In 2018, the average repair cost needs among US households was roughly $2,920. It’s a statistic that underlines how important home maintenance is, given that every dollar spent on home maintenance saves you up to $100 in repair costs.
Few areas in a home are more neglected than crawl spaces. That’s perhaps because crawl spaces are typically out of sight and thus out of mind.
Without proper home crawl space maintenance, however, this essential part of the house becomes susceptible to moisture, pests, numerous other problems. These issues can cause structural damage to your home’s foundation, affect your indoor air quality, and increase power bills.
It’s the reason we’ve prepared this comprehensive guide on cleaning crawl spaces. By the time you’re done reading, we hope you’ll have all the information you need to keep your crawl space in top condition at all times.
A crawl space refers to the space between the bottom floor of a house and the ground. Typically, this space is between one and three feet in height.
The primary function of a crawl space is to provide extra room for plumbing components, electrical wiring, and HVAC equipment. Because the amount of space of this part of your home is limited, access into the area is only possible by crawling, hence the name.
We mentioned earlier that crawl spaces provide additional room for such things as plumbing and electrical wiring. But these spaces do much more than that.
In damp climates where the ground is often wet, crawl spaces help keep moisture away from the house. Because of the wet nature of the ground in these climates, building a basement is impossible. That’s why people opt to support the home off the ground.
Crawl spaces are also ideal when you don’t have the budget for the construction of a basement. Typically, installing a crawl space is much cheaper than building a basement.
Proper crawl space care starts with knowing which problems can attack the space. Below, we list come of the most prevalent crawl space issues:
Crawl space maintenance practices aim to keep these issues at bay or promptly solve them before they get worse. Keep in mind that if you intend to sell your home at some point, the home inspection will include an exploration of your crawl space. If any of the above problems come to light during the inspection, it could affect the price of your home or halt the deal immediately.
Investing in proper regular crawl space maintenance can prove beneficial both now and in the long run. Here are four top tips on how to care for your home’s crawl space.
Regardless of where you live, the ground below and around your home contains a certain amount of moisture. This moisture should ideally evaporate into the atmosphere.
When that doesn’t happen, the moisture collects into water droplets on the wood above your crawl space. The problem arises when mold and mildew start to grow on the wood. With time, this mold can start to compromise the structural integrity of your house.
So how do you keep your crawl space dry?
Well, you can start by installing water gutters on the edges of the roof to direct water away from your home’s foundation. Where gutters are impractical or impossible, consider landscaping the soil around the crawl space, so water drains away from the house.
Another solution entails using fans on your crawl space to dry out the area if it’s already wet. You can also use sealant materials in the crawlspace drainage system to waterproof it.
It’s impossible to overemphasize the importance of regularly cleaning your crawl space. A dirty crawl space can compromise the quality of your indoor air and encourage insect and pest infestation.
Given that the area below your house is often dark and damp, cleaning it can be a tough task. With a little patience and hard work, however, you can get the task done in a few hours.
Make sure that you have the right supplies. Chances are there are already signs of mold around the crawl space, so don’t forget to have the right personal protective equipment for the job, including protective gloves, a full face negative pressure respirator, eye protection, and so on.
Other tools needed for the job include a Tyvek suit, headlight, and a fan. With the right tools and equipment, you should get your crawl space looking just as clean as other areas in your home. Of course, you can also hire a professional crawl space cleaning company to get the job done for you.
Once you’ve cleaned your crawl space, you need to make sure that it stays that way. Start by blocking any entry points for rodents. These include cracks and holes that rats, mice, and roaches can use to enter the crawl space.
Keeping your crawl space properly insulated can help regulate the temperature of this essential part of your home. Insulation also helps prevent warm air from escaping from your house during the summer and keeps the warm air in during the winter. This way, you get to avoid high energy bills.
When insulating your crawl space, use the right products. Remember to start from the ground up. If unsure of how to go about it, work with a professional.
Cleaning crawl spaces and keeping them dry and pest-free can enhance the condition and longevity of your house. It’s one of the less attractive home maintenance projects, but you can pull it off with a little patience and hard work.
Are you interested in reliable crawl space cleaning or repair? Contact us today for a free estimate.
Blake has specialized in crawl space & foundation repairs for over 10 years (since 2012). His prior engineering and business degrees from James Madison University in VA prepared him for a mastery of problem solving with crawl space & foundation repair issues. He is one of America’s top experts on crawl space encapsulation. As Founder of both ‘BAY Crawl Space & Foundation Repair’ as well as ‘GridLock Foundations’ he is a leading industry expert on crawl space foundation repairs.