Right now, in the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington area there many homes with very unhealthy crawlspaces. You would never know by looking at theses houses. Many of them seem very nice and clean, some of them in upscale neighborhoods, some in neighborhoods not as nice. From the outside or even the inside of the home, you would never know what is happening underneath. The point is, you never really know what the crawlspace looks like unless you inspect it and despite how clean you keep your home, you might have a very unhealthy, dirty and gross crawlspace.
What Is A Crawlspace?
The area underneath your main living area is called a crawlspace. They come in different sizes and varieties, but they are usually about 2 feet in height, have insulation on the subfloor and vapor barrier (plastic) on the ground. You may also have air ducts and plumbing pipes that run through this space. Lastly, you have the structural components that hold the home up.
How Crawlspaces Get So Bad
There are two things that can cause major problems in a crawlspace. The first is moisture. Sometimes this can come in the form of groundwater, which is water seeping up and settling on top of the vapor barrier or surface water that is water coming from a sloped yard, for example. Either way, water can be very damaging to a home, causing wood rot and mold. Many homes in the area have this problem and there are certain geographical areas that are more likely to have standing water like Beaverton, NW Portland and Battle Ground. However, this is not an exhaustive list and ground water or surface water can be found all over the Portland Metro area. For some houses, this is seasonal and only shows up during the rainy season. For other homes, this is a year round problem.
The other cause of crawlspace damages are animals. This can include opossums, raccoons, skunks and other nuisance wildlife, but the most likely cause of damages and contamination to a crawlspace is rodents. Rats and mice can easily get into a crawlspace, even if it is fully sealed up, by digging or chewing their way through. Rodents do an immense amount of damage and can quickly contaminate a space. Since they have no control over bladder or fecal movements, they leave waste everywhere they go. This leaves your crawlspace a very gross place and considering that approximately 40% of the air you breathe in your house comes from your crawlspace, you can see the importance of cleaning things up.
How To Clean A Crawlspace
Typically, a crawlspace is cleaned (we call it a crawlspace restoration) by removing the vapor barrier and subfloor insulation. Sometimes we will need to also remove air ducts, fix foundation screens and more. Once we have all of the contaminated material out, we disinfect the space with a ULV fogger and a product that cleans and sanitizes. After that, we begin the process of putting the space back together, installing the new 6 mil black vapor barrier (polyurethane) and install the subfloor insulation (usually R30 Knauf Eco Batt).
Whether or not you are in need of a crawlspace restoration or you simply would like a free inspection to check things out down there, please call New Leaf Crawlspace Solutions today to see how we can help!