When you try to protect your crawl space from unanticipated damage, you’re doing more than just ensuring that the space itself remains safe and watertight. You’re also making an effort to ensure that everything inside of your crawl space remains as structurally sound as possible. This includes your insulation.
While some types of insulation can help waterproof your crawl space, they can all fall victim to water damage if they’re overexposed to high levels of humidity and moisture. You’ll want to make sure that you protect your insulation from this kind of damage if you want to keep your home in good condition. With that in mind, you’ll need to replace insulation that’s already suffered from moisture damage if you want to keep not only your crawl space but the whole of your home in good condition.
Why Are You Having Problems with Your Crawl Space?
Your crawl space is more sensitive to damage – and more influential when it comes to the overall well-being of your home – than its size might suggest. With that in mind, there are a few different forces that can disrupt its overall structural integrity. These can include:
- Tree roots
- Pests and similar infestations
- Mistakes made during your home’s initial construction
- Soil instability or rapid expansion, as is common in Denver and Colorado Springs, CO
Above all else, though, hydrostatic pressure works to cause damage to your crawl space and the insulation therein. Hydrostatic pressure is a force that relies on water to do damage to your home. To get matters started, water can come into contact with the materials you’ve used to support your crawl space. That water can cause those materials to change size on a molecular level. As those materials warm and cool, so too will they expand and contract, respectively.
If your materials expand and contract too often, then they can start to lose some of their structural integrity due to stress. In developing cracks, they can allow moisture into your home, which can cause your insulation to start taking on damage. That damage and moisture can double back on themselves, making the rest of your crawl space more vulnerable to hydrostatic pressure, facilitating what is essentially a vicious cycle of damage.
What Does Insulation Do for Your Crawl Space?
The insulation in your crawl space serves two purposes. For starters, it helps ensure that your HVAC system operates at peak efficiency. All forms of insulation are meant to keep warm air indoors when you have your heater on and cool air inside when you use your air conditioning. Without insulation, your HVAC system has to work much harder to ensure your home is comfortable.
Insulation can also help mitigate any water damage that may try to destabilize your home. While there are types of waterproof insulation that specifically create hydrophobic barriers between your crawl space and the outdoors, insulation always serves as a physical barrier between moisture and your home. As such, you can rely on your insulation to absorb some of the water that might otherwise damage your crawl space, no matter what kind you’ve invested in. That said, there are some types of insulation that are better at this task than others.
Types of Insulation
There are several different types of insulation you can have installed in your home. These include:
- Blanket insulation
- Concrete block insulation
- Foam board insulation
- Insulating concrete insulation
- Loose-fill insulation
- Reflective insulation
- Rigid insulation
- Spray foam insulation
- Structural panel insulation
Many contractors will happily elaborate on the difference between fiberglass insulation and foam board insulation in addition to discussing which of the aforementioned types of insulation may best suit your crawl space. If you’re concerned about moisture getting into your crawl space, you’re going to want to work with foam insulation as opposed to fiberglass, even if you vary on what form that insulation takes. Fiberglass insulation tends to absorb moisture at a much more rapid rate than foam insulation, meaning it’s more likely to fall victim to damage than its counterpart.
Signs of Insulation Problems in Your Crawl Space
The one good thing about insulation damage in your crawl space is that it tends to give itself away. If something’s gone awry with your insulation, you may find yourself contending with:
Higher Electrical Bills
If you’re budgeting from month to month, you want to know that your electrical bill is consistent. While that kind of consistency is difficult to maintain under normal circumstances, it can become even more difficult if you’re contending with damaged insulation in your crawl space.
As mentioned, damaged crawl space insulation allows moisture into your home. That moisture makes it more difficult to temperature control both your crawl space and the rest of your house. Your HVAC system will have to work harder to ensure your home remains comfortable, meaning that your bill, come the end of the month, may be significantly higher than usual.
While it doesn’t seem like an unpleasant smell would make your home too unpleasant to live in, you may be surprised. As water makes its way into your crawl space and settles in your insulation, your entire home can start to smell musty and unpleasant. Combine that smell with the increasingly prevalent humidity throughout your home, and you can find other unpleasant smells elevated beyond their usual scent threshold.
For example, mustiness on its own can make your home smell old, damp, and dirty. Combine that mustiness with trash or compost that you haven’t taken out, and you may be smelling rotten food throughout your home for much longer than you’d like.
Mold needs nothing more than warmth, moisture, and darkness to settle in and grow. Insulation that isn’t appropriately cared for or that has started to succumb to moisture damage can serve as an incubator for the mold spores that make their way into your home.
Note that mold spores don’t enter your home alongside the moisture that allows them to grow. Instead, mold spores enter your home via your HVAC system and affiliated vents. You can get ahead of infestations by regularly cleaning out your vents while also investing in home waterproofing measures designed to keep your crawl space water-free.
Standing water is a pain to deal with once it appears in your crawl space. It is among the clearest signs that, if something hasn’t gone wrong with your insulation already, it’s about to.
Standing water enters your home courtesy of cracks in your foundation and crawl space walls. If you choose not to invest in waterproof insulation or any other home waterproofing measures, you’ll first find yourself dealing with higher-than-average levels of home humidity. Let that problem get out of hand, and your crawl space is all the more likely to fall victim to puddles, sitting water, and at worst, flooding.
Concrete, despite common perceptions, is a porous surface. If it’s exposed to high levels of moisture on a regular basis, it can start to absorb the surrounding moisture and suffer as a consequence.
Crawl spaces that see high levels of humidity or even a few instances of standing water are more likely than waterproofed spaces to have their walls begin to suffer structurally. You may find yourself contending with bowing walls and a destabilized home if you don’t tend to some of the earlier signs of internal crawl space damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
The insulation in your crawl space does more than you might think when it comes to protecting the overall value and safety of your home. If you choose to let damaged insulation sit, or if you don’t work to protect the insulation you have in place, you’re doing more than just letting an investment fall by the wayside. If you’re not careful, you may find both your family’s health and the overall value of your home compromised.
As mentioned, your crawl space dictates the overall health of your home. In doing so, it also has an impact on the health of your family. Any damaged insulation in your crawl space tends to indicate you may have a moisture problem on your hands. If this is the case, you may start to endure similar crawl space-related problems, including a mold infestation. While there are several different kinds of molds that can make their way into your home, none of them are good for your family to come into contact with. If you let these molds linger for too long, you may find yourself contending with respiratory issues that previously didn’t plague your family.
In a similar vein, damaged insulation tends to beget damaged walls in your crawl space. As your walls takes on additional moisture, they can start to bow, causing the structural supports throughout the rest of your home to lose some of their stability. Over time, this may result in uneven floors and unstable walls, both of which can cause bodily harm to your family if you’re not careful.
Home Market Value
Not only is the health of your family at risk when your crawl space insulation gives out, but the value of your home is as well. Again, damaged crawl space insulation tends to indicate that there’s something wrong with the crawl space’s structural integrity. There may even be something wrong with the structural integrity of your foundation. If this is the case, you must disclose as such should you ever be interested in selling your home.
Unfortunately, should you choose not to replace your damaged insulation or otherwise see to the status of your crawl space, you won’t be able to sell your home for as much as you may like. Homes with damaged crawl spaces can lose up to 30 percent of their market value should they go onto the market with this kind of damage. Similarly, as you’re required to disclose damage of this sort to potential buyers, you may have a more difficult time arranging for someone to take your home off your hands.
If you’re concerned about how much money crawl space repairs may cost you, it can be tempting to consider replacing damaged insulation on your own. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the best idea. Problems can pop up in any home DIY effort, but especially during your initial efforts and in the months and years to come after your work is done.
Problems During Your Initial Efforts
Trying to remove your damaged insulation without the appropriate tools can be dangerous for several reasons. For starters, touching insulation without gloves or removing it without protective materials can put your health at risk. Insulation can also be difficult to dispose of if you don’t know which disposals will accept it. You’ll also find yourself contending with the remnants of your insulation if you don’t have the tools on hand to keep it from falling apart as you work to remove it from your home.
As you go to install new insulation, you may face a variety of issues. First off, you may overlook the structural damage that allowed unusual levels of moisture into your home in the first place. Secondly, you may not be able to spread your new insulation as thoroughly as professionals otherwise would. You may also bring home a type of insulation that is either too water-absorbent or that otherwise may not protect your home from damage as well as those types of insulation available to area professionals.
It’s also more difficult to install home waterproofing measures over your insulation if you’ve never made an effort to do so before. In short, when you rely on professionals, you can forgo all the effort of DIY and rest easy. Thanks to their ample experience, the contractors on your property can install your new insulation and any approved waterproofing measures with the confidence of trained professionals.
Problems in the Future
Even if you don’t have any problems while installing insulation on your own, you may find yourself contending with issues later down the line. For starters, replacing the damaged insulation in your crawl space only allows you to address a symptom of a larger problem throughout your home. If your crawl space insulation is taking on unusual amounts of water, you likely have a leak on your hands. Failing to address this leak will see you having to contend not only with damaged insulation in the future but worsening stability throughout your home as well.
That kind of instability does more than just make your crawl space less pleasant to visit. The longer you allow a leak to fester in your crawl space, the more likely it is that you’ll see the walls not only in your crawl space but of your foundation begin to crumble. This kind of instability can have impacts on the whole of your home if it isn’t addressed appropriately. Professionals have the experience to notice when damaged crawl space insulation is a sign of a larger problem. When you reach out to area contractors, you may spend more money on repairs, but you can avoid the cost of other potentially necessary services later down the line.
Replacing damaged insulation can be a costly endeavor. That doesn’t mean, however, that the effort isn’t worth it. When you replace your damaged insulation, you are:
Protecting Your Crawl Space
As mentioned, your crawl space has significant sway over just how healthy your home is. A crawl space that’s protected from moisture damage is a crawl space that is going to prevent similar damage from spreading through the rest of your home. Comparatively, a crawl space that actively suffers from insulation damage is going to be more susceptible to moisture damage. As moisture makes its way into your home, you will start to see signs of the damage it leaves behind, including bowing walls, mold growth, and higher electrical bills.
When you replace damaged insulation, you get ahead of this kind of damage. You deny mold spores the incubator they need to grow, and you make sure moisture doesn’t have a place to rest and negatively impact the health of your space. You also lower your electric bills and prevent animals from making their way indoors, generally making your home a more enjoyable space to live in.
Protecting Your Family’s Health
As mentioned, there are several crawl space conditions that can have a detrimental impact on the health of your family. If you allow mold to take root in your crawl space, for example, your family can start to show signs of respiratory problems, even if none of you has a history of suffering from similar conditions.
When you replace your crawl space insulation, you deny those dangerous mold spores the opportunity to start growing. Not only that, but you provide your family with a warm and well-supported home to live in. In doing so, you lower the risk of injuries, illnesses, and other conditions that might put your family’s health at risk.
What to Do If You Have a Problem with Your Crawl Space Insulation
If you notice that something seems wrong with your crawl space or your crawl space insulation, do not try to fix the problem on your own. Instead, reach out to the professionals in Denver and Colorado Springs, CO, for guidance. These professionals can walk you through the process of restoring your home. Those professionals can take the following steps to ensure that your crawl space stays as safe and sturdy as possible.
- Securing Safety Supplies
Fiberglass insulation removal can be dangerous if you don’t have the appropriate tools on hand. Professionals are equipped with the masks, gloves, and tools they need to draw out your damaged insulation. You’ll want to have these materials on hand if you find yourself contending with an immediate or highly visible decay in your crawl space’s insulation.
- Removing Your Insulation
Removing your crawl space’s insulation is a relatively straightforward process. Professionals can remove those supports that secured the insulation in place. Then they can pull the insulation out of your walls and ceiling, safely disposing of it somewhere away from your property.
- Assessing Your Space for Additional Damage
Before installing new insulation, professionals in Denver and Colorado Springs, CO, will need to assess your crawl space for other signs of damage. This inspection can reveal the structural damage that allowed moisture to enter your home in the first place.
- Repairing Any Existing Damage
If there is anything obviously wrong with your crawl space, like a crack in the joints or damage to your structural supports, professionals will need to see that damaged repaired. It isn’t safe to install new insulation over this kind of damage. If you attempt to do so, that insulation will fall victim to damage just as easily as your previous insulation did, meaning the expense of the removal and new insulation will be less valuable to you than it would be otherwise.
- Choosing Your New Insulation
As mentioned, there are several different styles of insulation available for you to install throughout your home. You can work with area professionals to determine which of these styles suits you best. Again, avoid fiberglass insulation if you’re concerned about the level of moisture in your home. This insulation, when compared to foam alternatives, absorbs moisture like a sponge and makes your crawl space more vulnerable to damage.
- Replacing Your Insulation and Installing Additional Crawl Space Waterproofing Measures
As professionals install your new insulation, you can also request that they install additional waterproofing measures throughout your crawl space. Vapor barriers are among the most effective waterproofing measures to install at the same time as insulation, though you can also ask professionals in your area about the crawl space encapsulation process.
How Can Contractors Help You Repair Your Home?
It’s never the best idea to try and repair damaged insulation on your own time. Instead, if you think something’s wrong with your crawl space, you have the opportunity to reach out to working professionals in Denver and Colorado Springs, CO. Local contractors can walk through your home with you and help you better understand what kind of impact damaged insulation has had on your space. Together, you can assess that damage and determine how you may want to bring your home back up to snuff.
Above all else, professionals can remove and replace damaged crawl space insulation for you with little to no hassle. Before you know it, you’ll not only have your home back in order, but you’ll have the means in place to prevent your new insulation—not to mention the rest of your crawl space—from suffering similar damage in the future. Be sure to reach out for a free inspection and repair quote so you can learn how quickly your home can be back in working order.