Crawl Space Waterproofing
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Humidity Control and Your Long Island Crawl Space
When it comes to crawl spaces there are two schools of thought: vented or closed. Many homes still have traditional vented crawl spaces. The problem they have found is that as vented crawl spaces let in outside air it is actually creating moisture problems in the basement. The humidity level should be 50% relative humidity even in the crawl space. An environment where the humidity level is too high will have too much moisture in the air and result in mold growth and water buildup causing damage to the floor joists and framing underneath the house.
Vented crawl spaces are also more likely to have standing water in the crawl space which also results in higher levels of humidity and more water-related problems. A wet environment also encourages pests, insects, bugs and rodents to set up camp in the crawl space. Pest control professionals have found a direct link to pest control and moisture control. Less water= less bugs.
The closed crawl space is a technique that closes the vents of the traditional Long Island crawl space and ties it into the rest of the house. Traditional crawl spaces are not treated as part of the house even though they definitely are. The air in the crawl space travels up into the upper levels of the house through stack effect or chimney effect. The bad air that is sitting in the crawl space full of mold spores and dust mites is making its way upstairs. A closed Long Island crawl space cleans up the environment underneath the house making it waterproof, insulated and conditioned so you don’t end up with bad indoor air quality or water problems. A professional waterproofing contractor or crawl space specialist can help you waterproof the crawl space and properly enclose it with a heavy duty plastic liner. The liners should be tied into the framing of the house without leaving any gaps. Dealing with the water issues in the crawl space is always number one. Installing a crawl space liner without waterproofing first will trap the water underneath the liner and create a water bed in the crawl space. Without closing the vents and completely sealing the liner will allow water in on top of the crawl space building more of a pool in the crawl space. No water beds or swimming pools are allowed in your crawl space!
Controlling the humidity in your Long Island crawl space is about the technique of encapsulating the crawl space and then continuing to control the condition of the below-grade space with dehumidifiers.
Make sure that your building codes in your area allow for conditioned Long Island crawl spaces. Most regions across the U.S. allow them now but many still list vented crawl spaces for new construction. Most builders are not closing the crawl space during construction because of the additional costs even though it is a better practice.