Crawl Space Repair: Methods, Signs of Damage, and Cost
While crawl space is an essential part of your house, it is the space that gets the least attention. Although it serves as an important section of the house by supporting air circulation, plumbing, and electrical access, we often tend to neglect crawl spaces. Honestly, a crawl space is not as attractive and fun to visit regularly. But abandoning it can make you pay the price. An unattended crawl space can be the source of damage to your house, including smelly air, mold issues, wood rot, and pest infestation. Such damages can only worsen if not taken the right action sooner. If you are facing such issues, crawl space repair can save your house from the consequences of a failing crawl space.
What are the Signs of Crawl Space Damage?
Paying attention to the signs of damage in your house is the first step in detecting if your house needs crawl space repair. This narrow space is either located in the attic or the basement and barely gets any sunlight, making it vulnerable to moisture. Hence, the dark, damp crawl space becomes a hot spot for all sorts of moisture problems in your house. So, if you detect the following common signs of damage in your house, it is likely that the crawl space is in need of repair.
- Mold spreading out of the crawl space.
- Groundwater seepage through the crown space floor beneath the building.
- Pest infestation.
- Strange odor in the air inside the house.
- Insulations in the crawl space are wet.
- Increase in humidity of crawl space.
- Visible cracks in the foundation.
- Rotting wood.
- Floors sagging and buckling.
- Unhealthy indoor air condition.
Why Do You Need Crawl Space Repair?
Crawl space repair cannot be delayed because the more you avoid the repair, the more severe the damage becomes. On the other hand, delaying the repair can also empty your pockets with hefty repair expenses. So, save yourself from such misfortune and hire a professional for the repair as soon as you detect the damage. Not only that, but the below-listed pointers are also some good reasons why you need crawl space repair now:
- To prevent structural damage: Moisture seepage in crawl space can weaken the foundation of your house, which in turn causes structural damages such as doors and windows sticking out of the wall, bulging floors, sinking ground, and so on. Repairing the crawl space can help you keep your family safe from accidents due to such damage.
- To protect the house from mold and pests: Humidity in the dam crawl space provides a perfect atmosphere for mold formation and pest infestation. It keeps on growing until you repair the space.
- To prevent health problems: The growth of mold and pests in the crawl space can infiltrate into the house through gaps. The mold and pest growth can spread out to your living space or bedroom and make you sick.
- To save yourself from high energy bills: The increase in moisture in the crawl space increases the humidity inside your house. The high-humidity condition consumes a large amount of energy to maintain the atmospheric level of the house to normal, resulting in increased electricity bills.
- To increase your home value: Defective crawl space becomes a major drawback when you are putting your house for sale. The compromised facilities in the house because of the damages can lead to cost depreciation of your house.
What are Different Crawl Space Repair Methods?
Crawl space repair encompasses a wide range of repair and maintenance jobs. There is no one-for-all repair method, as different repair jobs target different problems. Therefore, taking into account the diverse repair needs for your crawl space, here are a few repair methods adopted by professionals:
1. Water Removal
This repair method is used to get rid of excess water gathered in your crawl space floor. Leaving water in the crawl space invites problems such as dirt accumulation, humidity, bacterial infestation, mold, and electrical hazards due to drowning wires. As a repair process for such an issue, the professionals will extract the water out of the crawl space and dry the space entirely.
Waterproofing is done in the crawl space when there is water leakage from some cracks in the walls or plumbing pipes. Moreover, groundwater seepage can also occur from the floor in the space. Such issues can be fixed by adopting a waterproofing technique, which mainly involves coating the surface with waterproof materials.
3. Crawl Space Encapsulation
It is a preventive measure to protect your crawl space from potential future damage. Encapsulation helps prevent moisture by establishing a protective barrier on the walls and floor. Because of its high effectiveness, this method is one of the most preferred repair methods for crawl space repair and maintenance. Most importantly, this can only be done by repair experts. Here is a glimpse of how this method actually works:
- Drainage system installation.
- Water removal and cleanup.
- Encapsulation process by installing vapor barrier material all over the walls and floor.
- Installation of vent cover.
- Installation of a dehumidifier.
4. Crawl Space Insulation
The humidity in your crawl space can also result from a lack of insulation. Excess humidity causes mold growth and bad smell. The contaminated air as a result of mold and bacterial infestation can sicken the people living in your home and can cause other heating and cooling issues. Professionals tackle this problem by insulating the crawl space with any suitable materials from the list below:
- Expanded polystyrene
Frequently Asked Questions
There are several more queries about crawl space repair that people have commonly asked across various platforms. Taking it into account, we have selected some of the most common questions and formulated concise answers for you, which might help you broaden your understanding of the repair and maintenance of crawl space.
What is the cost of crawl space repair?
The cost of repairing crawl space varies as per the severity of the problem. While complex issues require thousands of dollars, minor repairs can be covered in $100 or more. The table below illustrates the cost requirement in detail as per the recent data.
|Maintenance/ Repair Type||Approximate Cost|
|Basic DIY maintenance (Cracks and gaps sealing)||$50|
|Annual professional inspection||$100 to $500|
|Crawl space repair||$1,000 to $10,000|
|Preventive repair||$650 to $15,000|
Is DIY crawl space encapsulation a good idea?
No, it is certainly not a good idea to attempt crawl space encapsulation without professional help. The encapsulation process requires a certain level of expertise to do it correctly. A crawl space houses the most essential components of the house, like plumbing, HVAC, electrical, and gas lines. Navigating through these components can be tricky as well as risky. And without experience, you are bound to damage these components and cause more trouble instead. Therefore, it’s better to leave the crawl space repair job to experts.
Will the water in the crawl space go away?
Yes, it will. If you find your crawl space flooding, the drainage system is likely blocked. To get rid of the water from your crawl space floor, make sure to maintain a proper drainage system. Likewise, to get rid of excess humidity, you can install a dehumidifier in the crawl space.
How long does crawl space encapsulation last?
Encapsulation of crawl space is a very effective preventive measure that protects the space from moisture by installing a protective layer on its floor and walls. The protective barrier is incredibly durable and lasts for 15 to 20 years. Despite the long-term durability, a regular inspection of the encapsulation, at least 2 times a year, is definitely required for its protection.
When should I replace my crawl space insulation?
If the conditions for the insulation in your crawl space are ideal, it is supposed to last for more than 10 years. The commonly used insulating materials for crawl spaces are fiberglass and foam insulation and polyethylene vapor barrier. The durability is based on the properties of these individual materials. However, it is optimal to replace the insulation every 15 years approximately. You may also replace it early if the signs of damage are starting to surface.
Crawl space, being an integral part of a building, has the power to make or break the entire structure. Defective crawl space can cause damages as small as minor cracks on the walls to as big as structural damage and mold and pest infestation. Such damages are not to be taken lightly, and you must hire a professional immediately for crawl space repair. Another important thing to take into consideration is that most crawl repairs require experienced professionals. Trying DIY repair jobs can cause more damage than repair. So, be smart and call a crawl space repair expert right away to reduce the risk of further damage!