AdvantaClean Discusses Crawl Space Moisture in South Florida

Concerned About Crawl Space Moisture in Miami?


Although the information provided applies to homes nationwide, always contact your local vendor to obtain the solution that fits your home and your area. South Florida homeowners are the intended audience for this discussion about crawl space moisture. The crawl space is one of those home areas the owner usually knows very little about. Because of that, not much attention is paid to it until it develops a big problem. Its primary purpose is to provide a buffer between the floor of the house and the damp soil conditions beneath. Adding the buffer should help reduce humidity levels by creating ventilation that moves water vapor away from the structure.


How Well-Understood Are Crawl Spaces?


Although crawl spaces became common in the Southern US around the 1920s, it was not until 1942 that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) began investigating their use. Since then, building codes concerning the practice have regularly upgraded their requirements. Many designers, constructors, and homeowners today, however, still underestimate the importance of crawlspace to a property.


Why Is Humidity a Problem in Crawl Spaces?


It is not uncommon for AdvantaClean to inspect properties' crawl spaces in response to humidity issues. We find that most of the problems are not due to the structure itself but what owners have done to it. These are the most common client profiles AdvantaClean encounters:


  • The Remodeler


The homeowner decides to extend, remodel, or refresh a house built during the 1920s through the 1980s. Because the building plan fails to consider the crawlspace's ventilation, the construction often includes closing or covering the vents. This design choice interferes with airflow, concentrating damaging humidity under the floor of the house.


  • The Landscaper


The homeowner dislikes the crawl space vents' appearance or the house's overall aesthetics. The chosen solution includes covering up the offending structures with dense plantings close to the property, which blocks the natural ventilation of the crawlspace.


What Is AdvanatClean's Approach?


When we respond to one of these calls, AdvantaClean's most crucial task is to assess the current damages and identify the changes that caused the problems. When we inspect the crawlspace, we frequently discover the problem is not the original home design but the adaptations the owners decided to complete. Evaluating the scenario, including this information, leads to the best solution.


Can Excessive Humidity Issues Be Solved?


There are many solutions to control humidity in a crawlspace. They range from retrofitting highly technical crawlspaces with complete encapsulation to very simple solutions like increasing natural ventilation. Clients often tell us they need a quote for a full encapsulation because that is the most common and attractive solution in a Google search for crawl space humidity

solutions. Rarely do these customers fully understand what they are asking for and what it implies.


What Are the Consequences of Encapsulation?


Complete encapsulation is a process through which contractors extend a house's envelope from living space to living space, plus an enclosed crawl space. During these projects, the crawlspace ground and walls are covered with a 10-20 mil vapor barrier, including sealing off all vents to create a waterproof area. But people don't know that waterproofing the crawl space also requires active dehumidification and water management systems. Water leaks from plumbing or floods require abatement with dehumidifiers, fans, and sump pumps. These devices increase the already expensive estimate and add necessary regular maintenance and higher energy bills. The installation of this additional equipment is widespread in northern states where fully structural basements and some finished rooms, instead of crawl spaces, make the extra investment understandable.


Are There Interventions Short of Encapsulation?


  • Moisture Barrier Ground Cover 


Another solution for areas where the soil is extremely damp is to install a moisture barrier in the ground. This project is cheaper. The goal is not to prevent all humidity intrusion in the crawl space but to reduce the amount of it by covering the ground with 10-20 mil vapor barriers. The durable polyethylene plastic sheeting isolates ground moisture, minimizing its vaporization into the confined space. This vapor barrier also limits unwanted odors entering the living quarters via the flooring. Restricting access to the general environment of the crawl space provides a dryer condition. This solution is more of an upgrade of a crawl space that works correctly, but the owners want the extra security of a wholesome crawl space.


  • Natural Ventilation


For AdvantaClean, enhanced ventilation is always our aim, requiring very little to no maintenance, no energy use, and is not invasive to the property. We recommend this service for South Florida houses.


As we consider retro-engineering your property, Advantaclean will always suggest the most straightforward and more efficient way to recover the functionality of the crawlspace. We complete the project to ensure no problems for years to come. If you have a concern with moisture in your crawl space in Southeast Florida, talk to AdvantaClean of Miami at (786) 243-6782, so we can help you understand the problem and select the best solution for you.