The Dangers of Dirt Crawl Spaces
For hundreds of years, houses have been built over dirt crawl spaces because it was easy and relatively inexpensive. It’s only recently that scientific evidence has proven what a mistake this practice has been. Dirt crawl spaces contribute to a wide variety of potentially unhealthful conditions, as well as serious economic considerations.
Health and Economic Implications of Dirt Crawl Spaces
Mold and Fungus
Dirt crawl spaces provide a dark, damp, dirty environment that is rich in organic materials. These are exactly the conditions needed for molds, fungi, and other microbes to thrive. Many of these molds and fungi can cause illness or irritation as their spores drift up into the home’s living space. (Individuals with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions are especially vulnerable.) Homes infected with molds and fungus are also much more difficult to sell, often requiring costly remediation prior to closing the deal.
The same conditions that contribute to the growth of molds and fungus also provide an ideal environment for the microorganisms that cause wood rot. In fact, an entire industry has grown around replacing rotting floor joists, sill plates, sub floors, and other rotten timbers. Because the rest of the house is built on top of these structural members, replacing them is very, very expensive. The CleanSpace™ solution can save many thousands of dollars years down the road by correcting the conditions that cause wood to rot.
Damage to Stored Belongings
Probably the only good thing about a crawl space is that it gives you a place to store your stuff. But storing your belongings in an unencapsulated dirt crawl space can lead to their being destroyed by water, mold, mildew, and rot. Not only that, but who wants to crawl across a dirt floor every time you need to store something? The CleanSpace™ solution helps prevent damage to stored belongings by correcting the conditions that lead to mold, mildew, and rot — and also provides a clean surface to crawl across.
Increased Energy Costs and Relative Humidity
For many years, dirt crawl spaces were vented based on the false belief that the vents would allow moisture to escape. But we now know that vents actually increase relative humidity by allowing hot air in during the summer and cold air in during the winter, which causes condensation on pipes and ductwork while significantly increasing your overall energy costs. The CleanSpace™ solution seals old-fashioned, energy-wasting vents, which increases energy efficiency and reduces relative humidity.
Many homes built over dirt crawl spaces suffer from near-constant water problems due to seepage through the floors and walls.This standing water can cause odors, encourage microbes, damage stored belongings, and increase pest problems. As part of the CleanSpace™ solution, we can correct crawl space water problems, if necessary, by installing proper drainage, our patented SuperSump™ air-tight sump pump, and/or our patented SmartDrain™ system.
Subterranean Termites (shown on the left), carpenter ants, and many other destructive pests favor dark, damp environments such as those provided by dirt crawl spaces. Pest management specialists agree that eliminating conditions conducive to pest infestation is an important step in their control. The CleanSpace™ solution can help prevent pest problems by correcting conditions that are favorable to pest infestation.
The CleanSpace™ Solution
Until now, the only way to address the problems caused by dirt crawl spaces was pouring a concrete floor. This method is expensive and imperfect because it doesn’t address moisture seeping in through the walls, and because concrete, cement block and wood are all hygroscopic. That means that they readily absorb water and allow it to pass through, mainly by capillary action. In addition, concrete often cracks due to seasonal expansion and contraction.
Another ineffective “solution” to excessive crawl space moisture (and all that comes with it) is the use of a poly vapor barrier. This is really nothing more than a 6-mil thick sheet of plastic laid out over the dirt.
Ordinary polyethylene vapor barriers are ineffective because they ignore moisture seeping in through the walls, and because ordinary 6-mil polyethylene degrades over time and tears easily, rendering whatever little protection it may have offered worthless. The CleanSpace system, on the other hand, encapsulates your crawl space using a tough, seven-layer, fiber-reinforced barrier that will last for decades.
In short, the CleanSpace™ system provides the most economical and effective solution to crawl space woes. Want to know more? Please click here to learn how the CleanSpace™ system can help protect both your health and your investment in your home.