Omni Basement Systems Case Studies: Sealing a Problematic Crawl Space in Milton, ON

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016 by Pete Karreman

Challenge

"Our crawl space isn't sealed. Not even close."

Well, at least our customers had an idea of the root of the problem. Living in a century old home with a vented dirt crawlspace, they had outside air that traveled through the not-even-close-to-sealed crawl space and made the floors extremely cold. There was a persistent musty smell in the house that was a big turnoff as well. With a new baby in the house, comfort was their number one priority, so they called us to take on the task.

This large crawl space was not only susceptible to wind gusts, but also water - there were mold problems on the beams and mushrooms growing in it. Mushrooms!  

The other problem was that the flooring system had been weakened by the continued exposure to the moisture.  There we several load bearing piers that had sunk and the entire upstairs living room had a floor that had a 2 1/4" dip in the middle where the main beam was.  This problem of the support columns under the main beam settling was also visible in the upstairs bedroom.  The plaster ceiling had cracks in it and where the ceiling met the walls there was a 1/4" gap.

Solution

The biggest issue at hand was the fact that this was a BIG crawl space. No wonder their floors were cold - they had 10 vents and a poorly sealed door on the crawl space. So our first point of order was to install vent covers, as a crawl space's biggest enemy is an unsealed vent. Ok, maybe the biggest enemy is water, but one of the ways it gets there is through unsealed vents.

After installing the vent covers and a new airtight Everlast door, we went to work inside of the crawl space. And then there were water problems.   Most crawl spaces almost always have water problems - so we first installed a SmartSump pumps to cover the breadth of the crawl space, and outfitted the discharge lines with LawnScape outlets and an IceGuard so the water can reliably discharge far away from the house.

We also installed 6 SmartJacks ® from Foundation Supportworks to permanently lift and stabilizes the existing beams and floor joists in this crawl space. We use a solid base of engineered fill addresses the problem of weak foundation soil by transferring the weight of the home to competent strata. Steel columns are secured to the beams or joists in the crawl space. Heavy-duty, threaded rods allow for adjustment and a custom fit for each SmartJack System installed.

With a reliable water removal system installed and the beam fullt supported, we went to work encapsulating the crawl space. The CleanSpace vapor barrier system will not only protect the crawl space from any ambient moisture and preserve its structural integrity, it's also the first step in insulating the crawl space from the wind. Which means the home above the space will also be protected from the wind.

Once the CleanSpace was installed, we addressed the cold floors by insulating and air sealing the crawlspace. Our SilverGlo insulation panels are rigid panels that are water-resistant and inorganic - which means mold can't eat them - and their reflective surface retains heat in the crawl space to further improve the temperature in the home. No more cold floors.

We installed over 800 feet of CleanSpace vapor barrier with drainage matting and SilverGlo paneling by the time we were finished, and the project took multiple days to complete, but at the end our customers had a crawl space free from water and wind, and a more comfortable home.

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Our Locations:

Omni Basement Systems
95 Frid Street Unit 3
Hamilton, ON L8P 4M3
1-289-769-8994