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Crawl Space Repair & Encapsulation

The crawl space under your house may be out of sight, but it should not be out of your mind. A lot more could be going in the crawl space than you realize.

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Have you noticed musty odors in your home but can’t pinpoint where they are coming from? Do your floors feel like they are sagging, bouncy, or uneven? Have you spotted more bugs in your home than usual? These issues indicate the presence of crawl space problems. Many southern homes in areas like Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, and Savannah were built with a crawl space foundation. While this helps to elevate the home and give it a buffer between the ground, a crawl space can be a volatile environment impacting the rest of the home. Your home could sustain structural damage and your family’s health could be in danger if mold and pest droppings are present. 


Causes of Crawl Space Damage

Your home could have been having these problems since day one. The biggest cause of crawl space issues has to do with the way your home and crawl space were constructed.

Crawl spaces typically have dirt crawl floors that are not covered. Simply placing a 6-mil plastic liner on the floor, which is a minimal code requirement, will not cut it. This liner is thin, allows water and moisture to collect, mold to grow and thrive, and leads to a variety of damage. Other liners with thicknesses of 10 and 12-mil are only slightly better, but they still can easily tear and fail.

Water and moisture also can have a significant impact inside your home, as well. If you have a dirt crawl space with open vents, this allows outside air, water, and pests inside the crawl space directly underneath your house to cause a host of problems. More than 50% of the air you’re breathing indoors comes from below-grade areas like crawl spaces. So, whatever is in your crawl space such as mold, moisture, and humidity, also is in the rest of your house and affecting you.

One example of a structural impact is with the support system under your house. If wooden support systems become saturated with water or exposed to high humidity and excessive moisture, they can rot and buckle. Metal supports also will corrode and rust in the same conditions. All this then leads to sagging, uneven floors and problems with hardwood floors. 

The stack effect is the airflow pattern in your house from bottom to top. Air pressure also comes into play. Air flows from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure. When there is a greater difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the more significant this airflow becomes.

True, you can’t actually see airflow, but it might be helpful to have a way to visualize the stack effect to better understand it. Your home certainly is not located in the northern portion of the country, but a lot of good information can be gained from The Cold Climate Housing Research Center’s YouTube videos, including “Your Nothern Home: Stack Effect” that illustrates the stack effect. 

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Is Crawl Space Repair and Encapsulation the Right Solution for Me? 

Most crawl spaces have open vents when they are built. This traditional practice was meant to allow air to freely enter and exit the crawl space in order to curb problems like mold growth and moisture and humidity buildup. Foundation experts have more recently found the reverse to be true, however, and that those problems often stem from vented dirt crawl spaces. 

While having a vented dirt crawl space underneath homes is common throughout areas in South Carolina and nearby, its side effects are far from safe. Because of the region’s wet, humid subtropical climate, unstable crawl space conditions can lead to structural instability and health problems. 

To combat these issues, it is important to invest in quality crawl space repair and encapsulation solutions such as vapor barriers, vent covers, interior drainage systems, sump pumps, and dehumidifiers. To get started with creating a safer and healthier home, contact our experienced and friendly team at Mount Valley Foundation Services today to schedule your free inspection and repair estimate

FAQs

We are committed to your satisfaction and your home’s safety. That is why we only use the very best repair solutions. The products we use are manufactured right here in the United States, and they are tested and proven to effectively work in keeping your crawl space clean, dry, safe and healthy. All these solutions also are designed to work together to give you the most bang for your buck and prevent any further problems. 

Here is how we tackle crawl space problems, as well as the solutions we use and how they work: 

  • Address Leaking Water — To address seeping water, we first need to catch the water, then get this water to a sump pump system, and then send this water away from the home.  

    Our specially designed CrawlDrain™ perimeter drainage system is placed in the dirt crawl space floor around the perimeter to catch seeping water from the walls and floor. The drainage channels then direct this water into the SafeDri™ Crawl Space Sump Pump System, which then pumps the water out of the crawl space and away from the home.  A FreezeGuard™ also can be attached to the exterior sump pump discharge line to prevent flooding if the line should freeze or become blocked. 
  • Seal the Crawl Space from Outside Elements — It is important to seal your crawl space from outside air, water and pests. The first step is having durable vent covers placed over the crawl space vents. 
     
    Then, a heavy-duty moisture and vapor barrier is installed. Our CrawlSeal™ is a true 20-mil liner rated above 25-mil strength at the seams. This liner, which is three times thicker than builder’s grade liner, is used to completely isolate the crawl space from the earth. CrawlSeal™ prevents moisture and vapor intrusion, is waterproof, and has been treated to resist mold. 
     
    Additionally, thick drainage matting can be placed on the crawl space floor before the encapsulation process to help direct water to the perimeter CrawlDrain™ system, as well as enhance the strength of the CrawlSeal™ liner. 
     
  • Properly Insulate the Crawl Space — Rigid ExTremeBloc™ panels placed on crawl space walls will better insulate the area and will not fail or develop mold like fiberglass insulation. These panels resist moisture, and an integrated termiticide is added to deter termites below grade. CrawlSeal™ also helps insulate the crawl space, and spray foam can be added to rim joists to seal gaps around the perimeter of your foundation. These insulation methods help prevent wood rot and enable termite treatments. 
     
  • Condition the Air — Our low-profile crawl space dehumidifier is powerful and energy efficient. It effectively works to clean and filter the air, control moisture and humidity, and reduce odors and potential mold growth. This dehumidifier also is self-draining, meaning there aren’t any reservoirs or buckets to have to worry about emptying. The unit can be directed to drain into the crawl space perimeter drainage system or sump pump system, or a condensate pump can be installed. 
     
  • Reinforce Support Systems — Wooden floor supports and light-duty jack posts commonly fail in wet and humid crawl spaces. Our durable IntelliJacks™ are made of galvanized steel, making them more reliable supports that can stabilize and lift sagging floors and floor joists back to level. 

When you contact us, you can speak to one of our customer care representatives about your crawl space concerns. We will then work with you to schedule an appointment for a free inspection and estimate with one of our certified field inspectors.  

Here’s what you can expect during this consultation. The inspector will:  

  • Complete a thorough evaluation of your home’s interior and exterior. This includes going into the crawl space to check the condition of the area including any water intrusion, damage, pests, etc.  
  • Discuss his findings with you, as well as your goals with a repair project.  
  • Offer customized solutions that best fit your repair needs.  
  • Provide you with a proposal of recommended solutions before leaving your house.  
  • Discuss payment and financing options with you. 

Then, if you decide to move forward with a repair project, we will work to schedule your repairs with one of our highly trained installation crews. Our crew members will treat your home as their own, with the utmost care and respect. They will use world-class solutions for your repairs, and their work is not complete until you are 100% satisfied with the job. If something crops up after installation, we will return to fix any issues. We also offer various service and maintenance opportunities to protect our work and your home.  

Along with writing a review about your experience with us, it would mean the world to us if you would refer us to your friends and family! 

Now that you’ve seen what nastiness could be lurking underneath your feet and the toll it can take on your home and your family, aren’t you motivated to get rid of it? As tempting as it might be to head out to your local home improvement store to gather supplies, pause for a moment.  

Crawl space repair is not something you can tackle in a weekend, no matter how handy you are. A lot can go wrong, and we have seen many problems result from fast fixes. Especially concerning real estate transactions, quick fixes can raise red flags. You’ll then have to spend more time and money to repair these issues. It’s best to leave these projects to professional contractors so the problems will be fixed correctly the first time around. 

We encourage you to educate yourself to make the best decision and sound investment with trustworthy repair solutions from a reliable contractor. 

Why would you want disgusting conditions underneath your home? That alone should be enough for you to want to correct the problems. But you might be wondering, “what’s in it for me?” A lot, actually. There are so many benefits of having a clean crawl space, which you can read about in our blog, “10 Reasons to Clean Your Crawl Space This Season.” Here are a few of the major perks:  

  • Health — A cleaner crawl space means improved health for you and your family. Especially if anyone in your house suffers from asthma or allergies, a cleaner crawl space can help prevent flare-ups and sickness. If you choose solutions like a dehumidifier, the air quality will be greatly improved throughout the entire home. 
  • Structural Integrity — Compromised support systems and sagging floors are dangerous and could result in significant structural damage and safety hazards. By shoring up the support system in your home, you will have a more stable living environment for your family. 
  • Energy Efficiency — When you invest in proper, reliable crawl space encapsulation and insulation to reduce energy loss, you can save between 30 and 50% on your energy bills. (Source: Clean Crawls)
  • Functional Space — Once your crawl space has been properly waterproofed, sealed and insulated, you have an area of your home you can use in a new way. You’ll be able to store your belongings in the crawl space without worrying about them being damaged by water, mold or pests. 
  • Real Estate Value — There are a lot of factors that impact a home’s resale value, but issues with the structure, any water intrusion and crawl space problems are all areas you need to be aware of. When selling your house, it is important to disclose any known past or current damage. This sets clear expectations regarding the quality and condition of the home. Homeowners selling their house in South Carolina are required to provide a written disclosure statement to the purchaser noting any known defects. This includes information on the foundation, basement and other structural components, as well as current or prior infestations of wood destroying insects or organisms. (Source: Nolo

If you take a look online for instructions on how to fix your crawl space vapor barrier, you will find there are many DIY tutorials available. Many homeowners think installing a vapor barrier will not take long and won’t be too complicated. After all, it is possible to purchase all the materials you need to do it yourself at your local expert supply store. 

At Mount Valley Foundation Services, we have installed many crawl space vapor barriers over the years. We can tell you that this is not an easy task, and it is not something that many people can figure out just by watching an online tutorial. If anything goes wrong or you make a mistake, you will still have to contact a professional to complete the task. Therefore it is best to contact our team and have your new vapor barrier installed by members of the oldest foundation services companies in all of South Carolina. 

Contractors once believed that placing vents on the walls of crawl spaces would help improve the airflow in these dark and humid areas. But over the years, we have learned that crawl space vents do more harm than good. They allow moisture to enter into the crawl space, which can promote mold growth and affect the internal temperature of your home, causing your energy rates to rise. 

Crawl space vent covers are the ideal solution to this problem, and they do not take long for our professionals to install. Our crawl space vent covers are made from solid and durable materials, and they are designed to prevent moisture and pests from entering your crawl space. 

If you think you could benefit from installing our vent covers, get in touch with us at Mount Valley Foundation Services today. 

Why Crawl Space Repair and Encapsulation Are Needed 

As we have mentioned, your home and family can be significantly impacted by crawl space problems. Here are just a few ways you can benefit from trusted, permanent repairs: 

open crawl space vent

Avoid Exposure to the Elements

Vented crawl spaces are open to exterior elements prevalent in the region including summertime heat and humidity, year-round precipitation, and coastal storms. Your crawl space can easily flood or sustain other water or moisture-related damage. But with airtight vent covers, waterproofing measures, and encapsulation with a vapor barrier, your crawl space can stand up to the toughest weather challenges. 

sagging crawl space

Prevent Structural Damage and Instability

Your crawl space most likely contains your home’s support system made up of beams, girders, and floor joists. Excessive water and moisture within the crawl space can attack these wooden structures in the form of wood rot. Termites also can find their way inside and feast on wooden joists and other supports. These problems can be seen and felt in sagging, uneven floors that are not properly supported. Proper crawl space encapsulation with moisture control measures can save your wooden supports, and specialized crawl space support jacks can stabilize and help lift sagging floor joists. 

crawl space encapsulation

Create an Unappealing Environment for Pests

Pests like bugs and small animals love nothing more than an isolated, dark, moist area like your crawl space to call home. Crawl space encapsulation acts as a moisture control measure that reduces pests’ interest in the space. Plus, solutions including airtight vent covers and doors, a thick vapor barrier, and durable, termiticide-integrated insulation panels help make it difficult for pests to access your crawl space. 

Common Crawl Space Repair and Encapsulation Tips & Mistakes 

Mistakes to Avoid: 

  • Installing Sand and Fans: Sand is often used to help sop up liquids. But spreading sand in a crawl space, especially in areas like Charleston and Columbia with naturally sandy soil, will only cover up the water and soil. This does not remove water or moisture or address how it got into your crawl space. Fans also are sometimes installed in crawl spaces to help dry and move the air around. But this only makes the problem of unconditioned, humid air quality and circulation worse. 
  • Investing in Improper or Partial Encapsulation – It may be tempting to want to save money on fixing an area you hardly ever see, but it’s important to have reliable products installed in your crawl space. Some companies or hardware stores sell liners that are only enough to cover your crawl space floor or wall, not the entire area. And many offer thin vapor barriers that meet minimum requirements of 6-mil thickness. These liners can attract moisture and mold as well as easily rip and sustain other damage. 
  • Installing Other DIY Solutions: Crawl spaces are both delicate and dangerous. They are tight areas that may contain essentials like plumbing, ductwork, and HVAC systems, as well as hazards like mold and pests. It can be difficult to access your crawl space, let alone install repairs on your own. Many DIY solutions available at big box stores are temporary and do not tackle the root of your crawl space problems 

Tips to Consider: 

  • Maintain Exterior Protective Measures: Protecting your crawl space with internal solutions is critical, but it’s also important to check on and maintain systems outside your home. Your gutters and downspouts are your first line of defense in keeping excess water and moisture away from your crawl space. Inspect and clean these fixtures at least twice a year – in the spring and fall. You also should make sure the downspouts and their extensions are angled down and far enough away from the foundation to prevent pooling water. The same goes for the grading of your yard and landscaping. It needs to be positively graded and slope down and away from your home. 
  • Do Not Venture into Your Crawl Space: Even without problems like mold and pests, your crawl space can be a hazardous area. These spaces are generally one to three feet high, making them difficult to navigate. Important fixtures like plumbing pipes and HVAC equipment also may be housed in this area. If you notice signs that point to crawl space problems, err on the side of caution and avoid going into your crawl space. 
  • Trust Local Experts with Crawl Space Inspections and Repairs: Rather than risk injury or damage, it is best to leave any crawl space work to experienced professionals. Our team at Mount Valley Foundation Services is highly trained and well-versed in how to safely inspect crawl spaces, accurately diagnose crawl space problems, and recommend and install the solutions best suited for your home’s needs. 

Find your service area

Columbia, SC

Columbia, SC

The area around Columbia has some of the hottest temperatures in the state. When you add humidity, it can affect basements, crawl spaces, or concrete slabs in a very serious way.

Greenville, SC

Greenville, SC

Like most parts of South Carolina, Greenville’s hot, humid weather means you’re probably struggling with some sort of foundation issue. Mount Valley Foundation Services can help.

Charleston, SC

Charleston, SC

The hot, humid weather, plus being situated along Charleston Harbor, can spell disaster for homeowners with water management problems. Identify and fix the problem quickly.

Savannah, GA

Savannah, GA

Savannah’s location is near both the Savannah River and the Atlantic Ocean, plus its problematic clay soil means structural issues are common. Mount Valley Foundation Services can help!

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    CHARLESTON LOCATION

    1850 Ashley River Rd
    Charleston, SC 29407

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    Cayce, SC 29033

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    Spartanburg, SC 29306