We’ve all smelled it, sensed it, felt it. It’s palatable. We’re talking about a damp basement or crawlspace, high moisture levels and vulnerable to mold, pests and decay. The odor is typically caused by the rise in mold spores in the space due to the higher moisture content. Buildings can handle a degree of moisture before they become overloaded but over time this can build up to cause problems. Dehumidification is usually the major part of the solution for this issue.
We recommend sealing the crawlspace with closed cell foam on the walls and the ground with a vapor barrier. This allows you to begin to control the environment and make a more concentrated impact with your dehumidification efforts. One of our foam crews made up of Colton Owens and Ray Fisher recently completed a damp crawlspace project to do just that for the homeowners.
The old fiberglass insulation was first removed from the floor joists above the crawl space. This is important to allow energy from above and below the floor to moderate the space and minimize potential for competing temperature zones. A heavy weight vapor barrier is spread across the floor and lapped up the walls in order to keep ground moisture out of the space.
Closed-cell foam (aka 2 lb foam) is then applied to the walls from the subfloor above down to overlap the plastic along the walls. The foam creates a vapor barrier along the wall which keeps the wall temperature warm enough to prevent interior condensation from forming on them as well as suppressing moisture from driving through from the exterior. With this protective layer around the space it will now be so much easier to control the moisture and in turn control the odor.
In this case an added benefit is the duct work that is supplying conditioned air to the room above is now inside the conditioned space of the home. This saves tremendous amounts of energy and will help maintain comfort of the room above and reduce the run time of the heating and cooling systems.