For many homeowners, the crawlspace is the most often overlooked part of their home. If you have a moisture problem, ignoring the crawlspace can be a major mistake since often this is the source of the issue. The following are further mistakes to avoid when it comes to your crawlspace.
#1: Installing a DIY barrier
The biggest problems with a self-installed barrier are installation mistakes. For example, securing the barrier directly to the flooring joists or subfloors with staples or nails will leave small holes that work as a direct conduit to allow moisture into the floors. This can lead to rot or mold damage directly on the floor, which was one of the things you were trying to avoid. Also, improper installation can do the opposite of blocking vapor, instead, it may actually trap moisture in the crawlspace. This is because a properly installed barrier must allow for venting and airflow as well as for moisture blockage.
#2: Ignoring sources of outside moisture
A well designed crawlspace should be dry most of the time. Moisture most often occurs when water breaches the area from outside, usually from poorly placed gutters and downspouts. While it is vital to have a gutter system in place so roof water doesn't drip and create a moat around the crawlspace, you also need to make sure the water is routed far enough away from the home so it doesn't flow back into the crawlspace. This means installing downspout extenders. You may also need to install a drainage system around the crawlspace so that it doesn't flood during heavy rains.
#3: Allowing improper venting to occur
Venting the crawlspace seems like a good idea since it will open the crawlspace up to allow air circulation to dry out the space. Unfortunately, if done incorrectly, it is more likely to let moisture in and then trap it there. Another venting problem is when professionally installed vents get blocked, either accidentally or in an effort to keep pests out. Make sure nothing is leaning against the house and blocking a vent, or use wire mesh to create pest barriers on existing vents. Finally, don't vent anything into the crawlspace. For example, it's relatively common to vent a dryer into a crawlspace, but all this does is pump the space full of hot air and moisture.
For more help in creating a moisture-free crawlspace, contact an encapsulation company like Atlantic Heating and Cooling in your area.