Cleaning Up Mold in a Crawl Space: Tips and Techniques

Cleaning Up Mold in a Crawl Space: Tips and Techniques

Mold is everywhere. It grows in your home’s crawl spaces, basements, attics, garages, sheds, barns, and even inside walls. What’s worse is that mold spores float around the air, making it very difficult to get rid of and can quickly spread.

Having mold in your home is not only unsightly, but it also poses serious health risks. In fact, mold exposure has been linked to asthma attacks, respiratory infections, sinus problems, skin rashes, headaches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, coughing, wheezing, and more so it’s certainly something that you want to get rid of if it is in your home. One place where mold is common is in your home’s crawl space.

I’ve included tips, tricks, and techniques that will help you remove mold from your crawl space without causing any damage to your home.

What Is A Crawl Space

What Is A Crawl Space?

The term “crawl space” refers to the area below the flooring of your home. It’s typically on the ground level where water collects during heavy rainstorms. If you have a larger crawl space chances are you have more steps from the ground level to get into your home. Crawl spaces can be just a short distance such as 12 inches to more than 5 feet.

If you live in a house built prior to 1990, there may be a crawl space beneath your home. Some homes were built with a crawl space because it was cheaper than building a basement. Others did not build a crawl space because they wanted to have a slab home where the flooring in the home is on the ground level. Most times this flooring is based on a concrete slab hence the name. A crawl space is typically accessed through a door located around the perimeter of the home.

Most homeowners who live in houses in northern states have basements instead of crawl spaces because of the temperatures. However, some of these homes still have crawl spaces.

Regardless of whether you have a crawl space or a basement, mold growth is common in these areas. Mold spores are everywhere, including inside your home. They’re usually harmless, but when combined with moisture, they can grow rapidly and cause health problems.

Mold in The Crawl Space

Mold grows best in moist environments such as basements, bathrooms, kitchens, garages, attics, crawl spaces, and unfinished areas. If you find mold growing in one of those places, it could mean there are problems with moisture. While cleaning and removing the mold may solve the problem temporarily it won’t do anything for the moisture. This means that over time the mold will likely return. Finding the reason why the mold is there to begin with is a must to solve the problem.

A Flooded Crawl Space Can Have Mold Present

A flooded basement or crawl space can wreak havoc on your home. Not only does it make cleaning up difficult, but mold growth can occur because of the added moisture in the crawl space or basement. If you suspect there is a problem, contact a professional water damage restoration contractor. They can help eliminate mold caused by a flooded basement.

Condensation During Times of High Humidity

Ventilation systems should be designed so that they do not allow heat to rise and cool down again. This process creates condensation inside buildings. If you live in a humid climate, it is important to make sure that your home is properly ventilated. You can use fans, open windows, and even install dehumidifiers to keep moisture levels low.

Rising Humidity from the Ground

The term “rising damp” refers to moisture moving upward through the soil and into a building. This causes problems such as rot, mold growth, and structural issues.

Moisture moves from the soil up through the soil and enters the crawlspace via cracks around exterior foundations. Once inside, it can move through the subflooring and underlayment, causing problems like rotting wood beams and drywall. It may also cause a problem with insects as well.

If you suspect rising damp, contact a professional immediately. They can inspect the problem and provide solutions. Placing a moisture barrier in the crawl space is usually the remedy to this problem and it can be expensive.

Penetrating Moisture

There are many causes of penetrating moisture in basements and crawl spaces. Some common ones include:

  • Moisture seeping into walls and ceilings because of poor drainage around exterior foundations.
  • Moisture entering through cracks in concrete slabs.
  • Water coming up through ground soil.
  • Excess water leaking from plumbing fixtures such as toilets and faucets.
  • Water flowing down through cracks in masonry block walls.

A good inspection will help determine whether there is any damage to your basement foundation. If you do find damage, it needs to be repaired immediately. If you suspect that your home could be suffering from penetrating moisture you will likely need a foundation contractor to make repairs.

Prevent Mold Permanently

Mold growth occurs when moisture collects in crawl spaces. Moisture creates ideal conditions for mold to grow. If you live in an area where temperatures are warm during the summer months, make sure to check the crawl space regularly. You don’t want to wait until springtime to find out that water has seeped into the crawlspace.

If you notice any signs of dampness in the crawlspace, call a professional immediately. There are many different types of molds that can grow in crawlspaces, including black mold, pink slime mold, blue green algae, and others. These molds can cause serious health problems for humans and animals. They can even lead to structural damage to your home.

To prevent mold growth in crawl spaces, seal the crawl space properly before getting too wet. Don’t forget about the pipes. Check for cracks and leaks around sinks, toilets, tubs, showers, etc. Fixing these issues before they become major issues will help keep your crawlspace dry.

You can use a dehumidifier to reduce the amount of humidity in the crawlspace. This will cut down on the chances of mold growing in the crawlspace. Crawl space dehumidifiers can be found on Amazon by clicking here.

Look for Leaking Pipes and HVAC Ducts

Inspecting the crawl space for water damage is one of the most important steps before starting any repairs. If you see water stains on the ceiling, walls, floor or even furniture, there could be a serious issue. Water damage can cause mold growth, rot and structural problems.

Make sure you know where the water is coming from before trying anything else. If you find a crack in the wall, check the roof and attic to make sure no rainwater is leaking into the house. Check the foundation for cracks and holes, and look around the yard for signs of erosion.

If you’re unsure about what caused the water damage, call a professional to inspect the area. You’ll want to hire someone who knows what he or she is looking for. A licensed plumber or certified drywall inspector can help determine whether the problem is something that needs to be fixed immediately or if it can wait until spring.

Check the Crawl Space Ventilation to Ensure It’s Not Blocked

The humidity level in a crawl space needs to be low as higher humidity means more moisture in the air. Keeping the humidity low helps prevent mold growth and it can also help keep pests away. If you notice condensation on outside skirting of the crawl space, pillars, or walls, it could mean that there are too much humidity in your crawl space. You may want to consider installing some vents throughout the crawlspace and make sure they are open to allow air to flow freely throughout the crawl space.

Don’t Forget About the Dryer Vent That Exhausts Hot Humid Air

Most home’s have a dryer exhaust on the side of the home. This allows for hot, humid air from the dryer to exhaust outside where it’s not a problem. For some homes however the ducting from the dryer to the outside can break leaking that hot humid air into the crawl space. To prevent this, you should check your dryer vents to ensure they are properly vented outside.

Inspect the Insulation on HVAC Ducts, Pipes, and Flooring

Crawl spaces are often forgotten about, especially during the warmer seasons. But they’re important because they help keep out moisture and pests. And it’s easy to forget about them once winter hits. So make sure yours is well insulated. During summer air conditioner ducts can have condensation build up on them if they are not properly insulated. This can cause your energy bill to increase as well as introduce more moisture into the crawl space.

Check drainage, Install a French Drain if Needed

Check drainage, Install a French Drain if Needed

A French drain is an inexpensive and easy way to prevent water damage to your home. It works by diverting the water away from your foundation walls. When it rains, water flows into the soil around your property, where it drains away. If there is no place for the water to go, it gets trapped under your home and causes serious structural problems.

You should also consider gutter extenders as well. They are essential made to help divert water away from your foundation wall and downspouts. They work by creating a seal along the bottom edge of your gutters, keeping water from getting inside. Without them, water could enter your home through cracks in your siding and cause mold growth, rot, and more. Check out some gutter extenders on Amazon

Mold Removal in Crawl Spaces

Mold is a dangerous fungus that thrives inside homes and crawl spaces. If you don’t know how to get rid of mold in your crawl space, it could grow into serious health problems. A few tips can help you prevent mold growth in your crawl space.

There are several do it yourself methods to get rid of mold from your home. However, keep in mind that the size of the mold problem should be considered. If you notice a lot of mold in your home’s crawl space it’s always best to call a mold remediation contractor to remove the mold for you. It can be dangerous to attempt mold remediation without the proper tools and protective gear.

You should call an expert to inspect your crawl space and determine whether there are any areas where water leaks are occurring. Once you find out what needs to be done, you can use a product like DampRid® to dry up the area.

Anti-Mildew Paint in your Basement

A common problem in basements is mildew. But it doesn’t always mean you need to spend hundreds of dollars on a professional treatment. In fact, there are some DIY options that might do just fine.

The first step is to test out the area where mildew is present. You’ll want to use a small brush to apply a few drops of water onto the affected surface. If you’re dealing with a large amount of mildew, you may want to wait 24 hours before testing again. Once you’ve tested the area, look for signs of mold growth. Mildew looks like dark spots on wood surfaces. If you find any, wipe off the excess moisture and let dry completely. Then try applying one of the following solutions to the entire surface.

Kilz AntiMold Paint – This product contains fungicide and antimicrobial properties. It works well against mildew, but it’s important to note that it won’t kill existing molds. To combat both mildew and molds, mix equal parts of Kilz AntiMold and Kilz Wood Finish. Apply 2 coats of the mixture, letting each coat dry completely before applying the next. Let the final coat sit overnight before wiping away any excess moisture.

Vinegar + Baking Soda – Mix together equal parts of white vinegar and baking soda. Spray onto the affected area and let dry. Repeat once per week until the mildew clears up.

If you notice any changes in the color of your walls, make sure to contact your local building inspector. They may require additional inspections to ensure the structure is safe.

Possible false alarms

Concrete looks remarkably similar to mold growth. In fact, concrete looks remarkably similar to white molds. But don’t worry – it’s not actually mold. It’s just concrete looking like mold.

Mold spores can grow on concrete without any visible mold growth. And when you take away the concrete, it leaves a stain that looks like black mold growth. But again, don’t panic – it’s not mold. It’ll wash off easily.

When you see this on your home, it could be a sign of mold growth. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have mold growing inside your walls. It might just be something else.

So what causes this look? Well, concrete is porous. This allows moisture to seep into the pores and cause the appearance of mold growth. If you notice this on your home, you should contact a professional cleaning company to help you clean up the mess.

Can Mold Make You Sick?

Mold does not affect everyone equally; some people are allergic to it while others are not. If you find black spots on walls, floors, ceilings, or furniture, you might want to consider calling a professional. Mold spores can cause respiratory problems such as coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, and even asthma attacks.

If you notice mold growing inside your home, don’t try to do it yourself. Contact a professional to clean up the mess. There are many different types of mold, and each type requires a unique treatment. A certified mold remediation specialist should know what type of mold is present and how best to treat it.

Preventing mold from returning after cleaning is important too, since mold can grow again quickly. When mold grows, it releases tiny particles called mycotoxins into the air. These toxins can irritate your lungs and make you sick. To prevent mold from returning, seal off areas where mold is growing with plastic sheeting or tape. This prevents moisture from entering the area and causing the mold to return.

Professional Mold Remediation

Mold is one of those things you don’t want to think about. But it happens. And when it does, it needs to be dealt with quickly. If you suspect there might be mold growing somewhere inside your home, call a professional mold removal company right away. They’ll come out, inspect the area, and determine whether there’s actually a problem. If there is, they’ll take steps to remove the mold safely. And they’re trained professionals who know how to do this job properly. So don’t wait around.

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