The bottom line is you don’t want a dark, musty, mold and mildew growing factory, and you don’t want warm or cold air flow under there for energy efficiency reasons. With RamJack Crawl Shield, you control the humidity and the air flow.
TYPES OF CRAWL SPACES and how they were designed to work
The two main reasons for building a house with a crawl space are cost savings and ground water problems. It is just a fact that it is less expensive to build a house with a crawl space than one with a basement. In our area basements are usually not an option. And although it is cheaper to build a crawl space house, it is more expensive to heat and cool.Other design benefits were to allow air flow under the home to help cool it in the summer (before air conditioning was invented or affordable), and to allow access to utilities under the home like water pipes (still possible with the enclosed Crawl Shield system). The Open Crawl Space
An open crawl space in our area is often only twelve to eighteen inches above the ground with open sides allowing for as much air flow as possible (as well easy access for insects, rodents, raccoon and snakes). These types are very inefficient for heating and cooling purposes. Some open crawl spaces have been enclosed to keep critters from going under the home; however, they offer little protection from insects and rodents. With this type of open crawl space, the more enclosed they become the more they may actually promote mold and mildew growth as well as insect and rodent intrusions, all of which love dark, damp spaces. The Concrete Floor Crawl Space
This type of open crawl space is not as common as the others and does have a few advantages as well as disadvantages. Obviously this type of crawl space is more costly to build, but it does offer some durable storage space. These types are less likely to have an odor problem; however, they have little or no value when it comes to stopping moisture penetration since they usually do not have a vapor barrier between the ground and the concrete. We do not advocate adding a concrete floor to an existing structure with a dirt floor crawl space. The Encapsulated Crawl Space
The purpose of encapsulating a crawl space is to gain control over the environment under the home, as well as within. A quality vapor barrier consisting of a high quality reinforced, tear-resistant, waterproof, antimicrobial polyethylene is what works. Along with this material barrier, all plumbing, supports, walls, rim joists and sill plates are completely sealed. Once your crawl space is sealed, it becomes part of your home, keeping the outside air out, and the conditioned air in. The air will be cleaner and dryer. A sealed crawl space will help keep the floors warmer in the winter, keep allergy and asthma aggravating bacteria out, and protect the wood structure of the home. Plus, the air conditioner and heater will run less, saving you money! PROBLEMS AND SYMPTOMS of the Old Crawl Space Design
Many crawl spaces are not much different than a dark, damp, smelly, and musty cave (including the bugs and critters that live in them), with one major difference…the crawl space contains a whole bunch of wood to feed and encourage even more growth and more critters. These conditions breed mold and mildew. Throw in a nice breeze to blow these contaminates up into the house and you have a recipe for a house full of allergens and a deteriorating wood structure. Crawl spaces are also prone to flooding as they are the lowest point not only under the house, but around it as well. Water flows to the lowest point and then seeps up through the ground into the crawl space. Add unseen plumbing problems and you may have a pool of disgusting bacteria down there. If air-conditioning ductwork has been added under the home, it will sweat (along with water pipes). This is accelerated by the warm air that enters the crawl space through the vents. When it meets the cooler pipes and duct-work, it creates even more humidity. You get the picture. Now all that’s needed is some floor insulation so the critters have a place to nest. Dark, damp, and musty usually means mold, mildew, fungus spores, insects, rodents, allergies, wood rot, settling foundation and more.
Symptoms of Crawl Space Problems
- Mold, Mildew, Fungus
- Wood Rot
- Termites, Carpenter Ants, Powder Post Beetles
- Cold Floors
- Moisture Build up
- Sweating pipes & Ductwork
- Cracks in the foundation blocks
- Uneven or warping floors
These are the symptoms, not the problems. We need to fix the problems and then seal the crawl space so the symptoms go away for good. Crawl Space Problems Some of the Typical Crawl Space Problems
- Open to warm and cold air flow from outside
- Enclosed just enough to make it a dark space
- Facilitates the accumulation of humidity
- Ground water seeping up into the space
- Leaking plumbing (fresh water and sewage pipes)
- Water draining into the crawl space from around the home (rain, water hose, irrigation system, etc)
WHY FIX the Crawl Space? In a nutshell…Protect your family from possible in-home air contaminates like mold, mildew and fungus spores…Protect your home from wood rot, termites, insects, rodents and possible foundation failure…Save significantly on your heating and cooling bills.