How to Keep Your Crawl Space Clean and Moisture Free
“Cleanliness is next to godliness.”
— Hebrew proverb
Crawl Space Cleaning Tips
Keeping your home’s crawl space clean is good for you and your family’s health. Dirt, mold and pest droppings from a dirty crawl space get into the home’s air, especially if you have ductwork running through it. Hiring a pro for crawl space cleaning is a good move if you’ve got moisture buildup, a settling foundation, insulation issues, or insect and rodent damage. Otherwise, here are several steps you can take to keep your home crawl space clean and moisture free.
Keep Moisture Out
Preventing moisture or even dampness from getting into your home’s crawl space is the best first step to keeping the area clean. The ground underneath and around your home contains water. Ideally, the water should be absorbed back into the environment but seepage happens.
The big trouble starts when water amasses close to wood, causing mold, rot and warping. When left untreated, excessive moisture can damage the value of your home. Mold can quickly spread and pollute your home’s air.
Moisture control starts outside your home. For instance, you can make sure your rain gutters are in good shape, draining water away from your home. You can make sure your drains are clear and draining properly. If not, installing a drainage system around your home is generally a small investment to prevent water damage.
Inspect and Clean Your Crawl Space
Once you’ve detected and prevented external dampness, you’ll be able to review the home’s crawl space itself. If you have soil floors, the soil may be an entry point for moisture, insects or rodents. Inspect to see if your home has any of these issues. One of the most serious issues is stagnant water. If you find a pool of stagnant water, consult a professional.
After you’ve made sure the space is clear of safety hazards, get that crawl space clean and clear of old insulation, sharp rocks and other debris. If you have dirt floors, it’s time to consider installing a vapor barrier. Without a vapor barrier, moisture seeping through the soil can lead to electrical shorts, plumbing damage and mold. A crawl space encapsulation system includes crawl space cleaning, crawl space insulation and vapor barrier installation.
Block Rodents and Ventilate
After all that work cleaning your crawl space, you want to make sure it stays clean. Ensure any entry points for little critters are closed off. Splits, creases, even the tiny ones, can be big enough for mice and cockroaches. Protect your hard work by blocking any gap wider than your pinky finger.
At the same time, you need to make sure your home’s crawl space still has ventilation. Give it a chance to breathe. A vapor barrier is a great solution for permitting ventilation while keeping nuisances out.
Insulate Your Crawl Space
The old-fashioned way of insulating a crawl space was to install fiberglass batt insulation between exposed joists. Fiberglass is cheaper than other types of insulation and also widely available. However, fiberglass insulation has a tendency to absorb moisture, support mold, harbor mice, and sag or fall out of place.
The best insulation material for your home’s crawl space is rigid foam insulation board. Instead of installing the foam insulation between floor joists in the crawl space, foam is installed in a thin layer against crawl space foundation walls. Unlike fiberglass, foam insulation does not absorb water, support mold, or allow air to pass through (providing that joints between boards are sealed with tape).
Appropriate protection helps control the temperature of your home’s crawl space and your home. During summer and winter, uninsulated crawl spaces are one of the biggest energy wasting offenders. You can make your home cleaner and more energy efficient with a protected crawl space.
If you’re worried about the state of your home’s crawl space, we can give you a no-obligation home inspection. Call or contact Weinstein Construction today. We offer the full spectrum of crawl space repair, crawl space cleaning and crawl space encapsulation services.