Since mold is found naturally in the ground, the crawl space (or service cellar) is an important access chimney for mold which can eventually lead to high risk fungal contamination.

Once decontaminated and rehabilitated, the crawl space becomes easy to heat and allows better control of the humidity therein. It can even become an additional room to the property.

Problems of wet crawl spaces

Let’s talk about this beast of ancient times: the crawl space! We are saying old times, because this constructive mode has been resolved for several years, luckily because it was not originally a winner. No house should have an interior garden located under it, especially when it brings a lot of humidity and building materials are putrescible. All houses with crawl spaces often have their share of problems eg. :

✔︎ Lack of thermal insulation
✔︎ No heating
✔︎ No dehumidifier
✔︎ No ventilation
✔︎ No vapor barrier
✔︎ Wood or organic materials in contact with the ground
✔︎ Debris and residue littering the ground

Just like a house with a basement, a house with a wet crawl space must certainly be able to manage their humidity adequately. This operation becomes complex when we are in the presence of a constant source of humidity (a bare floor in the crawl space).

Before even thinking about adding insulation to a crawl space or asking the question: how to insulate a crawl space, you have to understand where the moisture is coming from. The solution is certainly not to just put a ventilation of the crawl space, especially if it works with only an outside air supply. Mother Nature is probably not the best system for controlling humidity in your crawl space.

Crawl space humidity

The primary source of moisture is of course the soil that makes up the crawl space floor. Moisture, naturally both towards the dry, so the moisture contained in the soil surrounding the foundations and that under the house will naturally tend to want to migrate inside the crawl space. The placement of gravel or sand will not help in the proper management of humidity in the crawl space.

It will therefore be necessary to put in place barriers to prevent moisture from entering the crawl space and subsequently put in place systems that will be able to manage the remaining humidity before even thinking of heating the crawl space. Because to heat humid air you will need 3 to 4 times more energy, without being sure of the result. Setting up a dehumidifier without a moisture barrier will not allow you to manage your humidity either, because as mentioned above humidity both in the dry. The drier the air in the crawl space in the absence of moisture barriers, the more soil moisture will migrate to your service cellar and leave you with a wet crawl space.

How to do a crawl space rehabilitation

Before even thinking about transforming a crawl space into a basement or insulating the crawl space, it will be necessary to rehabilitate it, in order to be able to manage it. To do this, a series of equally important steps must be carried out in order to rehabilitate the crawl space before proceeding with the decontamination of mold.

Here are a few examples:

✔︎ Removal of any debris littering the ground.
✔︎ Removal of all organic materials (wood) in contact with the ground.
✔︎Remove all heavily contaminated materials.
✔︎Position of concrete foundations to support the beams.
✔︎Installation of a vapor barrier type moisture barrier on the floor.
✔︎Installation of drainage system.
✔︎Implementation of a humidity management system.

It is important to understand that each crawl space is unique, therefore all the works are not always the same, in some cases exterior works are necessary, in others they are impossible so the scope of the interior works will be more enlarged. The key to the comfort of your home begins with the management of the crawl space, following this you will be able to heat the crawl space which will have the effect of providing you with warmer floors and ensuring the maintenance of fungal health. crawl space.

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Vapor barrier and crawl space insulation

The vapor barrier is the primary element (barrier) against moisture, it must cover the entire floor of the crawl space without any breach, opening or putrescible elements under it. In addition, it must be of a thickness in accordance with the recommendations in order to block moisture at the source, to do so a thickness of 6 mil is recommended and it must bear the CGSB approved mark. At FONGIX our membranes specially designed to our specifications are opaque and 12 mil thick strung, which is beyond industry standards. In addition, a protective sub-membrane is put in place thus adding additional protection for an unparalleled lifespan. In addition, during installation it must absolutely be sealed at the periphery as well as at each opening (concrete foundations, plumbing duct or other non-putrescible element).

Decontamination of the crawl space

Once the rehabilitation has been carried out, all of the decontamination steps and procedures can be carried out. The remaining structures showing signs of mold without rotting will be treated by an abrasive method, such as high pressure cryogenic blasting (dry ice decontamination technique). The goal of this step is to return all surfaces to their original state, that is to say free from mold.

Stages of crawl space decontamination

Following the abrasive method, we will follow the various stages of decontamination such as:

✔︎Full HEPA suction from all surfaces.
✔︎Complete scrubbing of concrete surfaces using an anti-fungal solution combined with Tri Sodium Phosphate.
✔︎Complete cleaning of non-porous surfaces with an anti-fungal.

Humidity control in a crawl space

In order to allow you to control the humidity of the crawl space, we will install a crawl space dehumidifier, with a built-in pump that flows directly into the house’s drainage system. This type of installation allows constant control versus systems equipped with a basin that must be emptied daily, moreover in the event that the basin is not emptied, this type of dehumidifier switches off automatically (so it no longer dehumidifies). Our installation allows full humidity control and allows the existing crawl space heating system to be able to perform its function optimally.

Rehabilitation with concrete slabs

At FONGIX, we sometimes see crawl spaces with a height allowing more frequent use of the premises.

We therefore propose as an option, to provide the crawl space with a concrete slab for intensive use.

Of course, installing a perfectly sealed 10 mil vapor barrier is the priority to prevent moisture from migrating into the interior of the building prior to pouring concrete.

Interior drains

At FONGIX, the concern for sustainable work begins with a series of questions and discussions with the building owners involved.

For example: Is there water accumulation in the crawl space in spring or in heavy rain? Is your building positioned on the mountainside? If the answer is yes, then we will suggest to our customer the installation of a drainage system inside the crawl space before installing the membranes. The water will then be directed to the catchment basin which will then be discharged into the sanitary drain.

This drainage method removes the water pressure exerted on the membranes. In addition, the interior drain allows drainage in the absence of an exterior drain, and of course avoids any undesirable consequences of installing an exterior drainage system such as earthworks, asphalting, paving stones, etc.

Our work, our guarantee:

Fongix Guarantees the installation of 12mil bi-color (black & white) vapor barrier membranes. Thick & Delta-Ms type sub-membranes. These installations far exceed the rules of the art when it comes to installing vapor barriers. The combination of acoustic sealant joints, high quality adhesive & the mechanical fixing of the membranes to the foundations allows us to ensure the sustainability of the work.

Fongix To implement several corrective measures to make the environment healthy & controllable in terms of humidity. It is imperative that all corrective measures allowing the control and management of humidity in the intervention area be maintained in order to endorse the guarantee of the work. It is essential that indoor humidity is kept below 50%.

FongixGuarantees the installation of the membranes for a period of 5 years, knowing with certainty that the latter by far exceeds this period. The containers must not at any time be placed directly on our membranes, you must protect yourself with rubber mats to limit the risk of breakage.

Fongix Guarantee the mechanical units in place, such as manufacturers. So for these please refer to the document supplied with the mechanical elements (dehumidifier, fans, pumps).

Contact us at 1 844 511-5454 to get a free quote from decontamination experts for your crawl space decontamination project in Montreal and surrounding areas.