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Essential Crawl Space Maintenance Tips For Every Home

Table of Contents

Crawl spaces are incredibly prevalent but can experience several issues. The best way to prevent such problems is to follow the ideal crawl space maintenance tips every homeowner should know.

We’ve identified the following seven maintenance guidelines you should know. Review each list item, and find more information in the sections to follow:

  1. Enhance Your Crawl Space Drainage
  2. Seal Crawl Space Vents
  3. Grade the Land Correctly
  4. Clean Gutters and Install Downspout Extensions
  5. Fit Your Crawl Space with the Ideal Insulation
  6. Repair or Replace Damaged Structures
  7. Consider Crawl Space Encapsulation

Enhance Your Crawl Space Drainage

A crawl space drainage system collects water and conveys it away from your foundation area. The ideal system includes several features. Unfortunately, these features can break or become clogged, resulting in drainage inefficiencies for your crawl space.

A complete crawl space drainage system includes drain tile and a sump pump. Ensure these structures are installed and functional to ensure excessive moisture is less likely to occur.

Seal Crawl Space Vents

Many people assume it is better to leave a crawl space vent open. For many years, crawl space vents were a municipal requirement for homes with this foundation type. However, it’s now apparent that these vents do more damage than good.

Many people assume it is better to leave a crawl space vent open. For many years, crawl space vents were a municipal requirement for homes with this foundation type. However, it’s now apparent that these vents do more damage than good.

Open vents allow moist outside air to enter the crawl space, resulting in moisture problems. The best approach is to seal your vents entirely. Sealing crawl space vents prevents humid air from entering and makes pest infestations less likely.

Grade the Land Correctly

Notice the slope of the land around your home. If the land is flat or pitched toward your foundation, it encourages rainwater to puddle and potentially seep into your crawl space.

A better approach is to ensure that the grade surrounding your home pitches away. A pitch away ensures that rainwater flows in that direction and does not cause an issue in your crawl space.

Clean Gutters and Install Downspout Extensions

The gutters and downspouts connected to your home collect water from the roof and convey it away from the foundation. However, if your gutters are clogged, they can cause water to fall directly next to a crawl space. The same issue can occur when downspouts are too short.

Cleaning your gutters helps them operate effectively. Similarly, installing downspout extensions allows the downspouts to move water well away from the crawl space, so it causes no issues.

installing downspout extensions allows the downspouts to move water well away from the crawl space, so it causes no issues.

Fit Your Crawl Space with the Ideal Insulation

It’s also essential for homeowners to ensure their crawl space has the ideal amount and type of insulation. Unfortunately, many popular insulation types, like foam, absorb moisture, leading to problems in your crawl space.

The preferred insulation type for these areas is foam board insulation. This insulation type is far less capable of absorbing moisture and works the same way to maintain the internal temperature of your crawl space despite temperature changes outdoors.

Repair or Replace Damaged Structures

Your home depends on the foundation for support. As such, if there is an issue with the structures in the foundation, the rest of your home will likely suffer. Issues with structural integrity can arise due to excessive moisture, poor installation, old age, or other factors.

Regardless of what causes structural failures in your crawl space, repairing these structures as soon as you notice them is vital. Repairing and replacing damaged structures keeps your crawl space intact and prevents structural damage throughout your house.

Consider Crawl Space Encapsulation

One of the best ways to perform crawl space maintenance is to complete a crawl space encapsulation service. This service involves several steps and ultimately leads to a crawl space that is clean, dry, and sealed from the outside world.

During an encapsulation service, the foundation team you hire will apply a vapor barrier that prevents moisture and pests from entering your crawl space. Ideally, this team will also install a dehumidification system, which helps you monitor and manage the moisture levels in the crawl space.

One of the best ways to perform crawl space maintenance is to complete a crawl space encapsulation service. This service involves several steps and ultimately leads to a crawl space that is clean, dry, and sealed from the outside world.

Schedule a Crawl Space Inspection

Crawl space maintenance can be complex and challenging to perform independently. A better approach is to seek the help of an experienced professional in your area who can inspect your crawl space and suggest the ideal solution.

Crawl space inspection is ideal if you don’t know how to evaluate a foundation independently. After hiring someone to perform a crawl space inspection, you’ll have a clearer idea of your crawl space’s condition and any required repairs.

Signs of Damage in Your Crawl Space

While it’s helpful to perform ongoing maintenance, some foundations have damage even if their homeowner is vigilant. The list below shares some signs that your crawl space might need repairs:

  • Wall cracks: If there are cracks in crawl space walls, they may result from differential foundation settlement, hydrostatic pressure, or some other problem.
  • Standing water: Finding standing water in your crawl space is always a bad sign. Standing water can result from leaks, excessive moisture, poor grading, damaged drainage, and more.
  • Foul odors: When an unpleasant smell arises from your crawl space, it signifies excessive moisture. The presence of excessive moisture indicates a crawl space issue.
  • Mold and mildew: These substances are more likely to increase with high moisture. Mold and mildew can also negatively affect structures and human health.
  • Damaged structures: This crawl space issue can arise from many sources. However, if the structures in your crawl space are rotted or damaged in any way, you can rest assured that crawl space repairs are required.
  • Pest infestations: Pests can arrive in your crawl space when an unnecessary opening requires a fix.
  • Sloping floors: Crawl space damage can cause the floor above it to slope. Also, differential foundation settlement can result in a deformed floor at any house level.

Find the Correct Professional for Crawl Space Maintenance

Don’t attempt to inspect or repair a crawl space if you lack experience. Instead, find a crawl space professional to diagnose foundation problems and match you to the correct service.

For anyone in Southern California, Arizona, or Nevada, Dalinghaus Construction is the best team you can choose. We have experience evaluating and repairing many crawl spaces and providing other essential construction services. Contact us to learn more.

WRITTEN BY

Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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