The Issue of Moisture
As much as 50% of the air in your home comes directly from the basement or crawlspace, bringing any available moisture and contaminates into your home from below.
In the South Eastern United Stated, unfinished and open-vented crawlspaces are highly susceptible to high moisture levels from the earth, and the outside air. As a result, this excess moisture intrusion can cause many issues in the crawlspace:
- Mold growth on the subfloor and floor joists
- Attractive environment to pests, spiders, termites, and various insects.
- Swelling or buckling floors.
- Sweating and damp ductwork; direct moisture intrusion.
- Thermal and moisture pressure on HVAC System
- Galvanized duct and boot rusting.
- Mold-ridden and heavy, damp fiberglass insulation that often falls from the subfloor.
The Stack Effect
The effects of a nasty, damp crawlspace can be felt and seen in the home. The Stack Effect is a principle of physics describing the behavior of air, and its movement toward a less concentrated space. This explains the vacuum pull upward, into your home, that causes crawlspace moisture and pollutants to be a concern. Crawlspace air makes its way into the home above, through any nook it can, bringing with it:
- airborne mold
- gaseous vapors
These various micro organisms and debris circulate throughout the home, landing on walls, ceilings, furniture, interior ductwork, and other personal items.
Note: The mold inside your home does not have to be growing actively within the home to be within the air makeup; it can grow inside the crawlspace and ascend into the home.
Step 1: Crawlspace Mold Removal:
To fully fix crawlspace moisture issues, you must remove mold and moisture damage, then stop moisture intrusion at the sources:
We begin every job with airborne decontamination, using safe botanical disinfectants. This helps much of the airborne contaminates to fall to the ground.
HEPA air scrubbing machines are used in the home to mitigate any excess air intrusion during labor. Negative Air systems are set up to remove airborne particulate and mold from the crawlspace.
We remove any fiberglass insulation and rusted support rods, securely bag it, and transport it to the landfill.
Our technicians evaluate which physical tools are best for mold removal from the floor joists and subfloor. We use an advanced Hydrogen Peroxide to draw mold from the wood, allowing us to aggressively clean the subfloor and joists. (Visible stain removal is not guaranteed, as using Bleach-based products in closed spaces can be very dangerous for technicians.)
We repeat our safe botanical disinfectant airborne on the new cleaned subfloor.
Note: Fiberglass insulation cannot be cleaned, and supports mold growth. (Currently, the use of fiberglass in crawlspaces is being phased out due to these findings)
Throughout the process, our technicians actively search for other issues, such as:
- downed electrical wires
- downed/damaged duct work.
- disconnected plumbing pipes/fittings
- foundation failures / wood rot
- cracks and intrusion points on foundation walls
- intrusion points from crawlspace into home.
We will note these instances for the client and take photos. Carolina Mold Solutions is a mold remediation specialist; we are not certified in HVAC, plumbing, or foundation repair.
The foundation vents are sealed with an industrial thermal adhesive; this prevents moisture intrusion from outside. This black “K-Flex” material blends in seamlessly with your vent covers.
The Vapor Barrier Liner
No two vapor barriers are made the same.
We use an industry leading anti-microbial vapor barrier to separate your crawlspace from the earth, isolating moisture within the soil and protecting your home; its durability is comparable to a swimming pool liner, giving you the best moisture protection.
The barrier is secured snug around columns and extended up the foundation walls (distance up walls dependent on individual job needs).
The seams between large pieces are overlapped one foot, and secured with air-sealing tape made specifically for our vapor barrier. The barrier is secured on the foundation walls with secure shallow wall fasteners.
Note: any previous existing vapor barrier will be removed from the crawlspace pre-installation.
Discuss with us what special requirements your crawlspace or basement needs:
- SPF Spray foam can provide extra thermal and moisture insulation along the foundation walls if needed.
- Wrapped piers with vapor barrier may be useful depending on soil type, to prevent humidity intrusion.
- Basin dredging prep for sub-contractor sump-pump installation.
- Sub-barrier Drainage matting is sometime needed on rockier and rougher ground, to allow for comfortable movement over vapor barrier.
- New Crawlspace doors: sometimes the previous doors are rusted off, non-sealing, or simply not there! We can provide a secure weather-resistant and thermally insulated option that easily installs around the existing door frame.
Sealed crawlspaces need to be conditioned to prevent stagnation, and to mitigate against small amounts of humidity intrusion.
Air Supply Inducer (For Crawlspaces with Ductwork)
This simple mechanical object is installed directly on the main trunkline of your crawlspace duct system. Conditioned air will enter the crawlspace when the HVAC system is running, depressing the relative humidity levels. A damper within the inducer prevents back flow of air into the ducts; it only opens when the system is actively sending air through.
We proudly install free-standing Santa Fe Dehumidifiers in crawlspaces, basements, conditioned garages, and conditioned attics.
Individual maintenance checklists and disclaimers will come with the installation of all free-standing Santa Fe Dehumidifiers.
Please ask about the proper sizing of your free-standing dehumidifier.
Santa Fe Dehumidifier come with 6 Year manufacture warrantees through Thermistor.*
Note: Servicing of dehumidifiers by Carolina Mold Solutions is a separate paid service.
Our Crawlspace Encapsulation System can help ensure a Cleaner, and more Comfortable home, for your Family.
- Helps lower HVAC heating and cooling costs
- Extends life of HVAC Equipment: Prevents sweating ducts and moisture damage to duct work.
- Prevents entry to pests, spiders, termites, and various insects.
- Help prevent cold floors in the winter.
- Reduces airborne contaminates in crawlspace, helping prevent smells and odors in crawlspace and in home.
- Prevents Moisture Intrusion into crawlspace.
- Less heat loss on plumbing pipes
- Helps to prevent future mold growth
Real Estate Applications
Moldy and damp crawlspaces can stop a property sale quickly. Buyers and home inspectors will point out these issues.
A crawlspace encapsulation system will alleviate buyer concerns about mold and moisture issues, and potentially increase resale. Our vapor barrier quality warrantee its for 25 years and is transferable to new owners.* (Warrantee on Vapor Barrier covers naturally occurring degradation of plastic; it does not cover intentional or unintentional physical vapor barrier damage.)
CL-100 & Pest Control Compatible
Our system is compatible with termite and structural inspections; visible access to needed structures is left intact. Our vapor barrier ends before the top of the foundation wall; this allows inspectors to trace any potential termite tracks without removing the barrier, leaving your home certification in tact.
Air Clearance Testing
Additional charge is required for any air testing of crawlspace post labor.
Note: a Crawlspace is still a non-lived in environment and is not tied into the central HVAC system; any air samples are still likely to be elevated above interior home levels, due to lack of total environment control.