5 Important Considerations of a Crawlspace
Looking for a new home foundation or even a foundation for your new construction home? There’s a reason why crawlspaces come up so often when searching for foundation options. They’re more cost effective than full basement foundations and provide a great place to install your utilities so that they’ll be out of the way of the rest of the home. They’ll also offer warmer first floors than concrete slab foundations, which can often feel too cold.
But crawlspaces aren’t for every home and your home foundation is not a decision to be made lightly. Make sure you do your homework about this option before you make your choice. With that in mind, here are five things to consider when you want to install a crawlspace foundation:
Mold and Mildew
One of the biggest considerations is mold and mildew. Crawlspaces are dark places that can be susceptible to moisture. Up to 50% of your household air makes its way into your crawlspace. When moisture gets inside a crawlspace, it makes the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. This can be particularly dangerous if you have your utilities placed in the crawlspace, as mold spores can easily get into your HVAC system. It can also get into your wall insulation if neglected.
Many homeowners choose to seal their crawlspace with crawlspace encapsulation to help protect it from the elements. It provides a barrier against moisture to help prevent the growth of mold, mildew, and fungi. It can also help boost the energy efficiency of your crawlspace, which can be an issue for crawlspaces. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that your roof gutters don’t drain into your crawlspace.
Your climate plays a large role in many elements of your house. Your climate impacts the roofing and siding you choose, so it’s little wonder that it impacts the foundation you choose. For instance, in particularly wet climates, concrete slabs can shrink and crack and might need to be repaired frequently in order to hold up.
Crawlspaces work best in dry climates but can be made to work in more temperate or wet climates. However, as referenced above, you might need crawlspace encapsulation in order to protect it from moisture so that it doesn’t fall susceptible to mold, mildew, fungi, or rot. High humidity can also impact your crawlspace. A sump pump is another way to remove moisture from your crawlspace and move it away from the house. A dehumidifier might also be a good option.
Piers and Beams
Crawlspaces are held up by piers and beams, allowing a space between the ground floor and the soil itself. However, if those piers and beams are not strong enough, they can topple or begin to buckle, which can cause the foundation of the house to settle. This can obviously be dangerous for the home, which is why crawlspaces require some maintenance in order to continue to hold the house up for a long period of time.
At Childers Brothers, Inc., we offer pier and beam adjustment. We use top products and advanced technology in order to replace any fallen beams or stabilize and strengthen piers. Supports sunken into the soil? We can help lift them again and reinforce them so that they stay up for years to come.
Because a crawlspace is essentially a gap that raises the house from the ground, it can be vulnerable to pests. Mice and rats might take shelter in the warmth of your crawlspace, and termites might enjoy the wood of the grade beams holding up the crawlspace. Even stray cats could get into your crawlspace and take shelter there. All of these things could weaken the structure of the beams and piers that uphold your crawlspace and lead to the need for pier and beam adjustment.
Fortunately, because crawlspaces are easy to repair, these problems can be repaired as soon as you notice them. You might also put rat traps in the crawlspace or hire an exterminator in order to ward off pests or keep them from damaging the piers and beams of the crawlspace.
One of the biggest perks when it comes to crawlspaces is access. Because of the nature of crawlspaces, rising the home above the ground, utilities can be placed in the space, which frees up space throughout the rest of the home. It’s also easier to make any repairs to crawlspaces as they are fairly easy to access compared to concrete slab foundations, for instance. In this way, crawlspaces are an excellent choice when it comes to access.
However, for those with mobility issues, there’s also access to the rest of the house to consider. Crawlspaces raise the house off the ground, which can make it more difficult for those in wheelchairs or with other mobility issues to access. For this reason, crawlspaces aren’t recommended as a particularly accessible option.
There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to be found with a crawlspace foundation, and it ultimately depends on you and the needs of your home whether a crawlspace is right for you. These are just a few elements to take into account when making your decision. It’s also important to find a construction company that has the experience and expertise to install the right crawlspace foundation for your home.
Childers Brothers, Inc. has nearly 50 years experience with home leveling and is here to help you. Contact us today for more information or to get started with a free estimate.