What do you tell homebuyers when there’s a dirt crawl space under a house? Or do you often notice mold and dry rot in buildings with crawl spaces?
If you’re a home inspector, you’re the go-to-guy homeowners and building owners rely on to help make a sound purchase. Perhaps you’ve encountered buildings or homes with issues caused by dirt crawl spaces. Things like dry rot, water intrusion, mold and insect infestations all can cause damage to the home.
Perhaps you already know that traditional building methods have aided the proliferation of crawl space problems—from mold and health issues to high energy costs and leaks to water and humidity issues. There must be a better way. And there is.
Contrary to traditional practice, new scientific studies are turning conventional construction wisdom on it’s head. What used to be considered the common sense approach to crawl spaces is now being challenged in the field with revolutionary results.
Years ago people treated the crawl space by blocking it off from the home and shielding the undersides of exposed floors with insulation. The crawl space was then vented to “air it out” so it didn’t get too humid or musty but what new studies are proving is that a vented and unsealed crawl space lets in more harmful things than it lets out. It lets in water, humidity, mold spores, dry rot fungus, vermin, insects, and even radon.
What is being proved today in controlled studies in the field is that unvented and sealed crawl spaces that are not blocked off from the rest of the building:
- improve indoor air quality and create a healthier environment for occupants
- reduce humidity and water intrusion issues
- protect against vermin, insects, and radon
- guard against structural degeneration
- develop fewer energy leaks and are more efficient
Even building codes are beginning to reflect these proven results by legislating new industry standards that require unvented and sealed crawl spaces in new construction.
Additionally, the insurance industry has begun excluding mold and water instrusion coverage from policies, leaving cleanup— and sometimes even building demolition—to owners.
But one of the worst problems is that more and more building occupants are getting sick—some have even died—and are taking legal action against municipalities for public buildings and private building owners. Even condo associations and trailer parks are beginning to take crawl spaces seriously as more and more people get sick and demand financial remuneration.
FAQs | Questions many people begin to ask themselves are:
- What happens if I get sued because of the air quality in my building?
- Who will pay for mold remediation and what happens if the mold just comes back again?
- Will I be able to insure this building at all?
- Can the financial worth or the structural integrity of this building degrade over time because of this problem?
- What are the long term costs if I don’t fix this immediately?
- How do I fix this and how much will it cost?
The truth is that we don’t really know.
What we do know is that every building and home is different and many variables affect how unhealthy a crawl space becomes over time—things like the size, where it sits in relation to the water table, how the crawl space has been insulated and vented—all come into play when assessing not only what damage has already occurred but also what needs to be done to fix it. Contact us and one of our professionals will come out and talk with you about what they find in your crawl space and what it will cost to fix it.
If you’re not ready for us now, that’s oK. We’re not the solution for anyone BUT if you feel you’ve been living with this long enough, call us toll free at 888-799-9997 or email us here.