You might not think about it much, but your crawl space does, indeed, exist. What’s more, it requires attention from time to time to ensure that it’s thriving.
See, a damaged crawl space can affect real estate value, thus costing you money when you try to sell your home. To what extent can a crawl space issue affect value?
This article has you covered! Not only are we going to discuss crawl space moisture issues but also crawl space repair and more. Without further ado, here’s your ultimate guide for crawl space issues.
What is a crawl space?
Let’s start by answering the simple question: what is a crawl space? A crawl space is a small unfinished area within the confines of a house. It’s generally tight and cramped and often requires that you crawl through it to navigate it physically.
Crawl spaces provide a barrier between a home and the damp ground outside. They help keep the finished parts of a home dry, allowing air to circulate below the home undisturbedly. This air circulation allows for greater insulation and moisture reduction.
Crawl spaces are also beneficial in that they provide space for ductwork, plumbing, and electrical wiring. They enable service providers to easily access these entities, providing as much convenience as possible.
Not all homes have crawl spaces. Some have basements. And others are built on top of a concrete slab.
But if you do have a crawl space, you need to take measures to maintain it. If you don’t, a number of problems can crop up. We’ll get into these problems in more detail below.
How crawl space issues affect your home value
Crawl space issues run the gamut from mold growth to pest infestations to uneven floors and more. As you might expect, all of these problems have the potential to affect a home’s value negatively.
What would you do if your prospective home had a pest infestation in its crawl space? In all likelihood, you would be looking for a price reduction.
If the floors were uneven, you would expect an even bigger reduction. That’s not a cheap problem to fix, after all.
The fact of the matter is that a damaged crawl space is a liability. No one is going to pay the optimal price for a liability. In other words, as the seller of your home, if you have a damaged crawl space, you will miss out on money.
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This is why, prior to putting your home on the market, you need to strongly consider repairing the problems in your crawl space. Depending on what those problems are, you could be saving thousands and maybe even tens of thousands of dollars.
How to fix crawl space issues
Now, you’re probably wondering how to fix crawl space foundation issues. Of course, this depends on the specifics of the problem. So, to get you started, let’s review several common problems below.
1. Uneven floors
One of the most troubling crawl space issues you can come across is the issue of uneven floors. This generally presents itself as a floor that dips and sags.
What causes it? Deteriorated floor joints and columns, not to mention standard crawl space settling. What causes this? Moisture!
So, if you want to prevent this problem from happening, you have to get rid of the moisture that makes its way into your crawl space. This can be done through crawl space encapsulation.
Crawl space encapsulation entails placing a waterproof barrier around the edges of the crawl space. It also includes sealing vents and insulating the walls of the crawl space.
Of course, you’ll also need to repair the deteriorated columns and floor joints. Until these are repaired or replaced, your floors will continue to sag, and likely worsen over time.
2. Water in the crawl space
Crawl space moisture issues are extremely common. After all, the crawl space is right next to the soil, which holds tremendous amounts of groundwater. Crawl space water issues are almost an inevitability.
The issue is that water can wreak absolute havoc on a crawl space and the house that surrounds it. Not only can it result in mold growth and musty smells but structural damage as well.
Therefore, you must do everything you can to keep your crawl space moisture-free. This starts with the encapsulation of your crawl space. It’s then supplemented with things like dehumidifier installation and sump pump installation.
3. Mold issues
Simply put, crawl spaces are hotbeds for mold. Because they take on water on a regular basis, and because they’re dark, they’re practically the perfect place for mold to thrive. Therefore, it’s almost certain that, at some point, you’re going to have mold growth in your crawl space.
Now, you might be thinking: so what? You can’t see it, so what difference does it make? But mold can have a number of negative effects outside of an unpleasant aesthetic.
For one, mold smells bad. Rest assured, that smell will make its way into your home.
For two, mold can cause crawl space health issues. Therefore, if it’s present in your crawl space, you could find yourself prone to fits of sneezing, coughing, sore throat, and more.
This is why we strongly advise removing mold from your crawl space. Even more, we recommend encapsulating your crawl space to prevent further mold growth in the future.
4. Rotten smell
Does your home carry a rotten and musty odor? This is often referred to as the “old house smell”. Where does it come from? In most cases, the crawl space.
As was noted above, as a crawl space is exposed to more and more moisture, it attracts mold. The more this mold accumulates, the stronger and smellier the odor it releases.
As you might expect, the smell produced in the crawl space tends to waft up into the home’s first floor. So, if there’s mold in the crawl space, the home itself is going to smell old and musty.
The fix? First of all, you need to get rid of the mold. Then, you need to take measures to waterproof your crawlspace. This includes sealing vents, applying a vapor barrier, adding a sump pump, installing a dehumidifier, and more.
5. Pest infestation
Crawl spaces are particularly prone to pest infestations. This stands to reason, as they’re cold, wet, and uninhabited places where insects can find refuge and feel comfortable.
But insects, unfortunately, can cause several problems after they’ve worked their way into a crawl space. Some of these insects will gnaw at the wooden support beams within your crawl space, causing structural damage and resulting in sagging floors. Other insects will spread disease, making your home a potentially dangerous place.
Therefore, they need to be done away with. First, call up a pest control company. Once they’ve eradicated the insects in your crawl space, consider encapsulating your crawl space.
Encapsulating your crawl space will make it much more difficult for insects to work their way into it. Plus, it will be less attractive to insects, so they’ll be less likely to go there anyway.
6. Cold Floors
Another problem that a crawl space can cause is the problem of cold floors. When a crawl space isn’t properly insulated, the air within it can travel upward. During the cold months of the year, this, of course, makes the floor cold.
The solution? Insulation! Make sure that your crawl space is adequately insulated and you’ll never have to worry about this problem ever again.
7. High energy bills
The last problem we’re going to discuss is the problem of high energy bills. Why might a crawl space cause energy bills to skyrocket? It all comes down to a lack of insulation.
As noted, the air in the crawl space will rise into the home above. Therefore, if you’re trying to, for example, heat your home to counteract cold outside, a non-insulated crawl space will negate some of your efforts.
To make up for this, your heating system will work even harder. This, of course, will result in greater energy usage and, therefore, higher energy bills.
The remedy is simple: insulate your crawl space.
Sell your home today
As you can see, crawl space issues can have quite a negative effect on a home’s overall value. Therefore, before you put your house up for sale, you’re strongly advised to repair your crawl space.
Looking to sell your home today? iBuyer.com has you covered. Get started by requesting a home valuation!