Keeping your crawlspace clean and well maintained is essential if you want to avoid any costly repairs later on, so we hope you’ll find the following information regarding setting about crawlspace maintenance useful.
Generally speaking, allowing moisture or rubbish to collect in a crawlspace will inevitably lead to bad odors rising into your property, not to mention encouraging the growth of molds; whilst poorly maintained floors or walls could lead to vermin nesting in it creating all manner of potential problems.
Checking and cleaning out a crawlspace when you first move into a property, then forgetting about it, is not the way to set about crawlspace maintenance. You really need to check it every six months or so and, especially if you live in a temperate climate, this is best done before the onset and after the end of the really bad weather seasons.
The single biggest problem when maintaining a crawlspace is the elimination of molds. Molds will at best cause horrible odors to rise into the property and could cause much more serious problems such as deteriorating the supporting timbers. The reason for this is that mold is associated with damp – and left untreated the damp that the mold thrives on will destroy timbers.
Mold can be found on sub-flooring, the underneath of the main flooring and on supporting uprights. After removing the mold growth with abrasives it needs treating with an anti-mold preparation.
The next step is to locate the source of damp that was encouraging the mold growth and stop it. Having done that, the crawlspace should be thoroughly dried out by hiring a de-humidifier from your DIY store.
How Moisture can Get Into your Crawlspace
Moisture, even on its own, in your crawlspace is another big problem. This can arise due to the temperature difference between the crawlspace and the room above it, if there are gaps in the floor allowing warm air to seep into the crawlspace causing condensation.
So one thing to do when inspecting your crawlspace is to look for any flaws in your room floor – if you’ll excuse the pun! If you should find any these it will undoubtedly be easier to repair/maintain from inside the room above, rather than from below in the crawlspace.
Another problem is moisture rising up through the floor of the crawlspace, a potentially very real problem if you have an earth crawlspace floor or one just covered in gravel. Your solution here really is to get around to installing a vapor barrier crawlspace floor, preferably a solid one too made of concrete.
Finally check your crawlspace vents. If they’re blocked that could create moisture problems, but at the same time in some regions crawlspace ventilation can add to moisture problems – so you might need to actually close them off.
Check for Damage
Whatever construction methods were used for the crawlspace walls and floor – always check them for damage. The damage might be accidental but can still lead to rubbish accumulating in your crawlspace or worse vermin. Then again of course there’s always the risk that some critter or other caused the damage and is nesting in your crawl space.
Any damage should be repaired immediately as, if you don’t already know, a mouse can make its way through a hole less than ½ inch wide.