Did you know that over 40% of the air that you breathe on the first floor of the home comes from the basement or crawlspace? Because of this, crawlspace waterproofing and encapsulation are essential to your family’s health.
A crawlspace is essentially a small basement. In homes with crawlspaces, the living area is so close to the crawlspace that moisture and unsafe air infiltrate the home, causing potential health hazards.
MOISTURE IN THE CRAWLSPACE
Many homes suffer from moisture control issues that floor rot due to the “chimney effect” where excess moisture from outside air enters into an unsealed cold crawlspace. It is this cold, moist air that rises to replace the dry air leaving your home. Damp, flooded, or wet crawl spaces can breed harmful molds and bacteria. Spiders and other bugs are attracted to dark wet places. Over time, standing water in your crawlspace will cause structural damage. Muddy soil, standing water, and wet walls are all signs that there is a moisture problem in your crawlspace.
WHY ADDRESS THE PROBLEM?
Most people never consider how dangerous and costly it is to have moisture in the crawlspace. Water can lead to mold and wood rot. Weakened wood beams can lead to hazardous flooring. Spores, fungus, mildew, or even toxic mold can grow and contaminate the air. Those musty smells are often ignored but can cause serious health problems if left untreated. The R-value of the insulation can decrease due to wet insulation. Moisture can wreak havoc on a house, creating an environment that is inviting to termites, insects, and wildlife.
WOOD MOISTURE LEVEL:
Wood Moisture Content is the weight of water in a piece of wood expressed as a percentage of oven dry weight of wood. Fresh cut trees can have a wood moisture content over 200%, while completely dried wood will have a wood moisture content of 0%. Wood in buildings usually has a wood moisture content of 5% to 15%.
A moisture meter should be used to measure the moisture content of the wood in the crawlspace. When high moisture exists in crawlspaces, it can support the growth of fungus and mold. A reading of 20% or higher signals that there is a moisture problem, which can support the growth of wood-decay fungi. The wood-decay fungus is a species of fungus that digests moist wood, causing it to deteriorate, weaken and rot.
HOW TO CONTROL MOISTURE?
- Install a moisture barrier with cross ventilation and plastic sheeting
- Crawlspace encapsulation
Having proper ventilation in your home for at least a few hours a day can greatly help to reduce indoor humidity.
- Air conditioning
- Replace Furnace / AC filters
- Take shorter or colder showers
- Line dry clothes outdoors
- Crack a window open
- Place houseplants outside
- Use your kitchen exhaust fans
FinishShield™ is a 16mm cross-laminated vapor barrier that is fire retardant. It is the most economical vapor barrier and a perfect solution if customers are going to install finished basement walls. Protects against moisture, mold, mildew, humidity, and potential wall leaks.
HD FinishShield™ is a 14mm, fire retardant wall vapor barrier. Recommended as a durable wall covering. It is perfect for basement walls where a customer may not finish right away but would like the protection against moisture, mold, mildew, humidity, and potential wall leaks.
ThermalShield™ is a foil faced wall vapor barrier that has double layers of bubbles and true white poly wall vapor barrier on the back. It is the wall vapor barrier of choice for adding additional insulation reflecting indoor heat back into the basement space. Save energy and protect against moisture, mold, mildew, humidity, and potential wall leaks.
The Santa Fe™ Dehumidifiers is a basement dehumidification system that helps turn your basement space into living space. The American Lung Association, American Medical Association, and the EPA recommend maintaining the relative humidity level in the 30% – 50% range. Ventilation and air conditioning alone cannot provide the protection offered by a high capacity dehumidifier like the Santa Fe™ Classic and other Santa Fe™ dehumidifier product line.
CrawlShield™ will prevent crawl space moisture from rising into the home or building and the following as well:
- Inhibits the migration of moisture and soil gas (radon)
- Greatly reduces condensation, mold growth, and poor air quality within a home or building
- Crawlspace can be used for storage, due to the high strength of CrawlShield™
- CrawlShield™ gives a crawlspace a bright clean look
- CrawlShield™ is absolutely the best product on the market for a crawl space application
- Professional installations of CrawlShield™ in about one day!
A vapor barrier is a barrier that is used to prevent or resist moisture from coming in through the walls, ceilings, and floors. It is normally in the form of a plastic or foil sheet. When installed, the vapor barrier creates an additional envelope of protection. This vapor barrier is what helps protect your home from the weather. By installing a vapor barrier, you can save energy, thus lowering your heating bill during the winter and keeping your home cool and comfortable during the summer. You know you have an energy-efficient home when the environment is comfortable and safe for the family. Best of all, you can’t beat the feeling of saving money that you originally threw away on your heating bill.
If you find that your home has certain areas where the heat doesn’t reach in the winter or certain areas that just can’t get cool in the summer, it’s time to strongly consider getting a vapor barrier. By choosing a high quality, durable vapor barrier for your walls, it will direct water straight into the drainage systems, keeping it away from studs, sheetrock, or paneling.
If you want to fully protect your basement from dampness, consider getting a basement dehumidifier and a sump pump. The dehumidifier reduces the levels of vapor in the air, ensuring that moisture never accumulates. On the other hand, a sump pump keeps your basement dry by drawing liquid away from your basement and diverting it outdoors. The sump pump can also handle large volumes of water that a flooding incident may have brought in.
If you’re looking for expert dehumidification service in Fairfax, Alexandria, and Arlington, VA, contact Summit Waterproofing. We offer various moisture control services, as well as sump pump installation and basement waterproofing. Call us today at 703-551-4602 and receive a free estimate.