Crawl Space Problem Signs
Crawl space damage can take on many different forms. Here are some of the most common problem signs you may encounter in your crawl space.
Even when your home is protected from outside humidity, your home can still experience humidity when sources of standing water exist in your home.
Winter can take its toll on your home, especially if you have a vented and unsealed crawl space. Winterizing your crawl space will help improve the health, comfort, and energy efficiency of your home.
Crawl space mold can damage your home and your health. Learn how to prevent mold growth and find the best solutions for your home.
Wood eating or wood boring insects such as termites and carpenter ants can cause major damage. Learn more about how to protect & repair your crawl space.
If your crawl space begins to rot, grow mold, or experience structural problems, chances are these issues will spread to every part of your home. Unless your crawl space has waterproofing measures in place and is encapsulated, it’s likely to have some form of water damage within it. Left untreated, a wet crawl space can be the perfect environment for pest infestations and mold and mildew. For the most part, most of the problems traditionally associated with damaged, rotting crawl spaces are due to basic flaws in the ways that they were designed. At Baker’s Waterproofing, we specialize in repairing and encapsulating damaged crawl spaces that will improve the structural safety and health of your home.
Causes of Crawl Space Damage
Most of the problems traditionally associated with damaged, rotting crawl spaces are due to basic flaws in the ways that crawl spaces were designed.
Crawl space humidity has been plaguing homes in Western PA, Northern West Virginia, and Eastern Ohio since the first day they were built.
As the humidity levels rise in crawl spaces, moisture condensates on the surfaces, leading to serious problems in your home. These problems can lead to health issues and the need for expensive repairs.
When the frame of your home was first built, it was a large wooden box, with few, if any, holes in it.
Then came the other contractors. As plumbers, electricians, HVAC workers, and countless other professionals began to work in your home, they began to cut channels in your walls and floors. Pipes, wires, cables, ducts, and other things were passed through, and your home’s construction was completed.
Then, over time, your home began to expand and contract. The once-tight seams began to warp slightly, and more crevices and openings appeared. There are a lot of openings that can develop between your first floor and your crawl space!
In your home, warm air rises, leaving through your attic and upper floors. As this happens, a vacuum is created on the lower floors. Air from the outside — and from your crawl space — is pulled upwards to fill the space.
If you have crawl space vents, they will also become part of the air movement in your home. As air is pulled out of the crawl space and up into the home, new air will be pulled in through these vents.
Here’s the key point: If the air outside is wet or humid, then your crawl space vents are bringing in moisture.
The way your crawl space was built lends itself to a fatal flaw and various damages. Many crawl spaces were constructed with vents intended to increase airflow and minimize mold growth and humidity. However, open vents cause those things that they were meant to prevent. Vents also contribute to the stack effect, the natural airflow of air from bottom to top. If your crawl space suffers from excess humidity, mold growth, unpleasant odors, and other damages, these things travel in the air from your crawl space and up through the rest of your home. So, whatever is in your crawl space also is in your home and affecting the air you breathe.
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Crawl Space Repair Solutions
When you have a full crawl space encapsulation solution, you isolate the air in your crawl space and can protect your home from damage, while improving your health. Here are some of our crawl space solutions.
The IntelliJack™ system provides solid support for sagging and undersized beams, restoring stability and straightness to sagging floor joists in a crawl space.
Sealing and insulating the crawl space will help to keep your utilities from having to work in a cold, damp crawl space.
Seal the vents and install a liner to preserve & improve your crawl space.
An important part of a sealed crawl space is a reliable sump pump system. Without one, your crawl space will still be vulnerable to groundwater, as well as unnoticed plumbing leaks.
Is Crawl Space Repair and Encapsulation the Right Solution for Me?
For the most part, many homeowners don’t give a second thought to their crawl spaces since they’re rarely visited and aren’t considered a usable space. Unfortunately, this area is a part of your home that can be susceptible to water damage if not properly encapsulated. If your crawl space has groundwater, rotted floor joists, mold growth, or pests, you may be in need of solutions. Fortunately, Baker’s Waterproofing has over four decades of restoring and protecting crawl spaces from moisture, pests, and mold.
Unwelcome pests such as termites or other insects can eat away at the wooden floor joists in your crawl space, they also might make a home in the wet insulation underneath. This can lead to damage to the structural supports and toxins in the air from droppings and mold. As a result, your home’s air quality decreases, and respiratory problems could arise. It’s important to repair any damage done to this area. Call an exterminator, and seal your crawl space with a vapor barrier to prevent this from happening.
Investing in crawl space repair products and encapsulation solutions is the best way to combat these problems from wreaking havoc on your home. We offer tailored solutions for your crawl space such as vapor barriers, vent covers, sump pumps, dehumidifiers, and more.
A property’s crawl space is generally one of the least pleasant parts of the home. This makes sense; after all, they tend to be dark, cluttered, and cramped (since the average crawl space is three to five feet in height). As such, issues like mold and wood rot tend to have ample time to grow and spread when they take root in these kinds of spaces, because homeowners rarely enter them. Plus, with visibility being generally poor in these kinds of areas, it can be hard to get a good idea of what is going on in your crawl space.
As such, it pays to look for signs of damage within your home at large. If wood rot starts to flourish in your crawl space, it is most likely to impact your property’s flooring, more specifically the joists and supports that support it. There are three kinds of wood rot, and while they look different in many ways, they all have the same effect: they undermine the structural integrity of wood and cause it to lose its strength. This can present itself in many ways in your home, but the most common are instability, unevenness, or bounciness in your flooring.
Once you know what to look for, though, wood rot is fairly easy to see. Look for signs like discoloration, a honeycomb appearance, the presence of a white sheen on the affected wood, or a change in texture that ranges from brittleness to sponginess. Wood that is dealing with brown rot may also take on a cracked appearance that makes it look burnt. If you cannot see these signs inside your home, they may be present inside your crawl space and a great opportunity for an inspection. If you think that this is the case, we recommend that you call a professional for advice and support.
High levels of humidity or the presence of standing water in your York home can cause many different issues, but one of the most common and insidious is the formation of mold and mildew. That’s especially true during York’s humid summers, which follow the spring rains and give mold an ideal environment to form and thrive. Mold has a lot in common with wood rot fungus, when you break it down to the simplest terms. There is one key difference between the two, however: while wood rot fungi are generally not harmful to people (unless ingested), certain species of mold can be actively toxic. Learning to spot the difference between benign forms of mold and potentially lethal ones is not always easy, however.
Thankfully, mold is fairly easy to spot in any home. Mold causes discoloration, changes in texture, and will produce a musty, often sweet smell when it really flourishes. So, if you notice this musty smell, you should check areas of your home that are rarely used and hidden corners in rooms that are often humid (like your kitchen or bathroom). Mold can thrive almost anywhere, but it favors dark, rarely disturbed corners. As for the formations, mold can be white, gray, pink, brown, black, or even green-ish in color.
It is black mold that you should be most concerned about. Many other forms of mold are benign or only mildly damaging, but black mold can be seriously damaging to the health of anyone who has contact with it. Even if the contact is limited, the consequences can include infection, rashes, dizziness, issues breathing, and even fainting or seizures. Of course, those who are already vulnerable are the most at risk of serious and lasting repercussions from mold exposure. So, yes, in many cases mold can be dangerous and, as such, should be dealt with quickly.
A property’s crawl space is one of the most vulnerable areas in any home. This is partly because of its position at the bottom of the home but also because many crawl spaces in State College were not designed to be entirely waterproof. This is a particularly big problem in older properties. Homes that were built between the 1950s and 1990s, for example, were often built with crawl space vents in place to increase airflow. This was considered the best practice for preventing dampness and humidity, at the time, but has since been shown to increase humidity instead.
Waterproofing, as a process, is one of the most effective ways you can protect your home from dampness and humidity. What’s more, waterproofing has a number of other benefits that you should consider! For example, waterproofing increases your property’s heat and cold retention capabilities and ensures that your interior climate is fairly stable. Likewise, the reduction in humidity that this process facilitates will make your home more energy efficient. Arid air is far easier for your HVAC system to process than humid air. As such, a home with low humidity will use less energy, as your HVAC system is able to produce better results with less work. This also decreases wear and tear on your system.
Thankfully, waterproofing is a straightforward and easy process that can be undertaken quickly by any professional. Generally speaking, this will include the installation of crawl space vent covers, insulation, vapor barriers, and even an interior drainage system and a sump pump system. If you still experience problems with dampness and humidity, then professionals may also suggest that you install a dehumidifier system into your crawl space to remove gaseous moisture and lower humidity levels in a more direct and immediate way. As an added benefit, this will also make your home more comfortable.
Yes. You should cover exposed crawl space vents in your Pittsburgh property if you want to avoid having problems with dampness, flooding, humidity, and pest infestation. There is really no situation in which having open crawl space vents is beneficial for your home. With that in mind, it is perfectly reasonable to ask why they were installed into properties in the first place. The reason is simple: when these properties were built, crawl space vents were believed to be beneficial to the health and wellbeing of the property as a whole.
Between the 1950s and 1990s, installing crawl space vents into new properties was considered to be construction best practice. This was because industry experts believed it would increase the level of airflow in the crawl space and prevent or minimize dampness and humidity in the property. Of course, further research found that these vents did increase airflow but that they actually were more likely to cause dampness and high humidity than to prevent it.
This is partly because of a process called the stack effect. The stack effect, sometimes called the chimney effect, is a channel of airflow that goes from the bottom of a property to the very top. This seriously disrupts the interior climate of a property and can cause condensation in your crawl space and attic, depending on the season and whether your HVAC system is created heat or cold. As well as contributing to dampness, the stack effect will cause fluctuations in temperature and even lead to increased energy bills and accelerated deterioration in your HVAC system, leading to avoidable breakdowns and damage. So, when simple vent covers can go a long way towards preventing this, it would be silly not to install them!
Yes! Waterproofing is an incredibly beneficial process that will protect your crawl space (and indeed your wider home) from dampness, humidity, flooding, and water damage in a number of ways. Of course, there are a few limitations to this process that you will need to keep in mind if you are to get the best results from it. The main limitation is the fact that your home needs to be in good condition for the process to be most effective.
If you try to waterproof and encapsulate a home that is already flooded or damp, or that has underlying damage in need of repair, then you could end up causing serious issues for your home. First, waterproofing and encapsulation can cover up the signs of structural damage and allow the issues to grow unchecked until they spread throughout your property or reach a breaking point. Secondly, if your waterproofed crawl space still takes on water, it will actually magnify the dampness and issues by preventing any natural drainage or evaporation that the space may have originally allowed for.
Of course, if your home is already healthy and fit for waterproofing, then the benefits can be truly amazing. Proper waterproofing will prevent flooding and water damage, lower relative humidity, and make your home’s internal climate generally healthier and more stable. This will have an effect on your property’s energy efficiency, temperature regulation, air quality, and, of course, your comfort. So, yes, crawl space waterproofing is a very good idea for homeowners in Johnstown, PA.
Unfortunately, many of the older properties around Central PA do not have crawl spaces that can be classed as being waterproof in any true sense of the word. This is partly to do with the recent advancements made in construction and the materials that are now available, but also it is to do with changes to what we consider ‘best practice’ in property construction, now. Between the 1950s and the 1990s, it was considered best practice to install crawl space vents because it was believed that the airflow would prevent dampness. This turned out to not be true.
In fact, the increased airflow (also known as the stack effect) actually increased levels of dampness. This happened because of how the air inside the property reacted to being heated or cooled by the HVAC system, as well as because of the clash of warm and cool air (which leads to condensation). This is why it is so common to see vent covers and doors on properties in the Central PA area now. Of course, this is not the only potential cause of dampness.
Damage can also lead to dampness and humidity inside your Central PA property, whether it is internal or external. Forms of internal damage that are most likely to cause dampness are damage to your home’s plumbing system or attached appliances. While a large plumbing flood is destructive, it also prompts quick and thorough action. This is why low-level, persistent leaks tend to be more damaging in the long-run. Finally, any form of structural damage can cause dampness and humidity by allowing water to seep into your home through small cracks and areas of damage.
Why Crawl Space Repair and Encapsulation Are Needed
Since your crawl space is basically an area of your home that isn’t used, you may be wondering why you need to repair and encapsulate it. Since it’s located under your home, it can have daunting effects on the health and well-being of your home’s structure and air quality. Here are a few key reasons why crawl space repair is needed.
Helps Deter Pest Infestations
Dark and damp environments make the perfect habitat for termites and pests such as raccoons, snakes, and other animals. When your crawl space is damaged or not encapsulated, it creates a perfect habitat for any unwelcome animals to make your home theirs. By encapsulating your crawl space with a vapor barrier, removing any wet insulation, and sealing your open vents, you can help deter pests from invading your home.
Minimizes the Stack Effect’s Negative Impact
Did you know that approximately 50% of the air you breathe in your home
, comes from your crawl space? When your crawl space has mold and mildew, pest droppings, and elevated humidity, it gets circulated up through your floors and into your living areas. This can cause asthma and allergies and worsen respiratory issues in people. To prevent this from happening, you can encapsulate your crawl space with a vapor barrier and install a dehumidifier to control the air quality.
Protects Your Home’s Structure
Sagging or dry rotted floor joists can be a clear indication that you have water damage on your hands. Floor joists are usually made of wooden beams that are designed to hold the weight of your home. Since wood is an organic material, it is susceptible to the damaging effects of moisture. These beams are also able to be infiltrated with termites if your crawl space isn’t properly encapsulated.
Common Crawl Space Repair and Encapsulation Tips & Mistakes
When you find moisture damage in your crawl space, it can be nerve-wracking to decide which step is next. Since it’s located under your home, you may be wondering how to correct the damage and how it happened in the first place. At Baker’s, we’ve had decades of experience in helping homeowners restore and protect their crawl spaces. Here are some helpful tips and mistakes to avoid when crawl space damage starts affecting your home.
- Regularly inspecting your crawl space for signs of damage can make all the difference in catching it in its early stages. This can sometimes reduce the amount of damage your crawl space faces, as well as lower the cost of repairs that may need to be made. Certain problem signs around your home may give way that damage has happened such as uneven floors, mold, condensation on windows, and more.
- Another way to protect your crawl space from water is to check your gutters for clogs or damage to ensure they’re working properly. It’s best practice to annually clean your gutters of debris and inspect them for separated joints, holes, or cracks that could cause leaks. Also, ensuring your downspout extension is far enough away from your home will make all the difference when the rain starts falling.
- If your home has sprung a plumbing leak, it’s important to have an expert come and inspect your crawl space to make sure no water is leaking in. Since most plumbing pipes are located within the crawl space, any malfunction could lead to a full-blown flood. This could result in thousands of dollars in repairs, mold growth, and rotted floor joists. If you suspect something is wrong, call the experts at Baker’s Waterproofing today for a free inspection.
Mistakes to Avoid
- Although sump pumps and dehumidifiers are great at combatting water and moisture damage, they aren’t enough to fully protect your crawl space. To ensure your crawl space is fully protected from mold, moisture, pests, and dry rot, full-scale encapsulation solutions must be installed. This includes everything from a vapor barrier, crawl space vent covers, and interior drainage to fully waterproof and restore your crawl space.
- DIY repairs are favored by many homeowners for everything from painting walls to bathroom renovations, and quick fixes around the home. Because your crawl space is such a small and delicate area, it’s best that any damage that’s happened is left to the professionals. Any mishaps, faulty products, or wrong moves could end up in more damage to your home and safety hazards.
- It was once believed that having open crawl space vents helped in circulating the air underneath your home and keeping it dry and clean. Years later this was found to be false, as humidity and moisture can get in through these entryways. By sealing up these vents you can prevent this from happening, but it’s best to install full waterproofing and encapsulation solutions.
Find your service area
Crawl spaces commonly run amuck with mold and rot in Morgantown due to pervasive humidity. You can take back control with the help of water management experts.
Your home's foundation, basement, concrete, and crawl space can all be damaged by Pittsburgh's clay-like soil and damp environment, resulting in dangerous structural instability.
Basements and foundations are vulnerable when up against the frequent rain of Altoona and surrounding areas. We can repair and protect your home from cracks and leaks.
The high water table in Harrisburg can turn into a hazard for your home’s foundation, encouraging excess moisture and poor drainage. Protect it with expert help.
Johnstown is no stranger to flooding, and neither is your foundation. Protect your items, yourself, and your home with lasting waterproofing and structural solutions.
Lancaster County, PA
Soil in Lancaster can be the worst of both worlds. Poor drainage causes the soil around your foundation to either be too wet or too dry. Both have detrimental effects.
State College, PA
Frigid winters in State College suck the moisture out of the soil beneath your home, causing cracking and settling. It’s time to fortify your home with a custom plan.
York County, PA
Year-round rain in York can cause the soil around your home to expand—cracking and settling your foundation. You need the best repairs to protect it.
Central PA Metro Area
Humidity in central PA is rampant, setting into motion an array of foundational issues. No matter the damage, we have the permanent solutions you need to have peace of mind.
Lehigh Valley Metro Area
Wet weather in Lehigh Valley can be the root cause for destructive soil expansion and moldy areas in your home. Defend or repair your home with help from experts.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metro Area
Silty soil native to the Scranton and Wilkes Barre areas of Pennsylvania is poorly drained, meaning you may have water management issues on your property.