My website has been focused on basements until I received a comment from a person who likes the information on my site but does not have a basement. Some of the same principles apply whether you have a basement or just a crawl space. I once rented a house with no basement, it just had a crawl space with a dirt floor and one tiny window in the side that I could barely fit in. That house always had a musty smell especially when we ran the furnace or A/C because the ducts are under the house in the crawl space and they pick up some of that musty smell. I will give you some ideas on how to get rid of that musty smell in your crawl space.
House Foundation Issues
Water poses many threats to your foundation. You want to make sure your gutters are clean so they won’t overflow and send all that water down the side of your house and to your foundation. You also want to make sure you have downspouts that are long enough to send the water away from the house. Check the dirt around the foundation and make sure that it is sloping away from your house and not sloping towards it. You want the dirt sloping away so water that hits the side of your house drains away and doesn’t go down to the foundation and footings. It is also a good idea to have an impervious layer of fabric covered with rock or mulch around your house so the water doesn’t stand a chance of running towards your foundation. If an excessive amount of water does get to your foundation it could penetrate it and get into your crawl space. Water that finds its way into small cracks can freeze in cold climates and expand in the cracks and make them bigger over time letting even more water in and possibly bugs, mice, snakes and other creatures. If your foundation has a lot of cracks or really big cracks or possibly cracks in drywall on the interior it could mean you have structural damage from the foundation settling and you should contact a professional.
House Foundation Repairs
Thin hairline cracks can usually be repaired with a vinyl concrete patching compound. Make sure to read the instructions, some products require a bonding agent or primer prior to applying the patching compound. Use a putty knife or trowel to apply a vinyl patching compound in multiple layers as directed by the manufacturer. Mix only the amount of patching you’ll need for each layer. Press it firmly to force the first layer into the crack and allow drying time between layers. Cracks wider than a hairline can be filled with Polyurethane, silicone, or latex concrete caulk. Use a caulking gun to force the caulk into the crack along its entire length. This type of caulk is effective because it fills the entire crack space and allows for the expansion and contraction of the foundation during changes in weather.
Crawl Space Encapsulation
Crawl space encapsulation means a crawl space that is protected from moisture by using a vapor barrier on the walls and floors. There are numerous advantages to encapsulation. The primary function of the process is to reduce moisture and the risk of mold. After creating an airtight barrier, insects and animals are also prevented from entering the space. Gasses released by soil as well as dust and allergens are also effectively blocked, leading to improved air quality. Crawl space encapsulation is not recommended for a “Do It Yourself” project. This is a pretty big job and if not done correctly you could end up with bigger problems in the future. On average this job costs around $5,500 but has a lot of variables depending on size and if there is already significant water damage. Here is a break down of average cost of items to give you a better idea. Foundation wall insulation is $.50-$2 per board foot for spray foam insulation. Vapor barrier 50-75 cents a square foot, prices vary depending on the thickness of the plastic. This ranges from 6 to 23 millimeters. Sump pump $1,000 if your homes crawl space is below ground level or you live in an area with a high water table. Homeowners in areas with high humidity may need more than just a vapor barrier to prevent moisture build-up. A dehumidifier costs between $780-$1000 not including installation. Unlike household units, professional grade dehumidifiers are large and built for higher moisture levels. Before encapsulation, the crawl space must be repaired of any existing moisture damage and cleaned thoroughly. Repairs cost most homeowners between $1,500-$15,000 depending on the severity and type of fix needed. Settling, sinking or mold remediation issues are among the most serious and expensive to fix.
Don’t Freak Out
The average cost depends on the size of your crawl space but most are worse case scenarios, such as needing a sump pump and if you have severe damage from mold or water that caused settling and dirt needs to be brought in. Most likely you will need a dehumidifier but as mentioned above the average homeowner would spend around $5,500. This whole process will give you piece of mind. You won’t have that musty smelling home anymore and humidity, allergens, dust and pests will no longer be infiltrating your house through your crawl space. This may seem like an expensive project but in the end the health of your family and knowing your home is safe if more important than money. I hope this article helped you gain some knowledge about your crawl space and Thank You for visiting my website.
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