The crawl space is a hollow area that lies under your ground floor. Its main purpose is to house some of the most important components of your home, namely your HVAC system, plumbing, and foundation. Its upkeep is essential to your home’s overall health, and yet most homeowners tend to neglect it.
It is especially important that your crawl space stays sealed against the outside. This protection starts with a solid crawl space door. You can install plenty of protective measures within the crawl space, but without a proper door to seal it away, these measures become fundamentally useless.
How much damage can a loose crawl space door truly cause your home? What problem signs can you watch out for to prevent this damage from growing worse?
Crawl Space Problem Signs
Because the crawl space is tucked away where you cannot see it, most people tend to forget it even exists. This gives way to lax upkeep and plenty of problems further down the line. What are some common crawl space problem signs you need to keep an eye out for?
- Loose Crawl Space Door
You can easily spot if the door to your crawl space does not shut properly, tilts at an odd angle, or is damaged in some way. All you need to do is walk outside and find it to see if this is the case with your home.
A loose or open crawl space door can cause a lot more problems than you might think. The crawl space door should prevent any moisture and deter pests from entering your crawl space. If this door fails to do so, this only invites all sorts of other issues into your home.
If your crawl space door is loose, open, or damaged, it will be much easier for moisture to seep in. Unfortunately, most homeowners will not be aware their crawl space is even experiencing any problems until they spread to the rest of the home. This is particularly true if you find other areas have a leaking or flooding problem.
Leaks should not be ignored, no matter how small they may be. They have the potential to expand or even burst through your walls, causing constant flooding problems that ruin your belongings. Unchecked leaks can also lead to the development of mold or mildew, which pose their own set of hazards to deal with.
A leak might spring in your home if your crawl space itself is already flooded. You might even detect a musty or dank smell, indicating the presence of standing water or even raw sewage lurking just beyond your walls. It is not a good idea to let any water or sewage stand for too long. The wooden beams that support your floor will likely start to rot or give way as a result.
Finding cracks sprouting along your wall or floor is another sign that something is wrong within your crawl space. This is because cracks can spread damage from the open crawl space all the way to other areas of your home.
Do not underestimate any crack you see. Even a hairline crack measuring less than 1/8 of an inch can create tiny leaks or other issues if left unchecked.
The longer you leave cracks alone, the more likely they are to grow or split apart further. Fractures that measure more than 3/8 of an inch are typically signs of severe foundational damage. This can become especially dangerous if the cracks span your walls and floor. These larger fractures can not only cause your home extensive property damage, but they can also cause the house itself to shift or sink into the soil.
- Uneven Floors
The wooden beams supporting your floor are located within the crawl space. Any strange dips along your floor are very likely the result of moisture or rot damaging these sturdy beams. An uneven floor should not be overlooked. It can be a nuisance at best and a dangerous tripping hazard at worst.
- Higher Energy Bills
Winter can be an especially unforgiving time for your energy bills. You might notice yourself constantly cranking up your heat even higher than you usually do to compensate for the strange chill around your home. This cold spell is likely due to a phenomenon known as the stack effect.
Freezing air from outside might infiltrate your crawl space through your loose crawl space door. Warm air is a lot lighter than cool air, which means that the warmth you would normally receive from your heater is being pushed up and out of your house by the cold winter air pouring in.
You might have insulation that would normally protect your house from such matters. Unfortunately, much of this insulation might become ruined by standing water or snow that finds its way into your crawl space. Without a dry layer of insulation to contain heat inside your home, winters can prove to be very difficult to tough out indeed.
As you turn up the heat to combat the freezing temperatures, your energy bills only rise along with it. You will save much more money in the long run if you contact a crawl space expert to fix these matters instead of ignoring them.
- Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew are both fungi that can negatively impact you and your family’s health. There are a few ways to tell the difference between these two fungi. The main difference between the two lies in their color and texture. Mold is typically green or black in color and can be either fuzzy or slimy to the touch. Mildew, on the other hand, is mostly a chalky white or gray in color and has a fluffy or powdery texture.
Keep in mind that just because these fungi are not necessarily toxic does not mean they cannot pose a health hazard to you and your family. Mold and mildew spores can easily spread all around your home through the HVAC system that lies within the crawl space. Even a single mold or mildew spot holds millions upon millions of spores that will only continue to fester and spread.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, these fungi spores can induce an allergic reaction, or symptoms such as burning eyes, sore throat, stuffy nose, coughing or wheezing, or even a skin rash. Those who suffer from asthma or chronic lung diseases are especially at risk. Not only will mold and mildew spores worsen their conditions, but they may also create infections within the lungs themselves.
Pests will find any chance they can get to sneak into a warm home. They are especially drawn to homes that have moisture problems. If your crawl space door is damaged or loose, these pests can swiftly infiltrate your crawl space, and eventually, your home above.
Once certain pests have infested your crawl space, it can be difficult to get rid of them again. Insects such as cockroaches, for instance, can emit a musty smell that attracts even more cockroaches to their current location.
Unfortunately, most homeowners will not even know their home is infested until it grows out of hand. The moment you see a pest scuttle across your floor in broad daylight is the moment you need to call an exterminator. Such pests tend to hide from humans unless it is absolutely necessary for them to seek out food or shelter elsewhere in your home.
Your home may also attract destructive pests like termites or rodents. These pests can steadily chew through wooden beams, wires, and other important structures found within the crawl space.
Loose Crawl Space Door
Properly maintaining your crawl space is essential to the overall health of your home. It contains plenty of crucial systems and components that keep your house running smoothly. Many of these systems do not perform well if moisture soaks into this space. Additionally, issues such as mold or pests can further deteriorate the infrastructure of your home if left unchecked.
Unfortunately, most homeowners tend to forget that this space even exists. Indeed, many homeowners will not be able to locate their crawl space or what its actual purpose is. So, what exactly is the crawl space and why is it so important to maintain?
- How Large is the Crawl Space?
As its name implies, the crawl space tends to be just large enough for the average adult to crawl around in. This does not mean you should head into your crawl space to implement your own repairs, though. The crawl space ceiling can range between one and three feet high. Given that this space is also full of delicate systems, it is very likely that you will accidentally kick or hit something and create even more issues to fix. There is also a possibility that you will find yourself stuck in this tiny space.
The crawl space is not safe for just anyone to squeeze into. Crawl space experts know how to navigate this tight space and work in a way that doesn’t disrupt any other systems found within. The experts at Complete Basement Systems can implement waterproofing solutions that are simply not available to the public.
- Where is the Crawl Space Located?
The crawl space is typically located between the ground floor and your first floor. Its main purpose is to house some of the most crucial components of your home. This includes your HVAC system, plumbing, insulation, electrical wiring, foundation, and much more. This can prove especially damaging in winter should any standing water freeze and break these systems.
Most homeowners tend to neglect crawl space maintenance due to its location. Even if you are unable to maintain this space yourself, it’s best to have this space inspected at least once a year for any issues instead. Complete Basement Systems offers free crawl space inspections, so don’t hesitate to contact us today!
Most homeowners think that if they fix the loose crawl space door, the other problems will sort themselves out. This is simply not the case. In fact, this can result in the existing problems only growing worse.
- Worsens Existing Issues
Completely closing off your crawl space without taking care of the issues already inside will only worsen matters. For instance, if you trap moisture within the crawl space without first draining it, this might only exacerbate mold growth or wood rot. The standing water will also create a muggy, humid atmosphere within the insulated crawl space. This creates an unpleasant smell that will continue to fester around your home the longer you let it linger.
You might also inadvertently block off pests’ main exit from your crawl space. They might then try to find some other opening to crawl out of. If there are any cracks or openings leading to your home, then it’s only a matter of time before you have a full infestation on your hands. No homeowner wants to deal with any of these issues. This is why you need to call a crawl space expert to repair these issues for you.
- Why Crawl Space Experts are Necessary
Crawl space experts can accurately assess the damage that’s already been done. They can also offer quick repairs and waterproofing solutions that work for you. This includes draining out any standing water and completely waterproofing your crawl space from moisture and reducing interest from pests.
The crawl space experts at Complete Basement Systems specialize in such repairs. We also offer thorough crawl space inspections free of charge. You can rest easy knowing that our solutions can permanently shield your home from the damage a loose crawl space door can cause.
Again, there isn’t much the average homeowner can do to prevent crawl space issues on their own. This is why it is essential to have your crawl space inspected yearly should any problems arise. There are several crawl space solutions Complete Basement Systems can implement to protect your home.
- Waterproofing the Crawl Space
It is not recommended for homeowners to go out and purchase quick DIY repairs for the crawl space. At best, these cheap repairs will offer your crawl space temporary fixes. No one wants to have to continuously buy temporary solutions every time the old one fails. It is best to consult a crawl space expert on the matter instead.
The crawl space experts at Complete Basement Systems can offer your home plenty of waterproofing solutions that serve as a permanent fix. You no longer have to worry about rain or snow flooding your crawl space with our drainage or sump pump systems. Our vapor barrier can fully block out any moisture and mold spore infiltration, and lessen pests’ interest in your crawl space.
- Installing a New Crawl Space Door
Complete Basement Systems can also install a new crawl space door to further protect your crawl space. Typically, crawl space doors tend to be made of wooden panels and metal hinges. Wood can easily rot over time, especially when faced with constant barrages of snow or rain. The metal hinges are also susceptible to rusting and later breaking off altogether.
Complete Basement Systems can install a brand-new crawl space door made up of inorganic plastic and foam. This door is guaranteed to fully seal off your crawl space from the elements and other types of damage. Installation is very quick and usually paired with vent covers, meaning you can benefit from its protection in a matter of hours.
Contact Complete Basement Systems for Crawl Space Inspections and Repair!
The crawl space is too important to neglect. If you do not take measures to protect it from moisture, pests, or other problem signs, then your home’s health and infrastructure will deteriorate. Having your crawl space inspected yearly can circumvent these troublesome issues. Contact the crawl space experts at Complete Basement Systems to schedule your free crawl space inspection today! We service both Denver and Colorado Springs!
Causes of Crawl Space Issues
Crawl space issues don’t crop up overnight. There are very specific factors that lead to damage within this space. What can cause prominent issues within your crawl space?
- Weather Conditions
Colorado endures severely freezing weather in the winter, with many regions often falling under below-freezing temperatures during this time. Frequent snowstorms and the occasional rainstorm both contribute to many of the most common problems within the crawl space.
If your crawl space door is loose, you might find rain, slush, or melted snow seeping through and flooding it. Without a proper drainage system or other protection methods in place, you can soon find this collected moisture affecting the rest of your home too. If you allow this water to stand for too long, it might also attract mold, mildew, or pests to infest your crawl space.
Additionally, you might find the rain or melted snow soaking into the soil around your house. This soil is not built for absorbing too much moisture. When it starts to take on more than it can handle, this can create plenty of damage to the infrastructure of your home.
- Hydrostatic Pressure
The soil surrounding your home can only hold so much moisture within it. Unfortunately, heavy rains and melted snow can soak into this soil. This soil might then become so heavy with moisture that it then presses against your home foundation, causing it to shift or break apart.
This phenomenon is known as hydrostatic pressure. Another instance of hydrostatic pressure is when moisture seeps into the pores of your concrete foundation, freezes in colder weather, and breaks the foundation from within.
- Settling Foundation
Your foundation is crucial in keeping your home upright. Should this become damaged or settle into the soil, you might find your walls, windowsills, or doorways beginning to tilt. Your floor might also dip in places, creating a dangerous tripping hazard for everyone in your home.
All in all, maintaining your foundation’s overall health is key to protecting your home’s infrastructure. Because the foundation is mainly found within the crawl space, you need to enact certain measures to fully protect and waterproof this space from damage.
Solutions for Crawl Space Issues
If you notice your home experiencing any of the above issues, it is best to contact the crawl space experts at Complete Basement Systems. We can implement repairs like a properly fitting crawl space door and waterproofing methods guaranteed to fully encapsulate your crawl space. Here is a quick rundown of some of the protection solutions we can offer your home.
- Crawl Space Drainage
If you find your crawl space constantly flooded, you need a system that can easily drain all that excess water out again. Complete Basement Systems offers homeowners the CrawlDrain™ crawl space drainage system, an easily customizable drainage system fitted for your unique crawl space. This drainage system is also guaranteed to be clog-free. No mud or debris that happens to fall in this system will stand a chance against this system’s powerful drainage capabilities.
We can also set up a reliable sump pump system, which will easily drain out groundwater or any unnoticed plumbing leaks. Our crawl space sump pump is equipped with a sump pump alarm that will alert you to any leaks that spring in this space, and you have the option to add a backup battery. Both of these features ensure that your crawl space will remain nice and dry, no matter what the weather.
- Moisture Barrier Protection
This is yet another layer of our simple encapsulation process that will protect your crawl space from moisture or any other pesky issues. Our 20-mil vapor barrier will block out any moisture or debris that attempts to infiltrate your crawl space.