Did you find mold in your crawlspace recently?
Have you looked in your crawl space lately?! If you live in Raleigh or the Triangle of North Carolina it’s rare that you would have. Mainly because it’s filled with dust, has spiders and rodents crawling around, then the worst of all crawl space problems… MOLD! Or Organic Growth as home inspectors like to call it. Mold wrecks havoc on your house and your body. It’s caused by high moisture content in the wood which allows mold to grow in the wood. It’s one of the worst things for you to breathe in and if your crawl space has mold in there you need to do 3 things fast to correct it.
- Find the source of mold
- Remediate the mold quickly
- Dry it out
1) If you notice mold on your floor joists or sub-floor you likely have higher moisture content in the space. High moisture content is typically seen as anything above 15% when using a moisture reader according to most engineers. The cause of high moisture are normally: water intrusion, high humidity like the summers here in Raleigh and leaky Air Conditioners located in the crawl space.
- Water intrusion comes from leaky foundations and poor grading around your house. Ideally you want all the earth around your house to taper or slope away from the foundation, never have it sloped towards your foundation. This can be fixed by bringing in a professional landscaper to have them correct the grade around your home ($5,000-10,000) and/or hiring a professional waterproofing company like Sealing Agents ($8,000-14,000) to waterproof your foundation. Also, don’t forget the gutters – always install gutters with downspouts pointed away from your foundation and kicking out at least 2-3 feet from the foundation.
- High humidity in Raleigh causes a yearly problem in your crawl space. According to This Old House you should open up those crawl space vents in the summer and close them in the winter when the air is drier to encourage the moisture levels to reduce on their own. You can also take care of the problem once and for all with a sealed foundation from Regional Waterproofing ($9,000-20,000). This is the best way to fix it year round.
- Leaky Air Conditioners cause all kinds of problems in crawl spaces because they continually push water into the space and your crawl space will never be able to dry up. This is an easy call to your local HVAC company to have them do a repair. Or go to Home Depot and get a sump pump and do it yourself. Sometimes the PVC drain lines are cracked and it’s a quick splice of the correct size PVC and you will be on your way to a drier crawl space soon.
2) Remediate the high moisture content quickly is the best way to start fixing the main problem with mold in the crawl space. Once you get that done you can go on to step 2 of the fix – Remediation. Remediation of mold in the crawl space typically consists of a mixture of bleach and peroxide. Different ratios for differing degrees of mold growth. Bleach kills mold, but doesn’t go into the wood cells. That’s where Peroxide comes into the game. It “eats” its way in there to kill mold deep into the wood. Lastly, by using a 4” angle grinder with low grit sanding pad you can physically grind the mold off. Some companies do this before bleach/peroxide, others do it after.
There are many mold remediation companies in Raleigh and the Triangle that can help you with your repair. Depending on severity, crawl space height and size of the job prices can range from $5,000-10,000. If you choose to do this yourself please use appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This is serious stuff and you do not want to do this incorrectly. If you want to be done with this house and sell we can help you there as well. Just submit your house and we will be in touch with you soon.
3) Our favorite part is the final step because it feels so good to complete jobs! Dry out that crawl space! The best way to do this is by sealing up your foundation as discussed earlier. The next best thing is to do a full enclosure with a 6-12 mil vapor barrier. This goes full coverage on the ground and up the walls and piers as well. Seams are sealed as well with wide tape. In 3rd/last place is the old “vapor barrier” trick. This is where you roll out a sheet of plastic in the crawl space and form it the best way possible to the floor and around piers. Typically, you will want to go up the foundation walls 6-12 inches. Spikes are often used through the floor into the dirt to keep the plastic from moving around. It’s better than nothing and can be completed in a weekend with materials purchased from Lowes or Home Depot. Again, it’s better than nothing, but it’s not the best.
We here at Inspiring Investment Raleigh purchase homes every month from local homeowners who have these problems and more, but don’t want to live at the house anymore or can’t come up with the $15,000-30,000 to repair the job using professionals. Feel free to reach out below and let’s talk about how we can help. Hopefully you found this information helpful!