There are many benefits to installing a quality sealed and waterproofed crawl space. Crawl spaces are typically unfinished, uninsulated rooms above the ground level of a commercial building. The term ‘crawl space’ is typically used in association with basement developments, but can actually be found in retail outlets, warehouses and other retail facilities where the floor space to be enclosed may be shorter than that of the floor of the building. A dry, ventilated crawl space makes the risk of mold and mildew much more likely.
Installing a finished basement or crawl space requires careful planning and inspection. The initial step is to eliminate all existing floor conditions that present a health or safety risk. This includes a thorough investigation of the structural foundation, which may reveal problems with plumbing venting system. Other critical issues are the presence of water pipes or fixtures, the condition of the concrete slab and walls, and the presence of any vents or exhaust system (e.g. chimneys).
Once the foundation is deemed safe, the next step is to identify the location of the new foundation. In many cases, concrete slabs are set on top of the soil or on top of a pad, but it is also possible to dig straight into the soil. In most cases, once the foundation is excavated, soil is pulled away from the house, but in some instances root extensions may be required to position the slab on the correct spot. Once this is completed, the dirt is leveled and compacted and a trowel is used to apply the new base concrete.
In most Canada homes, basement finishing involves two processes: wet fixing or dry fixing. Wet fixing is the construction of the foundation and wall cavities, including the floor, while dry fixing is the actual waterproofing of the crawl space. Wet-fixing projects can include the addition of a concrete slab, which forms the base of the structure. On the other hand, dry fixing simply means sealing the existing concrete slab.
There are two primary reasons why the crawl space can become damp and mold-filled: natural ventilation and structural conditions. Natural ventilation is usually controlled by strategically placing windows and doors to allow air movement while dampness and mold accumulation can be managed through effective drainage. Poor condensation and humidity control can result in a combination of structural problems, including deterioration of the building envelope, damage to the foundation and walls, as well as the growth of harmful organisms like black mold, lichens, molds, and fungus.
The effects of these conditions on the occupants of the crawl space can range from mildew to damage to the building envelope and walls. Mildew and molds are known to create allergens, allergies, and respiratory irritations, while mildew can create unbearable warmth and a need for air-conditioning or dehumidification. In addition, molds can be linked to health problems such as asthma and allergies. And if dampness or moisture is present, mold spores can be released into the air, which can prove harmful to your health and that of your family. Thus, it is important to repair or prevent water infiltration into the crawl space.