When it comes to the construction of your home, most of us don’t think about attic crawl spaces. This area of the home is often a forgot-about space that is filled with dust, cobwebs, and maybe some insulation. However, you don’t want to neglect an attic crawl space for too long. We’ll show you everything you need to know about this area of your home and what it takes to maintain it.
What is an Attic Crawl Space?
An attic crawl space, also called an attic access space or attic recess, is an area on the top level of a house that is not tall enough to be used as a living area. It is also typically unfinished.
Attic crawl spaces come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Many times, they are a little awkward in size or shape, making them one of the most difficult parts of the home to access or use in a functional manner.
In some cases, attic crawl spaces are used as storage spaces. Homeowners may place seasonal decor items and other objects that they don’t need to use on a regular basis in this space.
Some homeowners may even use this space as a guest room or office. It really depends on the size of the space and if it can be finished for everyday use.
Why You Can’t Neglect Attic Crawl Spaces
If it’s been a long time since you’ve been inside your attic crawl space, you’ll want to take time and have a quick look around. Neglecting your attic crawl space can result in costly consequences. Some
There are many reasons why you don’t want to neglect your crawl space. It will ultimately affect your home in a variety of ways, ranging from air quality to structural integrity.
Here are some of the most common reasons.
Crawl spaces can become subject to moisture damage. Since they are so close to the roof, a leak can easily go undetected while the attic space collects moisture and/or condensation.
When moisture goes undetected in a damp and dark environment, it’s the perfect storm for mold to grow that can lead to illness.
Mold can produce allergens, cause respiratory problems, and result in structural damage to your home. It’s easy for this organism to grow in your crawl space as it has access to organic sources of food, typically wood.
If the mold goes unnoticed, it can grow and thrive for a long time. Worst of all, you may be dealing with black mold in your crawl space without knowing it.
2. Moisture Damage
While mold is certainly damage that derives from moisture, there are other ways that moisture can damage your crawl space.
One is by way of damage to rafter beams. Excess moisture that builds on rafter beams settles in as it seeps inside the wood. Wood is porous so it’s very susceptible to moisture damage.
What happens when wood rafter beams become damaged? It depends on how much moisture is involved and the age of the beams. The wood will eventually start to peel and chip, potentially even warping or bowing.
Meanwhile, the worst form of moisture damage in attic crawl spaces is wood rot. This is when your home is no longer structurally sound, and you can be paying a significant amount to replace the beams and rebuild sections of the crawl space.
3. Rodent Nests
What better area for rats and mice to live in than in your attic crawl space? They like to live in the crawl space underneath your house as well! This is a secluded, dark, and safe area for rodents to call home.
This is a major reason why your attic crawl space must be maintained. It is very common for homeowners to discover rat nests and mice nests inside the space.
What’s worse is that these nests can easily result in an infestation. Once you have a mouse or rat infestation, it can wreak havoc on your attic crawl space and the crawl space under your house. They will chew through wires, insulation, and pretty much anything else they can get their teeth into.
Not to mention, rats and mice feces will spread all over this area—and quite quickly. Coming in contact with rat or mice feces can cause allergic reactions along with spreading bacteria.
When you find rodent nests, you’ll want to act quickly. Allowing mice and rats to live in this area will cause damage and potentially risk your health.
How to Maintain Attic Crawl Spaces
Now that you know about the dangers of neglected attic crawl spaces, you’re probably wondering what it takes to maintain them. The good news is that with some planning and proper tools at hand, your attic crawl space can be a safe and clean area inside your home.
Clean Attic Crawl Spaces
When was the last time that you cleaned your attic crawl space? Removing debris and rotted materials from this space makes a world of difference in the safety and health of your house.
It’s important to clean your attic crawl space for several reasons. First, it is very easy to accumulate dead bugs in this area. As you mentioned earlier, rodent feces can also accumulate here.
Meanwhile, construction debris and damaged wood can also build up in the crawl space.
You also don’t want to forget about the conditions of your vents in the space. A crawl space that should be repaired and sealed. Otherwise, moisture is able to pass through to the floors and other tourist services, including concrete walls.
Ideally, you need a crawl space vapor barrier to secure this area and protect it from damage.
Add a Water Vapor Liner
Going without a water vapor liner in your attic space is asking for trouble. This is because it’s easy for moisture to pass through various areas of the attic crawl space.
With a water vapor barrier, you can use the space without the worry of damage. It’s best to use a crisp poly reinforced liner which is also more resistant.
You can also add a water vapor liner to the crawl space under your house. When attached to the ductwork, it will allow a small amount of air conditioning to come inside the attic space. This helps to regulate the RH and also includes the black flow damper to prevent bad air in the system. You’ll achieve better air quality which can improve the health of your home.
Use Soda Blast Crawl Space Cleaning
This is a crawl space cleaning technique that is similar to sandblasting. However, it is different because it is gentler and even cleaner.
It works by using air pressure and blowing particles against the surface for cleaning. This is a better approach than bleach and scrub treatment, which usually are not successful to remove all dirt and potentially toxic chemicals.
Incorporate a Mold Resistant Sealer Coat
Mold is a big consideration when it comes to the condition of your crawl space. If you have mold or you are concerned about getting mold, a sealer coat can help.
The mold resistant sealer coat is clear. It works on many different types of surfaces, including wood, painted surfaces, masonry surfaces, and even metal. Unfortunately, mold can grow in many different areas given the right conditions. With a mold sealer coat, mold will be one less issue that you’ll need to worry about.
Don’t Forget About Mold Resistant Insulation
You can also opt to have mold resistant insulation installed in your crawl space. Waterproof insulation such as spray foam or ridge board is a good option.
What About the Crawl Space Underneath Your House?
The crawl space beneath your house is susceptible to many of the same types of problems that you’ll find in the attic. However, these crawl spaces can have dirt floors which allow moisture and air to enter inside.
The best way to prevent this situation is by encapsulating the crawl space that’s under your home. If the floor of your crawl space is concrete, you’ll want to avoid fiberglass because it soaks up the moisture in this area.
Instead, use spray foam or ridge board insulation. Since humidity is easily trapped in this area, you’ll want to be careful about the insulation you choose as well as maintenance.
Keep in mind that proper maintenance of crawl spaces will keep your home healthy. It can even help improve energy efficiency along with saving money.
If you are unsure about maintaining the crawl spaces of your home, we are here to help. Our new crawl space service can address the various issues that you may encounter. This includes pest control, where we can remove colonies of insects as well as rodents.
Please contact us today for assistance on crawl space maintenance.