Crawl Space Wood Rot – Causes and Repairs
Moisture in a crawl space has been known to cause many issues under homes. Wood rot is among the worst issues that arise from crawl space moisture because it can compromise the structural integrity of large areas of your home, leading to high (and preventable) costs for repair.
Have you discovered the presence of wood rot under your home? Did a termite inspector or HVAC technician surprise you with unwelcome news? You’re in the right place. This guide serves to educate you about the Causes of Wood Rot, Eliminating the Causes of Wood Rot, and the Best Solutions for Wood Rot today.
For more help, request a free inspection and estimate from one of our trained crawl space repair experts. We will provide honest helpful feedback at a great price and we guarantee all of our repairs.
Crawl Space Wood Rot: Causes
Without moisture, your home would never develop wood rot in the crawl space. It’s the combination of high wood moisture content and wood-destroying fungus that causes most wood rot.
But what causes high wood moisture content and the growth of wood-destroying fungus?
These causes of wood rot arise because of long-term exposure to moisture. There are 3 main sources of moisture in a crawl space:
- Moisture from the damp earth
- Moisture from groundwater and flooding
- Moisture from the humidity outside
It’s these 3 sources of moisture that are the root source of all moisture problems, including wood rot, mold, and wood destroying fungus in a crawl space. After years of fixing problem crawl spaces, we’ve discovered the exact formula to eliminate all moisture problems.
Since we know there are only 3 true sources of moisture in any crawl space, we should identify which sources your home is experiencing first. This is where a professional crawl space inspection is necessary. But if you’re a DIY type of person, you can identify the problem areas yourself.
Here are some things you can look for that are obvious sources of moisture: exposed ground (not covered by a vapor barrier), standing water, open foundation vents in the summer, watermarks on piers or walls, a thick layer of dirt on the plastic, condensation on ductwork, wet insulation, and more.
Crawl Space Wood Rot: Eliminate the Causes
The first and most important step to take when your home has developed wood rot is to control the moisture that allowed the wood to rot in the first place.
Our professional recommendation is to always address potential flooding in the crawl space first. If your home has flooded due to groundwater in the past, it’s likely to happen again in the future. If you don’t control potential future flooding, you risk having to replace any other moisture solutions when the next big storm arrives. Our tried-and-true crawl space drainage systems resolve flooding every time.
After flooding has been controlled, the next step is to control moisture from the damp earth. This is done by covering 100% of the ground with a Class A Vapor Barrier. For homeowners, we typically recommend a 12-mil or 20-mil Guardian Liner vapor barrier, which has a highly protective 10 year or 25-year warranty, respectively.
Finally, to 100% eliminate the causes of wood rot, we recommend our ‘Dry Space’ Crawl Space Encapsulation. We’ve perfected the art of crawl space encapsulation and guarantee to keep your crawl space moisture at healthy levels, throughout every season.
Crawl Space Wood Rot: The Best Solutions
Once the wood framing under your home is rotten, is needs to either by repaired or replaced. But first, it’s important to kill any wood destroying fungus that caused the rot in the first place.
Before performing any structural repairs on wood rot with wood destroying fungus, we will remove the floor insulation and perform a mold treatment to kill the wood eating fungus.
Next, we assess the condition of the framing for the best wood repairs. Many homes are unique so they might require custom repairs but here are the most common and most effective repair options:
Fasten a mirror image piece of wood to the rotten joist to add significant strength to the failing joist. A properly Sistered Joist is stronger than the joist was originally, before the wood rot.
Most beams that are rotten should be replaced. When replacing beams, the floors must be lifted to remove the old rotten beam and insert the new strong beam.
Some beams that are minimally rotten can be reinforced with structural steel. This can be especially useful when the floors above are prone to damage if they are lifted. Materials like glass, tile, granite are delicate and can crack when lifted.
Where the subfloor becomes soft and is not critically damaged from wood rot, adding subfloor support from below is a great option, that is non-invasive.
Once a large area of the subfloor is damaged, it should be replaced from above. This will require the flooring to be removed and the subfloor to be cut out from inside the house.
Entire Floor Structure Replacement
Sometimes the floor structure is too damaged to be repaired but needs to be replaced. This is true when the crawl space is difficult to access or dangerous due to the extent of the damage. Our professional technicians can remove and rebuild your entire floor structure if needed. This is a difficult and technical job requiring great hands-on expertise. Trust the experts.
Inspecting for Crawl Space Wood Rot
Our Expert Advisors are trained to identify the causes, signs, and best repair options for any crawl space wood rot solutions you might need. If you’re concerned about the integrity of your home, we offer free no-obligation, no-pressure inspections, and estimates.