequently visited can result in excess water flooding the space in the event of a power outage or device malfunction. A backup sump pump allows ultimate peace of mind.
- Homeowners may think waterproofing a crawl space is good enough. This, however, is a mistake. Although waterproofing and encapsulation go hand in hand, a waterproofing drainage system is just one aspect of the encapsulation process. Without sealing the walls and floor from moisture and water vapor, your home’s indoor air quality and mold and mildew growth problems are very likely to persist.
- Attempting to DIY your crawl space encapsulation project, although completely understandable, can actually cause more harm than good. Unfortunately, many of the high-quality products we use at AFS are not available at big box stores, and ensuring materials are installed properly is key. For example, if a plastic liner is installed on the floor, but not sealed, condensation will occur and mold will find yet another location to grow. Additionally, if the crawl space isn’t sealed properly, any work that is done can be destroyed by pests like ants, termites, or rodents who can easily get inside.
- Believing all crawl space insulation is the same is a common mistake homeowners make. Spray foam, fiberglass insulation, and ridged closed-cell wall insulation are actually very different. Fiberglass insulation becomes useless when wet, spray foam traps moisture and mold under it, allowing the problem to fester, while ridged closed-cell wallboard offers reflective properties resulting in an outstanding R-value per inch.
Find your service area
As iconic as it may be, red soil is detrimental to the health of your foundation because of the clay content. Add high precipitation, and Huntsville homeowners have trouble.
Mobile, the rainiest city in the contiguous U.S., is bound to have some foundation flooding problems. AFS is here to help you identify and fix them!
Auburn, located in Alabama’s “Black Belt,” is known for its dark, clay soils. As earthy as they may be, these soils cause a lot of structural problems.
Crawl space encapsulation, drain, and structural supports are effective solutions against Chattanooga’s problematic clay soil, as well as its high rain and humidity levels.
Springtime means storms in Nashville, TN, and Tennessee is one of the wettest states in the U.S. That can make waterproofing solutions and foundation repair vital.
Birmingham is at the heart of Dixie Alley where storms are frequent. With such severe weather disrupting the soil, foundation issues run rampant.
Yearly, the U.S. averages 38 inches of rain, while Knoxville gets 50 inches. This makes it easy for expansive clay soils to destroy your property.