Avoid a moldy crawl space that could Protect Your Home from a Moldy Crawl Space
Crawl spaces can easily grow mold based on the way they are designed. They allow for very little air circulation, which causes water to build up and can lead to mold growth. Not only is mold growth dangerous for your crawl space, but it can also impact the air inside your home.
At NSquare, Inc., we provide a professional, on-site inspection of your home, a consultation where we answer any questions you may have, and a written cost quote. To get started on your home repairs, contact us by phone or e-mail today!
What Causes Crawl Space Mold?
Mold loves dark spaces, unseasoned lumber, and high humidity levels. Because your crawl space is warmed by your home above it and the natural warmth of the ground below, it creates an ideal environment for mold to grow.
What Mold Needs to Survive
If your crawl space meets all the requirements below, which many do, then it may be at risk for mold growth:
- A relative humidity level of at least 60%
- Temperatures at 40°F or higher
- Organic material to use as food
Mold can also grow when there's adequate moisture in the air, in the form of humidity. This moisture commonly enters a crawl space as water vapor passing through the soil or concrete. In this case, concrete will wick water through the ground and release it into the air.
Signs of Crawl Space Mold Problems
Aside from the obvious identification of mold in your crawl space, there are other ways that you can detect mold growth. The mold can give off a musty smell, which can infiltrate the living areas in your home.
If you notice any musty odors in your crawl space or in your home, it could be a sign of mold growth.
The contaminated air may also lead to potential health risks for you and your family, such as allergens or respiratory issues from breathing in the contaminated air.
Signs Of Crawl Space Mold Problems
Signs of crawl space mold are often evident without having to enter the crawl space at all. Because air moves upwards in a home as it's heated, a vacuum is created that will pull air up through the crawl space through a process known as the "stack effect". If your crawl space has mold, you will be able to tell -- your house will smell musty, and you may even begin to feel and/or display symptoms of mold and dust mite allergies.
Additionally, as crawl spaces begin to rot and decay, the floor above will begin to sag, buckle, or become uneven. Doors may jam, mold may grow on first-floor carpeting, and, in the long run, the floor itself will collapse inwards.
In the crawl space itself, warning signs include visible mold growth, musty odors, and discoloration and/or signs of water damage on the wood.
White, powdery substances on concrete walls are not likely to be mold itself, but it's indicative of moisture passing through the walls and creating a humid environment. If there are moldy, musty odors, then mold will be somewhere.
Types Of Mold In Crawl Spaces
Mold and rot fungi can be classified in two ways: what grows on the surface, and what grows within the wood itself.
Surface Mold Fungi
Surface mold fungi will cause cosmetic discoloration only, and it will not significantly damage the structural strength of the wood. This mold can simply be cleaned off the surface.
Decay fungi will darken and shrink the wood, leading to severe structural damage to the wood and the eventual crumbling and decomposition of the wood overall. This cannot simply be cleaned off, and replacement of damaged wood may be necessary.
Also known as brown rot or cubical rot, dry rot causes wood to deteriorate into small squares or rectangles. Often mistaken for termite damage because of its appearance, this is an extremely damaging type of fungi.
Determine the Source of the Problem
One of the most common and avoidable reasons for crawl space mold is crawl space vents. In the summer, these open vents let in the summer air, which is often loaded with humidity. As the air enters the crawl space, it quickly cools in this dark space.
As air cools, it loses some of its ability to hold moisture, and the excess moisture is dropped on surfaces in your crawl space as condensation.
Over time, this condensation will saturate the wood in your crawl space--and mold will grow.
Eliminating & Preventing Crawl Space Mold
Traditional methods of mold removal, such as bleach and water, will not provide a long-term solution for mold removal. These methods do not address rot damage or humidity issues.
The solution to crawl space mold and moisture is to seal the crawl space vents, install a plastic liner on the walls and floors, and dry the space with a self-draining dehumidifier. Otherwise, any repairs and mold remediation steps you take are a temporary fix only.
Choose NSquare, Inc. for Crawl Space Mold Prevention
When it comes to mold, you want it taken care of right away before it causes health problems. Rely on our crawl space experts to keep your crawl space dry, healthy, and mold-free.
We offer free crawl space repair quotes in Florida, including Sarasota, Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades, Hendry, Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach. Contact us today to get started!