How to Spot Mold in Your Crawlspace

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If you believe that your crawlspace is growing mold that's impacting your family's health, contact our experts here at Healthy Spaces at 476-9708 today and our friendly staff will be happy to set you a free, no obligation estimate for the cost of repairs!

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Squeaking floors and spongy spots are not only irritating, but they are also a sign that your home is struggling with crawlspace moisture and wood rot.  Another important sign is that musty smell that you catch when you open or close a window or door.  That smell is actually air being drawn up out of the damp crawlspace into the rest of the house and it's a sign that your home needs some crawlspace encapsulation and repair right away!

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Squeaking floors and spongy spots are not only irritating, but they are also a sign that your home is struggling with crawlspace moisture and wood rot. Another important sign is that musty smell that you catch when you open or close a window or door. That smell is actually air being drawn up out of the damp crawlspace into the rest of the house and it's a sign that your home needs some crawlspace encapsulation and repair right away!

Crickets, spiders, and other creepy crawlies come into crawlspaces to find water and food and a snug home for the cooler months. A nice damp crawlspace is their ideal home, so the damper and more musty the crawlspace, the more critters you find inside them! Eww! Thankfully, it is possible to dry out crawlspaces and seal them off from outside air. This way, you can decrease critters, improve indoor air quality, and improve your heating and air conditioning costs!

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Crickets, spiders, and other creepy crawlies come into crawlspaces to find water and food and a snug home for the cooler months. A nice damp crawlspace is their ideal home, so the damper and more musty the crawlspace, the more critters you find inside them! Eww! Thankfully, it is possible to dry out crawlspaces and seal them off from outside air. This way, you can decrease critters, improve indoor air quality, and improve your heating and air conditioning costs!

Here's a picture of a longstanding puddle of scummy water found near the crawlspace window vent.  Water on top of an existing liner means that the crawlspace is not just suffering from groundwater intrusion, but is also seeing water come in from the concrete block walls, so just lining the floor is not adequate.  Covering outside vents, dehumidifying the environment, and possibly lining the walls are also necessary to keep this crawlspace dry.

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Here's a picture of a longstanding puddle of scummy water found near the crawlspace window vent. Water on top of an existing liner means that the crawlspace is not just suffering from groundwater intrusion, but is also seeing water come in from the concrete block walls, so just lining the floor is not adequate. Covering outside vents, dehumidifying the environment, and possibly lining the walls are also necessary to keep this crawlspace dry.

The next stop on our crawlspace mold tour is the wooden subfloor joists.  These joists are often the first place that you see mold growth because the air from outside is being drawn up through the rest of the house due to air pressure.  This phenomenon is called "the stack effect" and it tells us that the air you breathe in your home is drawn up from your lowest level--in this case, the crawlspace.

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The next stop on our crawlspace mold tour is the wooden subfloor joists. These joists are often the first place that you see mold growth because the air from outside is being drawn up through the rest of the house due to air pressure. This phenomenon is called "the stack effect" and it tells us that the air you breathe in your home is drawn up from your lowest level--in this case, the crawlspace.

Just to the side of the crawlspace entrance, we found an area where the wooden support beam of the subfloor had completely rotted through due to mold and moisture and then had to be replaced with a new joist.  This sort of aggressive rot isn't usual--instead, most homeowners start to notice creaking, squeaking, and spongy floors over crawlspaces.  This means that the wood has absorbed some moisture and is becoming flexible, bowed, and unstable. Support Beam, Flooring, Crawlspace, Wooden Beams, Finishing Basement, Homeowner, Concrete Block Walls, Mold And Mildew, Molding

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Just to the side of the crawlspace entrance, we found an area where the wooden support beam of the subfloor had completely rotted through due to mold and moisture and then had to be replaced with a new joist. This sort of aggressive rot isn't usual--instead, most homeowners start to notice creaking, squeaking, and spongy floors over crawlspaces. This means that the wood has absorbed some moisture and is becoming flexible, bowed, and unstable.

In this picture, you can see where water has been regularly pouring in through a crawlspace window vent.  This sort of intrusion can happen during a rainstorm, or even when you turn on your sprinklers.  This sort of water intrusion introduces even more moisture into an already wet crawlspace environment.

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In this picture, you can see where water has been regularly pouring in through a crawlspace window vent. This sort of intrusion can happen during a rainstorm, or even when you turn on your sprinklers. This sort of water intrusion introduces even more moisture into an already wet crawlspace environment.

Here, you can see how widespread the water intrusion really is in this crawlspace.

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Here, you can see how widespread the water intrusion really is in this crawlspace.

Here's a close up of the mold and mildew growth in the block wall.  Mold, mildew, and other bacteria are nature's decomposition crew.  These little creatures are in charge of breaking down whatever they are attached to--and we definitely don't want them digesting your home's foundation walls!  That's why it's important to inhibit this sort of growth by reducing relative humidity in the crawlspace, preventing groundwater intrusion, and closing off the crawlspace from outside air.

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Here's a close up of the mold and mildew growth in the block wall. Mold, mildew, and other bacteria are nature's decomposition crew. These little creatures are in charge of breaking down whatever they are attached to--and we definitely don't want them digesting your home's foundation walls! That's why it's important to inhibit this sort of growth by reducing relative humidity in the crawlspace, preventing groundwater intrusion, and closing off the crawlspace from outside air.

Does this look familiar?  It's mold and mildew growth in the concrete block wall of a crawlspace.  Why does this happen?  Well, concrete is actually very porous and wicks moisture from the surrounding soil into the air in a phenomenon called "capillary action". These capillaries are formed during the concrete curing process when these blocks are being manufactured.  The capillaries will allow moisture, mold spores, and other mildew and bacteria to permeate into your crawlspace.

Home

Does this look familiar? It's mold and mildew growth in the concrete block wall of a crawlspace. Why does this happen? Well, concrete is actually very porous and wicks moisture from the surrounding soil into the air in a phenomenon called "capillary action". These capillaries are formed during the concrete curing process when these blocks are being manufactured. The capillaries will allow moisture, mold spores, and other mildew and bacteria to permeate into your crawlspace.

In this photo, you can see where one of the rotting joists has cracked.  If you were walking over this spot, you would probably hear that loud, haunted house creaking that wakes the baby when you're on your way to the bathroom, or alerts your spouse that you're going for a midnight snack, even though you're supposed to be counting calories.  Cracks like this are more than irritating, they are your home's cry for help.

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In this photo, you can see where one of the rotting joists has cracked. If you were walking over this spot, you would probably hear that loud, haunted house creaking that wakes the baby when you're on your way to the bathroom, or alerts your spouse that you're going for a midnight snack, even though you're supposed to be counting calories. Cracks like this are more than irritating, they are your home's cry for help.

In this picture, you can see the white mold patches around the crawlspace door.  This indicates that warm, moist outdoor air has been drawn in to the crawlspace.  This warm air cools rapidly in the dark crawlspace and condensation and increased relative humidity permit mold growth.

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In this picture, you can see the white mold patches around the crawlspace door. This indicates that warm, moist outdoor air has been drawn in to the crawlspace. This warm air cools rapidly in the dark crawlspace and condensation and increased relative humidity permit mold growth.