1. Vapor Barrier

The vapor barriers helps to reduce and stop excessive crawl space moisture problems.

It is any material used for damp proofing, typically a plastic or foil sheet, that resists diffusion of moisture through wall, ceiling and floor assemblies of buildings to prevent interstitial condensation and of packaging, many of these materials are only vapor retarders as they have varying degrees of permeability.

Materials have a moisture vapor transmission rate that is established by standard test methods. One common set of units is g/m²·day or g/100in²·day. Permeability can be reported in perms, a measure of the rate of transfer of water vapor through a material (1.0 US perm = 1.0 grain/square-foot·hour·inch of mercury ≈ 57 SI perm = 57 ng/s·m2·Pa). American building codes have classified vapor retarders as having a water vapor permeance of 1 perm or less when tested in accordance with the ASTM E96 desiccant, or dry cup method. Vapor retarding materials are generally categorized as:

  1. Impermeable (≤1 US perm, or ≤57 SI perm) (Materials such as asphalt-backed kraft paper, vapor-retarding paint, oil-based paints, vinyl wall coverings, extruded polystyrene, plywood, OSB).
  2. Semi-permeable (1-10 US perm, or 57-570 SI perm) (Materials such as unfaced expanded polystyrene, fiberfaced isocyanurate, heavy asphalt-impregnated building papers, some latex-based paints).
  3. Permeable (>10 US perm, or >570 SI perm) (Materials such as unpainted gypsum board and plaster, unfaced fiber glass insulation, cellulose insulation, unpainted stucco, cement sheathings, spunbonded polyolefin or some polymer-based exterior air barrier films).

2. Crawlspace Waterproofing

Crawlspace Waterproofing is a practice best performed properly during construction of the home.

It is the process of making an object or structure waterproof or water-resistant, so that it remains relatively unaffected by water or resisting the ingress of water under specified conditions. Such items may be used in wet environments or under water to specified depths.

Water resistant and waterproof often refer to penetration of water in its liquid state and possibly under pressure, whereas damp proof refers to resistance to humidity or dampness. Permeation of water vapor through a material or structure is reported as a moisture vapor transmission rate.

The hulls of boats and ships were once waterproofed by applying tar or pitch. Modern items may be waterproofed by applying water-repellent coatings or by sealing seams with gaskets or o-rings.

Waterproofing is used in reference to building structures (such as basements, decks, or wet areas), watercraft, canvas, clothing (raincoats or waders), electronic devices and paper packaging (such as cartons for liquids).

3. Conditioned Crawlspace

From 1950′s crawl space foundation vents were introduced to eliminate humidity in crawlspaces.

Over time contractors and inspectors realized the vents that were installed to remove humidity in fact helped to increase the humidity level in most crawlspaces. They allow hot humid air in the summer months to enter the cool environment of a crawlspace. The humid air would condense and create higher humidity levels under your home.

This would eventually lead to mold and fungus growth. Actually, building codes are changing to allow builders to construct conditioned crawlspaces without crawl space foundation vents. This is the practice of removing all components that cause moisture. ie: leaking pipes, broken dryer vents, ground water entering through the foundation, etc. A proper vapor barrier needs to be installed to prevent moisture from evaporating from the soil into the home.

After the clean space has been created the air in the crawlspace can be conditioned by one of several different ways depending on the crawlspaces individual situation. All components need to be in place or the desired results will not be achieved.

4. Humidity Control

The theories of the humidity control in crawlspaces of buildings have changed over the years.

It has been previously believed that the proper way to control humidity has been to utilize foundation vents to increase air flow within the crawlspace. The increase of air flow was designed to allow humidity to escape through the foundation vents to the outside of the building. These last, required installing foundation vents according to the size of the crawlspace.

Building codes have now changes throughout the country to allow for “conditioned crawlspaces”. The foundation vents that were originally designed to eliminate humidity actually help to increase the level of humidity in most crawlspaces. Instead of allowing humidity to escape, the foundation vents allowed hot, humid air in the summer to enter the cool crawlspace. The humid air then condensed on the cool water pipes and air conditioning pipes and dramatically increased the level of humidity in the crawlspace.

The increase of humidity created conditions suitable for mold and fungus growth. Conditioned crawlspaces eliminate excessive humidity in crawlspaces and help to eliminate the conditions that allow for mold and mildew growth. Our team developed humidity control system in crawlspaces.

5. Control Mold Growth

Moisture, food, spores and warmth is required to sustain mold growth. If you eliminate any of these items mold will not be allowed to grow.

The only practical item to control in crawlspaces is moisture. If you control all avenues of moisture you can help eliminate the potential for mold growth. A “Conditioned Crawlspace” is the preferred method to control humidity. Crawlspace Doctor has developed systems to control humidity with in crawlspaces.

6. Drainage Systems

When all efforts have been made to prevent water from entering the crawl space a drainage system may be necessary to prevent water from accumulating. To install a pump within the crawl space is usually not effective. All water entering the crawlspace needs to immediately be controlled before it can create excessive humidity. Our team has developed systems to install proper drainage systems to prevent excessive humidity.

7. Insulation

In a foundation with vents were installed i a crawl spaces. When the winter comes, the cold air had the potential of freezing water pipes and allowing the floors to remain cold, challenging the heating system to try to warm the home. Fiberglass insulation had to be added to the floor joists in an attempt to prevent the cold crawl space air from making the floors cold, the same foundation vents that allow the cold air to enter in the winter also allowed humid air to enter in the summer too.

The humidity would condense in the cool crawl space and collect on the fiberglass insulation, between the humidity and occasionally rodents, the fiberglass insulation often would fall to the ground. Styrofoam insulation is also often used to insulate the exterior crawl space walls. This is a perfect method, if foundation vents are installed the insulation value will be decreased by the foundation vent openings allowing cold air to bypass the insulation.

Creating a Conditioned Crawlspace utilizing insulation and eliminating foundation vents is the best method for energy efficiency and humidity control. Our team has developed systems for all crawl space insulation needs.

8. Floor Supports

Floor supports can be added to help remove unstable floors. Spacing of floor joists, length of floor joists or deterioration of wooden members can all lead to unstable floors. Our team can evaluate and determine all the best measures needed to improve stability of floors. We can also evaluate the condition of actual piers.

9. Crawlspace Doors

It is very important for the health of your home to remove all debris in the crawlspace. Cellulose debris can be a food source for insects and mold. Debris can be harborage for insects and rodents. The debris can also injure people as they enter the crawl space to perform routine maintenance.