Crawl Space Repair & Encapsulation in Winston-Salem, Kernsville, Lexington, and all of North Carolina
Crawl Space Vapor Barriers & Products For A Healthier Space
What’s underneath your house? True, you can’t just pick up the structure and peer under it like you would a couch or chair. But it’s important to know what’s under your living space.
You might ask, “Why? I’m never in there. It’s out of sight and out of mind.”
It may be out of sight, but it shouldn’t be out of mind. There could be more lurking under your home and in your crawl space than you realize.
One of the many problems with crawl spaces is that these are often forgotten areas underneath homes that people never think about or even want to venture into. And rightly so. They’re typically dark, dingy, smelly areas with who knows what growing there or crawling around.
Then why build homes with crawl spaces?
While not every home has a crawl space, it is a common practice to construct homes on top of this 1-3′ hollow area (with just enough room to crawl through) to elevate the house off the ground. Most crawl spaces have dirt floors because it is cheaper than pouring concrete. This also typically is an empty space but can be convenient in hiding HVAC units and electric, plumbing, and duct work. (Source: Realtor.com)
In this section, we’ll address some common questions about crawl spaces that we hear from homeowners like you, and how our expert team at Tar Heel Basement Systems can help you improve the health and safety of your home.
Let’s start by first addressing the signs of a problematic crawl space.
Crawl Space Problem Checklist:
Do any of these issues throughout your crawl space and/or home sound familiar?
- Musty odors
- Asthma or allergies (developing or worsening)
- Dampness or high humidity
- Mold or mildew
- Condensation on windows
- Water in the crawl space
- Interior drywall cracks
- Sagging, uneven or bouncy floors
- Wood rot
- Pest or rodent infestations
- Wet or failing crawl space insulation
- Open crawl space vents
- High energy bills
- Cold floors during winter
What is Causing These Problems?
The biggest culprit that leads to these issues has to do with the way your home was constructed. While it is outdated, building code traditionally has called for crawl spaces to have open vents for air drying purposes. This sounds all well and good, but in reality, it is harmful to your house and your family.
Open vents are invitations for outside air, water, pests, and rodents to come inside and wreak havoc on your crawl space and home. Would you feel comfortable knowing these nuisances are under your loved ones’ feet?
You can read more about the negative effects of vented crawl spaces in one of our technical papers.
More than half of the air you are breathing in your house comes from the crawl space. So, whatever is in the crawl space, like mold and allergens, also is in the rest of your home and affecting you. This is because of the stack effect.
What is the Stack Effect? How Does It Impact Homes?
Think of your house like a chimney – air enters at the bottom, rises through the structure, and is expelled at the top. Air pressure also is a factor. Air flows from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure. When there is a greater difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the more significant this airflow becomes. (Source: Fine Homebuilding)
While you can’t see airflow, it might help to see this in action to get a better understanding of the stack effect. The Cold Climate Housing Research Center has several YouTube videos, including ”Your Nothern Home: Stack Effect” that illustrates the stack effect.
Here are some other problems that result from open crawl space vents and the stack effect:
- Water intrusion
Any kind of water in your crawl space – whether it comes from the ground, through walls, through vents, or from plumbing leaks – is a problem. Standing, leaking water invites pests and promotes mold growth, and it can weaken wood and corrode metal support systems.
- High Humidity
Along with leaking water, humidity is a major issue affecting homes. Humidity above 50% contributes to mold, unpleasant odors, failing support systems and more.
High relative humidity and moisture is common in crawl spaces. These conditions promote mold growth, especially on organic materials like wood and insulation. Any crawl space moisture also can enter other areas of the home through wall, ceiling and floor cracks, and contribute to mold growth there. (Source: EPA)
- Wood Rot and Sagging Floors
You’re probably well aware of how oppressive the North Carolina humidity can be. Your home is no stranger to its effects, either. When water, moisture, and humidity are present in the crawl space, this is a recipe for structural issues. As wooden beams and other supports are exposed to water and humidity, they can easily rot and begin to sag. These systems will no longer be able to support the above floor, and the floor will develop soft, bouncy spots and begin to sag.
- Energy Loss
Open crawl space vents allow hot air to enter during the summer, causing your air conditioner to work overtime to cool the rest of the house. And the same happens with cooler wintertime air that makes your furnace struggle to keep up in maintaining a comfortably warm living environment. Floors often may feel cold because of the cooler air from the crawl space underneath. Rather than wasting money on high energy bills, close the crawl space vents for better energy efficiency!
Can These Problems Be Fixed? How?
Here are a few additional questions we hear from homeowners like you, wondering what they should do about the issues they notice with their crawl space:
- Should you seal a crawl space?
- Is crawl space encapsulation a good idea?
- Does my crawl space need insulation?
- Do I need a vapor barrier in my crawl space?
- Should I dehumidify my crawl space?
The answer to all of them is, you guessed it, YES!
But before you grab your keys and head out to your local home improvement store, pause for a moment. You may be very handy, but crawl space repair projects are not meant to be knocked out by you and a friend in a weekend. We have seen what can happen with do-it-yourself work, and it’s not always pretty. Especially when it comes to real estate transactions, things like quick fixes could raise red flags and you’d have to spend more time and money to fix them.
Check out our “What Not to Do in Your Crawl Space” blog to learn more.
So, don’t waste your energy and finances on temporary quick fixes. Make sure your crawl space is fixed the right way the first time by a reliable contractor with trustworthy solutions.
What are the Benefits of Crawl Space Repair?
Especially after learning a little more about how dangerous and disgusting crawl spaces can be, aren’t you motivated to take charge and clear this area of unhealthy nuisances? There are so many ways that having a cleaner crawl space will benefit you and your family. Here are just a few perks:
- Health and Quality of Life
It’s possible that your home could be making you sick. By cleaning out and sealing the crawl space from outside nuisances, you are taking a huge step in ensuring the health and safety of your home and your loved ones. A mold-free, allergen-free, pest-free crawl space allows you and your family to breathe easier. Steps like installing a dehumidifier also will help with better air quality.
- Structural Integrity
Crawl spaces with water intrusion and humidity that impacts the support system under the house are not structurally sound. When you address the water and shore up the supports with more sturdy options, your house will, in turn, be more structurally stable.
- Energy Efficiency
A crawl space that is properly sealed in insulated does not require as much energy usage. Unvented crawl spaces are estimated to use 15 to 18% less energy for heating and cooling while reducing humidity by over 20% when compared to vented crawl space homes. (Source: Hunker – Code Requirements for Crawl Spaces)
- Functional Space
A crawl space that is clean, dry, and properly sealed and insulated is an ideal area for storage. You’ll no longer have to worry about any of your belongings being damaged by water, mold or pests.
- Real Estate Value
Your home’s appraisal value can depend on a variety of factors. However, structural integrity, water issues, and other problems such as with crawl spaces are important areas you need to be aware of. If you are selling your house, you must fill out the State of North Carolina Residential Property and Owners’ Association Disclosure Statement to the best of your ability. North Carolina law requires sellers to identify any known defects in their property before a purchase contract is signed. This sets clear expectations so there are no surprises for the buyers, and it helps protect you, the seller, from litigation. (Source: Nolo)
How Much Will Crawl Space Repair Cost?
This is by far the most common question we hear. And rightly so. Your home is a significant investment, and you want to make sure you’re investing in the right kinds of solutions that will work right the first time to effectively protect your home.
To give you an idea, HomeAdvisor states the average cost of crawl space repair is $6,000, with a wide range depending on the exact problem, size, accessibility and what’s being removed.
That being said, if you call in to ask or search our site with this question in mind, you aren’t going to get a clear idea right off the bat. We understand how frustrating it can be to not get a straight answer right away. But there is a lot to consider when talking about repair work.
First off, it’s important for an inspector to physically visit your house and look at the crawl space. It’s not fair to you to just give a ballpark estimate without seeing what’s going on.
The cost also depends on specifics like the square footage to determine how much material will be used, as well as the extent of any damage.
Every home is different, and each project requires different solutions. So, what worked for a friend or family member might not necessarily be what your home needs.
Be sure to have an open and honest discussion with your contractor of choice regarding cost. Most companies should be able to take your budget into consideration and work with you on payment options.
How to Hire the Right Contractor
We know how intimidating and daunting it can be to hire someone you don’t know, let alone have them in and around your home, your safe haven. It’s important to be sure you can trust whoever is going to be doing work in your house.
Popular Mechanics has compiled a helpful list of 10 tips for selecting a reputable contractor:
- Go with Your Gut. The contractor will be in and around your home, so trust your instinct about his or her character.
- Make Sure the Contractor is Licensed to Work in Your Area, Bonded, and Insured. Carrying the proper licensing and insurance indicates credibility, knowledge, and trustworthiness.
- Pick a Contractor Who Specializes in Your Project Type. Experience through research, training, and hands-on work in the field matters.
- Have a Detailed Contract in Place Before Any Work Begins. Having detailed plans and everything in writing spells out expectations so there are no surprises.
- Find Out Who Will Be Performing the Work. Knowing exactly who will be coming to your home will give you peace of mind.
- Give the Contractor Guidelines for Working In/Around Your Home. Let the company know of your preferences including arrival times and any off-limit areas of your property.
- Know What Your Responsibilities Are. If you need to move anything out of the way or need to plan for pet accommodations, it’s best to get that out of the way before the project starts.
- Ask About a Mechanic’s Lien. Check on the contractor’s legal status before signing anything.
- Look at Work Samples. This will allow you to see the quality of the work and maybe even spark some ideas for your own project.
- Think Locally. Support the local companies that have been in business and in the community for a long time.
We at Tar Heel Basement Systems are proud to go above and beyond expectations. We are challenging and revolutionizing the way customers interact with contractors. We put people first and believe all customers deserve a world-class experience, no matter where they are.
But don’t take our word for it. Check out the reviews we’ve received from actual customers who have had work done by our company. You also can learn more about our company and our team on our About Us page.
How Tar Heel Basement Systems Can Help
Our expert team is eager and ready to help create a safer and healthier home for you and your family.
Once you contact us for a free inspection and estimate, our customer care team will schedule an appointment for you with one of our certified field inspectors. It is important for us to physically visit your home to see exactly what is going on inside and outside the crawl space so we can best help you.
Here’s what you can expect during this consultation with the inspector. The inspector will:
- Complete a thorough evaluation of the crawl space
- Discuss your repair project goals
- Recommend customized solutions uniquely designed to meet your repair needs
- Provide you with a proposal of recommended solutions before leaving your house.
- Discuss payment and financing options.
If you decide to move forward with the work, we’ll then schedule your project with one of our highly trained installation crews. Our crew members will treat your house with the utmost respect and care, and use only the best products to repair and protect it. Your satisfaction is our top priority, and we will not stop working until you are 100% happy with the finished product. And we will not leave you hanging if something happens. We offer various service opportunities for emergency situations and to help maintain the systems we installed.
Along with writing a review about your experience with us, it would mean the world to us if you would refer us to your friends and family!
How We Fix Crawl Spaces
In our commitment to our customers, we only use the very best crawl space repair solutions. The products we use are manufactured right here in the United States, and they are tested and proven to effectively work in keeping your crawl space dry, stable, and healthy.
Here are the ways we address crawl space problems, as well as the products we use and how and why they work. Keep in mind they are designed to work together, which gives you the most bang for your buck.
Any water intrusion in the crawl space needs to be nipped in the bud, otherwise, it can lead to a host of problems including high humidity, mold, and pest infestations. However water enters the crawl space – through vents, the ground, porous block walls, or plumbing leaks – it must be intercepted and removed. Our systems do just that.
Our CrawlDrain™ perimeter drainage system is specially designed to sit in the crawl space floor to collect water from the walls and floor. This water is then directed to drain into a sump pump system. Any of our sump pumps can be installed to pump water out, but our SafeDri™ Crawl Space Sump Pump is specifically designed for this area. Additionally, a FreezeGuard™ attachment can be added to the exterior sump pump discharge line to prevent flooding if the line freezes or becomes blocked.
One of the most important things you can do is seal your crawl space from outside air, water and pests. That’s why we’ll prevent intrusion from these nuisances by installing vent covers over the crawl space vents.
Another is encapsulating your crawl space with a reliable material. Our CrawlSeal™ liner completely isolates the crawl space from the rest of the earth. A true 20-mil liner, it is three times thicker and stronger than builder’s grade liner. This thick and durable liner also acts as a moisture and vapor barrier, and it is treated to resist water and mold. Additionally, drainage matting can be placed on the crawl space floor before encapsulating to enhance the strength of CrawlSeal, as well as help direct water to the perimeter CrawlDrain™ system.
It’s also important to have proper insulation to keep the cold air out and warm air in the crawl space. Instead of soft fiberglass insulation that can easily fail and harbor mold, we install rigid insulation panels. Our X-Grade insulation is placed on the crawl space walls to better insulate the crawl space.
Along with sealing your crawl space, it’s also a good idea to condition the air. Our dehumidifiers are powerful but energy efficient. They work to improve the air quality in the crawl space and throughout your home by cleaning and filtering the air, controlling moisture and humidity, and reducing odors and potential mold growth. These units also are self-draining, meaning you won’t have to worry about emptying any buckets or reservoirs. They can be directed to drain into the perimeter drainage system or sump pump system.
- Structural Reinforcement
Areas of sagging, uneven floors are not only nuisances, they’re also dangerous. And quick fixes like bottle jacks and light-duty jack posts are not permanent solutions. Our IntelliJacks™ may look like typical jack posts, but they are for more superior. These sturdy supports are made of galvanized steel, making them more reliable in stabilizing and helping lift sagging floors and floor joists back to level. They also can support loads of more than 60,000 lbs.
We at Tar Heel Basement Systems are here to help you along your journey of crawl space and whole-home health and safety. If you have any questions along the way, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We look forward to working with you!
Having been in business since 2003, Tar Heel Basement Systems constantly works to find the best crawl space products for long-lasting solutions. Whether you need a sump pump, dehumidifier, insulation, or vapor barrier we can help fix your crawl space and your home.
Our free crawl space repair cost estimate includes a crawl space inspection, consultation with our experts and a written quote.
Whether you live in Greensboro, Winston Salem, High Point, Lexington, Mebane, Mount Airy, Lenoir, Bristol, Statesville, Taylorsville, Abingdon, Boone, Burlington or nearby, call or e-mail us today to get started! We are headquartered in Winston-Salem, NC.