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Everything Wrong With Crawl Spaces in WV

The typical crawl space found under homes in West Virginia has a number of design flaws. Learn more about how to repair these issues.

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What’s a “typical” West Virginia crawl space?

  • The ground is dug out under the home to create a crawl space. As a result, the ground outside the home is higher than what is found under the home
  • The ground in the crawl space is covered with a thin layer of plastic (4-6 mil)
  • Fiberglass insulation is placed between the floor joists to keep cold air from entering into the home above
  • The foundation walls are vented to allow air to circulate in the crawl space from the outside

So, what is wrong with this design? Pretty much everything.

Let’s look at the attributes of at this typical crawl space in order:

  • First off, by digging out the area underneath a home, the home builder is creating a bowl-like effect. Anytime you dig a hole, water will tend to collect. Even a pinhole in the foundation walls will allow water to collect under the home because water always runs to the lowest point.
  • Second, the thin layer of plastic is not thick enough to hold out moisture. The thin plastic becomes brittle over time, is easily moved by workers (plumbers, HVAC workers, etc.) under a home. After a few years, the thin layer of plastic is completely ineffective.
  • Third, gravity works against fiberglass insulation between the floor joists. Over time, this insulation falls and a lot of it will end up on the ground.
  • Last, foundation vents, typically opened in the summer and closed in the winter, usually do more to wet a crawl space than to dry it out, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Here’s why: In the summer, the warm, moist outside air circulates into the crawl space and mixes with the cooler air, condensing and creating a wet mess. Floor joists and insulation can become soaked, rotting wood and creating a wonderful environment — for mold growth!

So what is the best way to construct a crawl space?

  • First, a trench is dug in the ground inside foundation walls to collect any water.
  • Second, that water/moisture is collected by a dehumidifier and/or sump pump. This water or moisture is pumped or drained out of the crawl space to control water and humidity levels.
  • Third, a thick plastic liner (20 mil – like a pool liner!) and drainage matting is placed on the ground to control water and moisture coming into the crawl space. Seams are taped and walls are caulked to prevent moisture and outside air from coming into the crawl space.
  • Last, foundation walls are insulated, rim joists are insulated, and foundation vents are closed and sealed to ensure that the humidity levels inside the crawl space are controlled.

In short, the crawl space becomes a “mini basement” with controlled humidity levels, completely sealed from the outside air. The result is that the home is warmer in the winter, with fewer drafts; and humidity is controlled, which helps to prevent mold growth and also extends the life of the wood inside the home. Homeowners often see heating and cooling bills up to 20% lower because of this high-tech design.

There are other benefits, too. The air inside the home above is much cleaner and healthier, without all the dust and mold spores found in typical crawl spaces. In addition, this clean environment is not the type of environment bugs and rodents love, so you will have fewer bugs and rodents in your home!

Contact Basement Authority of West Virginia to schedule a free, no obligation inspection of your crawl space today. If you would like to transform your crawl space from the one in the top picture to one like seen in the lower picture, we would LOVE to do this for you and your family!

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Clarksburg, WV

1807 West Pike Street Ste C
Clarksburg, WV 26301