How Condensation Occurs
Open Crawl Space Vents
Year-round, the floor of your crawl space stays relatively cool. Crawl spaces act similarly to caves – dark and damp. During the summer, especially in Florida, the air outside is warmer than the air in your crawl space.
Cool air has low relative humidity, which simply means it can’t hold very much water when hot air mixes with it. Crawl spaces have crawl space vents dotted throughout them. These were designed with the intention to let moisture escape from your crawl space.
Unfortunately, the opposite happens. Warm, humid air gets into your cool, damp crawl space and causes the air to fill with moisture. Eventually, the air becomes so full that it must expel water droplets. This forms as condensation.
Dirt Crawl Spaces
Many crawl spaces, especially in the Jacksonville and Orlando area, have dirt floors. This contributes to the condensation problem because dirt holds onto moisture after rainstorms or during humid weather.
Since Florida and Georgia are no strangers to both, the ground in your crawl space is often full of moisture which eventually evaporates from the dirt. When this happens, the water particles have nowhere to go but in your crawl space.
These particles form condensation and can weaken wooden support beams and ruin the insulation in your crawl space.
Poor Moisture Barriers
Moisture barriers are an important part of crafting a low-moisture crawl space. Especially if you have a dirt crawl space, these moisture barriers, also called “vapor barriers,” can be very helpful in ensuring moisture stays out of your space.
Unfortunately, DIY vapor barrier options rarely work (if at all). Most store-bought vapor barriers are around 6-mil to 10-mil and cannot contain moisture as effectively as professionally installed options.
The truth is that only a high-quality 20-mil vapor barrier will keep water vapor out of your crawl space and out of the rest of your home. With anything lower, water vapor can seep through and it will eventually become torn and disheveled as you attempt to access your crawl space, or pests enter your crawl space uninvited.
What’s Your Next Step?
When you’re dealing with crawl space moisture, there are a lot of potential options. You may need crawl space encapsulation, you might need to install an energy-efficient dehumidifier, and you might also need to consider pest prevention. Alpha Foundations can help you with all of these options.
An Alpha Foundations crawl space repair expert will enter your crawl space, take a look at the problems you’re experiencing, and recommend a tested and proven solution. Contact us today to get started.
The crawl space is important for one very simple reason: it contains many of your home’s most important structures and systems. This includes your HVAC system, electrical wiring, plumbing, insulation, and your floor’s support beams. None of these items benefit from being splashed with water, much less submerged in a flood.
Protecting the crawl space should be your primary goal when maintaining your Florida or South Georgia home. Your home relies on the many systems installed inside to keep running. If even one of these systems becomes damaged through neglect, then it can quickly spell trouble for the rest of your home. For instance, if constant flooding causes the foundation to gradually break down over time, you will notice the other structures in your house starting to be negatively impacted. Your crawl space supports your entire home.
A proper crawl space insulation material can reduce your Florida or South Georgia home’s energy consumption by 15 percent. However, not all insulation materials perform well in crawl spaces, and some might even cause issues for your home and foundation. Here are a few reasons why your crawl space insulation could be wet.
Some insulation materials are not suitable for a crawl space environment. Commonly, fiberglass insulation is installed because it is a cheap and common insulation material. However, fiberglass is quite absorbent, so when it’s located within a humid crawl space, it tends to take in all the surrounding moisture. Eventually, moisture weighs the insulation down, causing it to fall out of place.
There are two other reasons as to why your crawl space insulation may be wet. If the crawl space is humid enough, condensation may form on the insulation material. Another reason could be mold, which can sometimes feel wet and mushy to the touch. Even if your insulation isn’t absorbent, if it’s made of any kind of organic material, there’s a chance for mold to grow on it. Regardless of the kind of insulation you have, if you feel like it’s damp, you need to replace it and focus on revamping the waterproofing solutions in your crawl space.
Wood rot is one of the most destructive problems that can take root in any Florida or South Georgia home, and it is sadly common in this area thanks to the regions’ humid environment. There are three main forms of wood rot that you should be aware of: soft, white, and brown. No matter what kind of rot takes root in your home, wood rot will always cause wood to decay. This can be especially disastrous for a crawl space and cause major structural damage.
Soft and white rot are also classed as forms of wet rot, and they spread slower than the dry form of wood rot, also known as brown rot. Each of these forms of rot need more moisture than brown rot, and attack different parts of a wooden surface. This means that they change the appearance of wood in slightly different ways. Soft rot attacks the cellulose and leaves a spongy, honeycomb look in damaged wood, while white rot leaves cellulose behind as a white coating.
Brown rot, by contrast, spreads very quickly and requires much less moisture to spread. Rather than causing wood to become soft or spongy, brown rot is more likely to make it brittle in nature. Brown rot will also cause staining and discoloration. Wood that has been impacted by brown rot may take on a slightly burnt and cracked appearance over time.