A crawl space is an important part of any home. While this small basement-like area may not provide enough room in which to stand upright, it’s very important to consider the structural integrity of this area. A crawl space provides valuable access to:
- Foundation, joists and other structural supports
If you’ve neglected to think about the condition of your crawl space, you may be jeopardizing the health of your entire home. Here’s some ideas to overhaul this small area and increase the livability of your entire house.
#1 – Add Ventilation
Crawl spaces can be vulnerable to moisture build up, which can cause many health problems such as respiratory infections, aggravate asthma and trigger allergies. Since crawl spaces are below ground, moisture often gets trapped inside. Adding vents for air exchange helps to keep your crawl space fresh and free from mold or fungus spores.
#2 – Install a Vapor Barrier to Protect Floor Joists
Protecting the base of wooden floor foundations from moisture, as well as excessively dry air, is essential to maintaining the structural integrity of any house. A vapor barrier, which is a simple plastic sheet that is installed on wooden base joists to form a protective coat against the elements, helps to guard against rot and decomposition.
#3 – Install Insulation
Although the crawl space is often relegated to an out of sight, out of mind attitude in many homeowner’s priorities, it can be responsible for damaging the energy efficiency of a home. Even though this area is underground, it should still be well insulated in order to prevent a home from leeching heating and cooling into the surrounding earth. Insulating this area also protects plumbing from freezing damage during the winter.
#4 – Improve Drainage
The crawl space is the most flood-prone area of any home. After heavy rainfall, it’s not uncommon to have some amount of standing water in the crawl space. This can cause wood rot, damage to wiring and contribute to the mold growth. A sump pump cannot completely clear the space of all moisture, so it’s important to improve or install an effective drainage system that will wick moisture out of your home’s foundation.
#5 – Remove Clothes Dryer Ducting from the Crawl Space
Many homes route the ventilation for the clothes dryer either through, or directly into, the crawl space. A dryer can evaporate gallons of water from each load of clothing, so this is a major risk for condensation damage at the very foundation of a home. Rerouting dryer ducting to an external wall can preserve the well-being and environmental health of a crawl space.
Crawl space improvement may not add much aesthetic appeal to a home, but a responsible homeowner should focus upon preserving the structural integrity of a house. Maintaining the crawl space produces a healthful environment that will create a happy home for years to come.