Crawl Space Repair Causes: Wood Rot and Mold
Anytime you’re discussing crawl space health, wood rot and mold are two things that are almost certainly going to come up. That’s partially because these tend to be the two most common issues your crawl space might experience that could extensively harm the crawl space. They’re also some of the scariest issues that crawl spaces can experience. If you’re able to find them early on, however, you may be able to fix them. Here’s what you need to know about wood rot and mold in your crawl space.
The Signs of Wood Rot and Mold
Many homeowners just don’t know what to look out for when it comes to wood rot and mold in their crawl space. If this is you, it’s important to remember that there are warning signs. Here are a few of the most common warning signs of wood rot and mold.
- Bouncy Floors
One of the most telltale signs of wood rot is a so-called “bouncy floor.” This essentially means that while the floor appears mostly whole if you’re not walking across it, it sags under just about any weight. It typically also bounces back to its initial height if you move away from it for any amount of time.
These bouncy floors tend to indicate wood rot because of the unique way in which wood rot attacks the structural integrity of floor joists. Wood rot, as a fungal infection, worms its way through wooden floor joists. It allows those floor joists to bend more than usual, and if you leave it for too long, it could result in those floor joists eventually snapping.
- Musty Crawl Space
When you go near or into your crawl space, does it smell musty? Although you might have heard that a musty smell is just a normal part of having a crawl space, it isn’t. This is a sign that you have some sort of fungal growth in your crawl space, whether that growth is wood rot, mold, or something else.
In severe cases, the musty smell may rise up from the crawl space and infest the rest of the home. If you’re starting to smell a sort of musty smell throughout your home, chances are there’s something wrong. You need to talk to a crawl space repair expert as soon as possible to see where the smell is coming from and how you can fix it.
- High Crawl Space Humidity
When you have high levels of crawl space humidity, you’ll have several secondary problems. First of all, it becomes much easier for you to end up with condensation throughout your crawl space. Condensation occurs when the relative humidity rises above 100%, which causes water droplets to form on whatever surface is closest and can lead to standing water problems.
It’s also important to note that wood rot and mold require relatively high levels of humidity to grow and thrive. If you have a crawl space humidity level of around 70% or higher, you’re at a very increased risk of wood rot and mold because that’s when both of these things grow their best. High levels of humidity aren’t great for many reasons and fungal infections are just some of them.
Common Causes of Crawl Space Problems
Wood Rot & Mold
Wood rot and mold are two problems that tend to strike fear into the hearts of homeowners. What should you know about these crawl space problems?
The Stack Effect
The stack effect is something that can wreak havoc on your home and crawl space. What do you need to know about the stack effect in your home?
Overspanned Floor Joists
Floor joists are integral to supporting your main floor. If they overspan, it can lead to several problems. What can cause floor joists to overspan?
Open Crawl Space Vent
Open crawl space vents are a huge contributor to crawl space unhealthiness. What should you know if you have open crawl space vents?
How Do Wood Rot and Mold Impact Your Crawl Space?
You could end up with serious concerns due to wood rot and mold in your crawl space, which is exactly why you need to take these issues seriously. Here are a few ways that wood rot and mold can have a lasting impact on your crawl space.
- Higher Levels of Allergies and Asthma
When you have wood rot or mold in your crawl space, you’re often going to end up with allergy and asthma issues throughout the home. That’s because mold and fungus spores, while not often toxic, tend to irritate people’s respiratory tracts. When they get up into the home, they’re going to irritate the home residents’ respiratory systems.
It’s also important to remember that these mold and fungus spores will get up into the rest of the home. There’s no way to keep mold and wood rot sequestered safely in the crawl space. Up to 50% of the air you breathe in your home comes from your crawl space, which is just one reason to keep it healthy.
- Lower Structural Stability
Wood rot and mold both attack organic materials. What does that mean for you? Essentially, it means you can count on having significantly lower structural stability anywhere wood rot and mold are growing. Traditionally, this includes your floor joists and sometimes even the framing of certain walls in your home.
Wood rot is most well known for causing structural stability problems, especially because of the aforementioned issues with bouncy floors. However, it’s certainly not the only thing that can cause issues with structural stability. When you have mold or mildew, they will also eat into organic materials, causing serious problems with your structure.
- Issues with Ongoing Repair
This is a reason you should address wood rot and mold as soon as you recognize it might be a problem in your crawl space. For the most part, wood rot and mold spreads dramatically throughout a home. When you need to make a repair, even if it’s for a completely different reason, you’ll need to contend with the wood rot and mold.
Many crawl space repair experts won’t do a repair if you have wood rot and mold you need to address. Instead, they’ll need to address that wood rot and mold first and foremost. It’s a good policy because it ensures that your crawl space stays healthy, but it can be frustrating for homeowners who are looking for a fix in a problematic crawl space.
FAQs About Wood Rot and Mold
You may have heard that a musty smell in your crawl space is just a normal part of having one. This is just because many crawl spaces have issues with mold and mildew. Don’t let people tell you that a musty crawl space is normal – you run the risk of ignoring very serious crawl space problems if you believe them.
- The Reason for the Musty Smell
If you have a musty smell in your crawl space, that’s usually either because of an issue with airflow or because of an issue with mold, mildew, or wood rot growth. If it’s an airflow problem, the musty smell is stale air that hasn’t cycled through the crawl space. If it’s an issue with mold, mildew, or wood rot, you’re smelling the growth in your crawl space.
As you would probably expect, none of these things are good. Air should be circulating through your crawl space and the rest of your home regularly and you shouldn’t have growths of mold, mildew, or wood rot. If you have a musty smell in your crawl space, it’s because there’s something wrong.
- Handling the Underlying Problem
Regardless of the problems you’re facing, you need to tackle whatever’s causing the musty smell, rather than just ignoring it. If you ignore these issues, you’re more likely to run into very serious concerns as a result of the underlying cause. For example, unnoticed wood rot can eventually cause structural decline and even complete collapse.
Handling the underlying problem is one of the most important things you can do if you’re looking to avoid musty smells in your crawl space in the future. However, it can also be important for your home’s structure. Make sure you’re tackling issues with musty smells as early as possible to avoid structural instability.
Sure, it can seem scary to have issues with wood rot and mold in your crawl space. This problem becomes even scarier when you realize wood rot and mold are both issues that typically grow very dramatically and very quickly. However, your home can recover from both.
- Fixing the Underlying Problem
It’s important to remember that even if you do have wood rot or mold in your crawl space, it’s not like this is the end of your healthy crawl space. What you have to do is fix the problem that’s causing the wood rot or mold. You can’t just clear out the wood rot or mold and maintain your current structure, as it’s likely to come back with a vengeance.There are many ways to fix the underlying problems. Most commonly, that means reducing your crawl space humidity and limiting access to the crawl space for fungal spores. You may need to encapsulate the crawl space, get a crawl space dehumidifier, and close crawl space vents, for example.
- Getting an Expert’s Help
It’s possible to bounce back from having wood rot or mold as long as you have a repair expert to help. However, if you don’t get an expert’s help, you’re probably not going to be able to fix the overarching problem. A musty smell tends to indicate a problem that’s hard for a layman to fix.
Instead of trying to fix these problems on your own, you should seek out an expert to give you in-depth knowledge. Make sure you talk to an expert early on if you’re looking to identify, fix, and then prevent your wood rot and mold problems. If you wait for too long, you might have worse issues to fix in the future.
There are several different ways you can deal with wood rot and mold in your crawl space. The main point is that you need to make sure you’re dealing with it effectively. Whether you have wood rot or mold, here are some of the methods that you might need to consider.
- Issues with Wood Rot and Mold
For the most part, the answer to wood rot is just to remove everything that the wood rot touched. Wood rot is incredibly infectious, which means it tends to grow through the structure very quickly. However, if you handle it early on, you might be able to just get rid of the rot and bolster the wood.
What about when it comes to mold? Most commonly, you’ll need to get two experts in for mold growth: one that can remove the current mold infestation and one that can help repair your structure. Again, as with wood rot, you might be able to avoid removing any element of the structure as long as you handle it early on.
- A Personalized Fix
These are the generally accepted ways to manage wood rot and mold, but the answer might be different depending on the extent of the wood rot or the secondary problems you’re having. It all depends on your unique situation. That’s exactly why you need to talk to an expert to personalize your solution.
A customized fix is one of the only ways you can manage your home’s musty smell problems. There are many reasons why wood rot and mold has infested your crawl space. You may notice some of the more obvious ones, like open crawl space vents, but just fixing the obvious problems isn’t enough. You need an expert to help you fix every single problem.
Fixing wood rot and mold isn’t easy, but it is possible. The biggest obstacle that many homeowners run into is trying to handle their problems themselves. When you have wood rot or mold, you need an expert to help you fix it.
- Problems with DIY
Don’t make the crucial mistake of thinking you can get rid of wood rot and mold all on your own. This is not a DIY project, and you shouldn’t think that you can DIY the wood rot or mold removal process on your own.
The biggest problem with DIY fixes is the fact that they’re rarely good enough, but they’re often a little effective. That can make you think you’ve fixed the problem, which can cause you to ignore the other warning signs. A DIY fix typically isn’t a long-term solution for your home, but it’s especially dangerous when it comes to problems like a musty crawl space.
- Getting an Expert
Crawl space repair is something that you should leave to an expert. A professional will have all sorts of information available that you won’t be able to use. Instead of trusting that you know what’s going on in your own crawl space, you should get more information from an expert to identify all the hidden problems or warning signs that more issues are about to develop.
Rather than trying to fix crawl space problems yourself, talk to a Groundworks crawl space repair expert if you think you might have wood rot or mold. They’ll look through the crawl space, let you know what’s going on, and offer a fix that will suit your unique needs. It’s the best way to maximize your crawl space’s health.
Fix Wood Rot and Mold with Help from a Crawl Space Repair Expert
When you want to fix wood rot and mold for good, you must talk to a crawl space repair expert first and foremost. Wood rot and mold are both things that grow and spread in your crawl space very easily. If you have a crawl space repair expert from Groundworks that can come and take a look at your crawl space, you’re more likely to fix the problem completely.
Fixing wood rot and mold on your own just isn’t a possibility. It shouldn’t be one of the solutions that you even consider—it’s something that’s just too dangerous to consider seriously. If you want to fix wood rot and mold in your crawl space, talk to a Groundworks crawl space repair expert, who will help you move toward a healthier, happier crawl space and home.