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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Crawlspace Moisture Can Grow Into a Larger Problem: Mold

Jeff from Carolina Crawl Space shows us a common problem found in crawl spaces in North Carolina, which is mold. North Carolina’s humidity creates the perfect environment for mold growth in unprotected crawl spaces but, that mold doesn’t just stay in a crawlspace. As the air continuously circulates throughout the entire home it carries mold spores with it. This means all home occupants are vulnerable to its potential health effects.

 

If you are peeking in your crawlspace and notice anything similar to what Jeff is pointing out in this video then you may have a mold problem. It is important to address mold problems quickly as well as implementing preventive measures for the future.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Common Causes of Basement Leaks

One of the many things any homeowner dreads when it comes to the condition of their home is a leaky basement. Not only a wet basement it difficult to detect (until it becomes obvious), it causes a lot of damage within a short time - think warped wood, huge cracks and lots of mold and extensive rotting. The problem, however, is that no matter what foundation you have used, or what the condition of your home is, these leaks are bound to occur one day or the other.

It is imperative that you are able to detect the signs of leaks early on. That way you can call the professionals who will repair the damage in time and prevent the problem from escalating further (and adding to your troubles and your bills). Also, considering basement waterproofing for a true fix.

Here are the some of the most common causes of basement leaks:

Lateral Pressure

The soil that is present around the foundation tends to absorb water coming from snow and rain. While soils do generally recover from this, the time and extent varies by the soil type. Some soils, like clay, for instance, do not drain as fast as others, which leads to a build-up of water pressure beneath the ground. Once the soil expands over the water, a sideways (or lateral) pressure is created against the foundation of the home, which eventually leads to leakage.

Honeycomb Leakage

Honeycomb leakages form when the dried concrete has too many air pockets (which mostly form due to poor mixing during the original pouring). These air pockets, which often resemble a honeycomb, later tend to form cavities through which water easily passes through and causes leakage. These can be fixed quite easily if detected early on.

Tie Rod Holes

Tie rod holes are a common source of basement leaks that are known to occur in older homes. They are a result of the method of construction followed in building a home.

The concrete forms in many homes are built from wood and are kept together with 5/8 steel rods during the cement-pouring process. These rods remain in 2 horizontal rows, with the lower row staying at about a foot off the ground and the higher one another 4 feet above that. These rods are removed once the walls are completed - a process that ends up leaving "rod holes." Water tends to accumulate in these empty spaces, and ultimately causes leaks.




Window Wells Leak

While window wells are a great way to make your basement look good and keep it well-lit and airy (while keeping soil and water outside), they can - and do - act as a cause of leakage, especially if they are not installed and/or maintained properly.

Window wells usually malfunction when the drainage system surrounding the home is not working properly.  A poorly-working drainage system leads to accumulation of water around the windows, which in time creates enough pressure to push the window in (and cause massive leakages).

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Benefits of Crawlspace Encapsulation

crawlspace encapsulation, crawl space encapsulation, crawl space waterproofing
Sealing off a crawl space in Charlotte is a smart move for homeowners as it provides a wealth of benefits. There are plenty of reasons for homeowners to go with this option and here is a look at how such an endeavor can work for you.

Energy Savings

It comes down to dollars and cents. The bottom line is that it is easier to heat or cool a house that is dry because there is no lingering humidity to conflict with that task. As soon as a crawlspace is sealed, the energy savings will start to roll in and can total as much as 20% in the first month.

Structural Integrity

The foundation of your home sits on the same soil that affects your crawlspace. It is important to keep that soil dry, which is way water runoff from your roof is intended to move water away from your home. Dry crawlspaces preserve the structural integrity of a home and prevent any issues that could lead to major repairs in the future.

Higher Resale Value

If you are attempting to sell your home, the home inspection process can reveal some issues that homeowners may not have considered. Moisture, condensation or mold in the crawlspace can give a buyer leverage and either drop the asking price or request the crawlspace be sealed. Similar situation can occur when there is a need for basement waterproofing in a home. Either way, it is going to affect the amount of money you receive upon the sale of your home.

Avoid Termites

Termites can cause a variety of problems to a home and they thrive in dark, wet places. Sealing off a crawlspace puts an end to the possibility of termites colonizing underneath your home. Termites can do a great deal of damage to wood that is damp and are very difficult to eliminate once they colonize. A dry crawlspace is not a welcoming place for termites.

More Comfortable Living

Sealing off your crawlspace is a way of improving the quality of air inside your home. Any health problems related to mold or mildew can be avoided as fresher, cleaner air will be circulated throughout your home. This is particularly important for older people as well as homeowners with children.

In the video above, Jeff from Carolina Crawlspace Pros shows us what can happen to a crawl space that is not properly sealed, or encapsulated.

When you are ready to seal off your crawlspace, contact the team at Carolina Crawlspace Pros. We have an ample amount of experience sealing off all types of crawlspaces and also offer basement waterproofing and crawlspace encapsulation in Charlotte, NC and the neighboring communities.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Crawl Space Vent Sealing and Why it is Done

The crawl space is usually the most-often ignored part of any house - it is, after all, a space that simply cannot be used for any purpose. What goes on in this place, however, can and does have a strong impact on your home and the health of its occupants.

Once upon a time, houses were built by contractors and carpenters who used their own wisdom and expertise but little to no building science. These builders had the good idea to create a space, like a miniature basement, beneath houses that were large enough for a person to crawl through. These crawlspaces made for easy access to utility lines and pipes while remaining less expensive than basements. During this time, the logic was that foundation vents would allow air to circulate all-round the house while also keeping a crawl space dry.

However, it was later discovered that open crawl space vents did more harm than good. Building scientists, who created an entire discipline studying the pros and cons of construction, determined that vents can actual do the opposite; promoting mold and decay by increasing moisture levels. This failure in functionality occurs because the moist, outside air typically condenses into water as it enters the vents –and we all know the damaging effects water can have on a home. After much debate and discussion, and a number of studies, this was finally established as a fact.

Nowadays, we know better and the science is there to back the facts. An open crawl space vent will allow the influx of moisture, which in turn make it a hub of mildew, mold spores, and an assortment of bugs. These open vents also reduce the energy efficiency of homes by allowing cooled and heated air to escape while outside elements creep in.

The best solutions to this issue is to make sure crawl space vents are properly sealed. Given the fact that over 50% of household air actually flows up from your crawl space, it is very important that this problem get fixed soon - something that can only be accomplished with sealed vents.

Similar to a full-sized basement, crawlspaces can have leaks and other moisture problems aside from the ones caused by open vents. A full crawlspace inspection and encapsulation should be considered.

What is Crawl Space Vent Sealing?

An increasingly popular way to avoid indoor moisture problems, crawl space vent sealing is very similar to the lining which is added to swimming pools to prevent leaks. The goal, here, is to prevent moisture from forming in foundation vents and the crawlspace itself by putting a barrier in place.

The process of sealing crawl space vents involves installing a heavy-duty polyethylene barrier over the floors and foundation walls of the crawlspace. The barrier is then sealed with tape which also serves to connect all the barrier pieces. Once the sealing work is done, the air inside the crawlspace can be properly maintained by installing a dehumidifier which will remove excess moisture in the air as it appears.

This combination of using a barrier and a dehumidifier serves to protect the crawl space from too much moisture and all problems that come with it.

Benefits of Sealing your Crawl Space Vent

Sealing crawl space vents has several benefits, which include:
•    Creating an atmosphere that does not allow the growth of any kind if mold, mildew bugs or pests
•    Better quality of air in both your crawl space and your home
•    No rot resulting from water, fungi and mold
•    Helps to maintain a secure foundation
•    A home that is more energy-efficient, due to you not having to tackle vent-related problems; and
•    More potential for extra storage

Sealing your Crawl Space Yourself vs. Hiring a Professional

southern copperhead snake
Much like everything else, many people believe in DIY-ing the task of sealing their crawl space vents to cut back on costs. While it is certainly possible to do so, the results may not be so long-lasting, especially if done by beginners and amateurs. Its also worth noting that whoever does the job is likely to run into some surprised, like poisonous snakes, bugs, and rodents.

It is always best to hire a professional company that is also able to seal your crawl space for you. Not only will they follow proper procedure and work with a far better level of efficiency, they will also address any other moisture or foundation issues in the area. For additional energy-savings and comfortable, contact Carolina Crawlspace Pros - basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation and spray foam insulation services you can trust.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Here's How You Can Turn Your Old Crawlspace Into Something Useful

No matter how big your home may be, there will always be room to say things like, "I wish we had more space," or "Where am I going to put this?"

There comes a time when you've run out of practically every idea you could use to make more space in your home. All the places you could use have already been occupied. There is, however, one place you may still be able make use of - your crawlspace.

While the crawl space is not considered as a multifunctional (what with all the potential mold, insects, rodents and moisture), it can definitely be used as one, once you have done some careful planning and preparation. Here's your five-step guide to turning that dingy, dark, dirt-filled, small area into a thriving space that can help you turn your plans into a reality.

Step 1: Assess the space

This is of course the most important part of the process. In order to understand what kind of modification your crawl space needs, you must first make a thorough assessment to determine what condition it is currently in. Take a look at whether your crawl space has a moisture problem, and see if there is any signs of mold on any part of the area. Presence of mold means that your crawl space may be a harbinger of insects and rodents - or may be on its way to attract them one day. You will want to treat an infestation issue before moving forward. Remember that there are professionals available, like those at Carolina Crawlspace Pros, that have a keen eye and can help you get the job done right.

Step 2: Contain the moisture

Most of the moisture in crawlspaces comes from the floor (dirt ground). The best way to contain that moisture is to use a plastic vapor barrier and line the foundation walls and the floor with it. This process is called encapsulation. The general process demands some thoughtful work with polyethylene lining which is laid out with some overlap and sealed at the seams. This should completely cover the entire problem areas and act as a barrier. There are several types of vapor barriers available in the market - the best thing, however, would be choose one that is thick and strong to last long.

Some people may decide to pour concrete to contain moisture and create a solid floor. However, it will take professionals to complete and quite a bit of your money. As with a waterproof basement, this concrete crawlspace will also need exterior moisture barriers to prevent leaks. It may also be necessary to dig out the crawlspace since the extra space would be need to pour the proper amount of concrete.

Step 3: Insulate the crawl space

Crawl space insulation helps control the temperature, which in turn prevents your crawl space from running into moisture problems. Furthermore, if you have pipes running through your crawl space, the insulation will help keep them from freezing when the weather is cold. As with everything else, the are several different kinds if insulation in the market. You must, however, work with rigid board insulation, which will keep off any possible water damage. Make sure to install the foam boards against the foundation walls (but not on the ceiling) with the help of mechanical fasteners and construction adhesive.

Step 4: Ventilate the crawl space

When it comes to your crawl space, proper ventilation is a must. That being said, it has also been a contentious topic. For several years, most building codes had crawl space ventilation as a mandatory feature - especially in the coastal areas, where they are instrumental in preventing water-pressure build-up from disturbing the home's foundation in case of a flood. Experts today, however, are of the opinion that ventilation does more harm than good by inviting moisture. Every home - and the geographical area it is in is different; you must therefore try to get sound advice from a local contractor who can help you arrive at a more informed decision. 

Step 5: Condition the crawl space

No one wants to enter a storage crawl space to grab an item and find everything moist and covered in condensation. That is why we recommend every crawl space to be conditioned to prevent excess moisture build up. Depending on the planned use of the space, you may also want some climate control. If you find yourself unable to extend your HVAC into the crawl space or live in a high humid climate, you should try using a dehumidifier. When installed properly, a dehumidifier will ensure stored items stay dry and offers a backup to encapsulation which will only stop ground moisture from entering the space.

So you have your crawl space ready. Now what?

The next step is to arrange your newly renovated and dirt-free, mold-free and moisture-free crawl space! This too is no easy feat, though. No matter how neat your crawl space is, it is still a small area that requires careful organization.

How you arrange your newly-cleaned and moisture-proofed crawl space completely depends upon what you want to use it for. For instance, if you wish to use your crawl space as a storage space for those loved-but-rarely-used items, you should store them in airtight, plastic containers. This will help ensure that your belongings remain completely moisture-free.

You can put your crawl space to other uses as well – for instance, as a home office (especially if you don’t have one), or a study room that can be used by you or anyone in your household. You can also convert it into a library by stacking all of your books and adding some furniture to make space for sitting and reading books in peace!

Feel free to play around with the space as much as you like – after all, that is what all the hard work was for! That said, make sure to leave space around the ductwork and plumbing, so that service workers won’t have trouble while conducting any repairs or doing maintenance work. If you want an expert hand in this project, call Carolina Crawl Space Pros as they have the experience you need to transform your crawl space.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

What's Living Under Your Home?

When we generally think about unwelcome intruders in our home, we think of pests and pest infestations. What we forget to remember is an unsealed crawlspace, which can host a variety of unwelcome living creatures, from pests and rodents to stray (or even wild) animals!

There are several reasons as to why an unsealed crawlspace acts as a welcome ground for such pests and animals:
•    Easy Access: Crawlspaces are easy to climb into, and can be accessed by pests and animals in a variety of ways - from wall cracks, dirt floors and vents and many more
•    Moisture and warmth: the hot and humid weather creates an atmosphere in the crawlspace which is warm and moisture-laden (not to mention dark and secluded), making it an ideal breeding grounds of pests and animals, who are mostly cold-blooded.
•    Abundance of Food: Pests find an ideal environment in terms of both warmth and food, the latter of which is abundantly available in the form of rotting wood for pests, which in turn become food for bigger animals like snakes and spiders.
•    Shelter: Animals such as raccoons and cats and other rodents find safety in the often-dark and isolated crawlspaces and tend to stay in them.

Here are some common intruders that live in unsealed crawlspaces:

Termites: These tiny insects actually cause a lot of damage! It is estimated that they cause almost $30 billion dollars’ worth of damage alone. Termites can consume the hardest wood cellulose, along with other types of organic materials such as books, paper, leather, insulation, drywall, animal fur and cardboard, and thrive well in the moist and dark environment present in crawl spaces Charlotte NC.


Rodents: Rodents like rats and mice start from your crawlspace, multiply rapidly and go on to cause great damage to your home in a very short time. Not only do they dig holes in building materials, they chew wires (which often creates a fire hazard) and contaminate the food storage. They are themselves harbingers of several deadly diseases such as salmonella, rabies and hantavirus, and host other harmful parasites like tapeworms, ringworms, ticks and mites.

Carpenter Ants: One of the most commonly available species of ants, carpenter ants ranging from 1/4" to 3/8" in length and are generally black-to-reddish or black-to-yellowish in color. Just like termites, they are quick to create galleries, though their galleries are smoother as opposed to the termites' rough ones. They do nest in wood but do not eat it, and therefore destroy wood at a rate that is lesser than that of termites.

Stray Animals: With human development and construction increasing by leaps and bounds, the natural habitats of several small animals like squirrels, skunks, opossums, and raccoons (among others) get destroyed. These animals often find shelter in unsealed crawlspaces. Stray cats are also known to enter crawl spaces - both to get shelter and in pursuit of mice.
Once these animals make your crawlspace their home, they will live, breed, and die in it, which gives rise to ugly odors and deadly diseases such as rabies.

Snakes and Spiders: When it comes to snakes and spiders in your crawl space, it is a bit of a complicated matter. If present in small numbers, snakes and spiders (especially those like daddy long legs) are actually good for your crawlspace, since they eat up several of the other insects and rodents and repulse many stray animals. That being said, if there are too many of them, or if the species of snakes and/or spiders are deadly and/or poisonous, they will pose a great threat to the safety of your household.


Protect your crawl space from unwanted moisture and pests with crawl space encapsulation from Carolina Crawl Space Pros.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Humidity can be a Major Problem in Crawlspaces

There is a long list of issues that can create problems in your crawlspace and one of the most common is humidity. Those who live in areas where the humidity exceeds 55%, there is a higher chance that mold spores and dust mites will be more active.

Mold spores will grow in great abundance if the conditions are right. In order for mold spores to form and grow, they need to have water. When air has a humidity level that surpasses 70%, there is enough moisture to enable mold spores to grow.

Another sign of trouble with humidity comes in the form of dust mites. These tiny unpleasant creatures thrive in dark, damp places and can ascend throughout a home. In order to eliminate dust mites, a dehumidifier should be installed in your crawlspace. This will protect the vulnerable parts of the crawlspace from producing any dust mites.

Watch videos of Carolina Crawlspace Pros' owner, Jeff Wolfe, identifying problems regularly found in crawl spaces and basements in the Carolinas, including those mentioned in this article.
Go to CarolinaCrawlSpacePros.com/videos

There are other types of would-be fixes that should be avoided in crawlspaces. Venting a crawlspace should be avoided when living in a humid area. The reason for this is the air that is brought in from the outside is full of moisture, more so than the actual amount of moisture in your crawlspace. That could quickly lead to a buildup of mold and provide a prime breeding ground for dust mites. 

The key to a lasting fix is to find the source of the problem that is causing the excess humidity and then eradicate it. Another common cause of humidity in a crawlspace is standing water. The presence of water signifies that your home has either leaky plumbing or an issue with drainage. If that is the case, then it could become a plumbing issue.

Newer homes can also experience problems with standing water and that is mainly due to a builder’s failure to waterproof the concrete block. An improperly graded yard could also be a source of this kind of problem.

There is even the possibility that humidity problems can be caused by water evaporating from the ground. When that is the cause, the best method of fixing the problem is crawlspace encapsulation.

When you start to experience problems in your crawlspace or basement, contact Carolina Crawlspace Pros. Our team of experienced professionals will take care of all your basement waterproofing in Charlotte. We also specialize in spray foam insulation and vapor barrier.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Standing Water Problem in Basements and Crawlspaces

Some homes are more susceptible to taking in water in their basement or crawlspace. Homes that are built in regions with high rain counts and moist soil may be more prone to standing water problems. The good news is that there are several precautionary measures you can take.

When examining the outside base of your home, be sure that the dirt slopes downward so that any water will flow away from your home. In the event that water settles around the base of your home, it could seep through and cause issues with mold, while also threatening the foundation. That is why gutters show release rainwater a minimum of six feet away from the home.

It is also important to make sure any hoses connected to the outside of your home do not have a leaky nozzle. A steady leak could allow water to seep down into your basement or crawlspace and although it may take several weeks, standing water could develop.

There is also the issue of water getting into your basement following a rainstorm. One way to remedy this issue is to install a sump pump, which will take any standing water and discharge it outside. However, should the power go out, a sump pump is rendered useless and that can lead to a lot of standing water in a basement or crawlspace. Even if a sump pump is installed, a drying fan should also be used to completely eliminate any remnants of standing water.

It should be noted that standing water is not the only cause of mold growth. A high level of humidity is really all that is needed for mold to grow as there only needs to be traces of moisture.

Many basements are equipped with windows and to prevent water from gaining entry, window wells are used as a line of defense. While window wells do keep out water, they also prevent adequate ventilation, which can be a primary cause for the growth of mold. To combat this issue, it is a good idea to remove those covers on a regular basis and air out the basement.

Rest assured, Carolina Crawlspace Pros can attend to any standing water or mold problems you may encounter in your Carolina home. Our solutions are individualized to fix every problem as we offer crawlspace encapsulation, basement waterproofing, spray foam insulation, and the installation of a vapor barrier.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Condensation Means It’s Time for Crawlspace Encapsulation

When hot air meets cold air, condensation is created. Inside a crawlspace, that produces humidity which can cause an array of problems. However, it is not as if homeowners can take a simple look inside and immediately figure out the humidity level in all parts of their crawl space Charlotte. What they can do is identify any signs of condensation.

Condensation is an indication that the humidity level has reached 100%. That means the air cannot hold any more moisture, which is why water starts to form condensation. Once that condensation appears, it is often followed by the growth of mold and mildew. That growth leads to unhealthy air that begins to rise up through your home. Prolonged exposure to that air can result in a variety of health problems. So at the first sign of condensation, it is time for a fix.

The most effective way to attend to condensation in a crawlspace is to hire a professional service for the purpose of crawl space encapsulation. Sealing off the crawlspace is a much better option than venting it. This method produces a drier environment within the crawlspace.

The process begins by laying a vapor barrier on the walls and floor in the crawlspace. This acts as a way of sealing off from the outside. However, there should be a small gap left by the sill so that professionals can conduct pest inspections. That gap is typically no more than three inches.

Openings to the outside should also be sealed off. That includes any doors that may be loose and especially vents. The purpose is to keep any air from the outside from getting into your crawlspace and mixing hot and cold air to create condensation.

Once a crawlspace is encapsulated, it prevents any rodents or insects from gaining access. It also serves the function of minimizing the growth of mold and mildew. The benefits even show up in your monthly energy bills, which can be reduced by as much as 15-20%. Air quality within your home will also be improved, making it a healthier environment for you and your family.

Carolina Crawl Space Pros has a vast amount of experience encapsulating crawl spaces and can also take care of basement waterproofing in Charlotte, NC and the surrounding areas. When you begin to see signs of condensation, mold or moisture in your crawlspace, contact our team of experienced professionals for an efficient and affordable solution.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Mold Can Harm You and Your Own Home

Mold can be the silent and unseen cause of many different problems within a home. In many cases, the mold usually originates from a moist crawlspace or basement. It can affect the actual home as well as its inhabitants. This reality has led to several important factors every homeowner should know as it could help them identify, treat and remove mold in the home. 

Safety Precautions

When you are looking for mold, it is a good idea to take safety precautions. That means refraining from touching any mold spores as gloves should be worn at all times. It is also a good idea to wear safety goggles as mold could irritate your eyes. Some people even go as far as covering their mouth with a cloth or handkerchief to keep from inhaling any fungus spores. It should also be noted that mold can be absorbed through your skin, so it is best to cover your entire body with protective clothing. 

Mold Exposure

Some types of mold are classified as toxic while others are very toxic. The exact strain is not important, but what does matter is whether or not you are allergic to that specific strain. People are affected differently by mold.  Where one person may not be harmed by a certain type of mold, someone else could suffer serious effects.

Human Symptoms

There are a number of symptoms people can experience when exposed to mold. When the mold is undetected, people often come down with an illness that is not adequately explained. These symptoms affect otherwise healthy people and can surface in the form of a persistent cough, respiratory illness, itchy eyes, sudden pneumonia or the unexplained onset of asthma.

Growth and Nourishment

Mold can survive on wood, dust and even paint as those are all enough to sustain it. Most organic material will provide enough nourishment for mold to grow. It also does not matter how clean a home is kept. The growth of mold has more to do with the presence of moisture. It can also grow year round, regardless of the season or weather.

When mold attacks your home, it is time to fight back and eliminate the source of the problem. Carolina Crawlspace Pros will do just that as we specialize in crawl space encapsulation, basement waterproofing, spray foam insulation and more. Our services will get rid of your mold problems in Charlotte, NC and the surrounding communities.