Typical Discussion of Vented Crawlspaces in Middle Tennessee
Based on our inspection, here is a summary of the facts:
- The crawl space of is a typical vented system approved by the Tennessee building codes. The vapor barrier on the ground and walls are properly installed. In summary, the crawl space is constructed the way the codes require for vented crawl spaces.
- Although vented crawl spaces work tolerably well during most of the year, they don’t do a very good job during periods of high heat and humidity. Hot, humid air flowing into the crawl space does not promote drying. On the contrary, it is the actual source of moisture that can promote mold growth, cupping floors, and other moisture related problems.
- Mold will naturally grow in the presence of moisture. Visible mold is usually a surface phenomenon and does not significantly affect the structural integrity of the wood in the crawl space.
- The building industry is in a state of flux with respect to crawl spaces. Millions of vented crawl spaces are constructed every year. While homeowners may expect the crawl space to stay dry throughout the year, this is not a realistic expectation during hot, humid weather.
- Regardless of what the codes require the builder to do, it is a fact is that vented crawl spaces are vulnerable to the high humidity of summertime weather. The hotter the outdoor temperatures, the greater the problem.
- For many middle Tennessee homeowners, vented crawl spaces cannot and will not deliver the performance that they desire.
A vented crawl space can be converted into a closed, moisture-controlled crawl space with minimal cost. This is an upgrade which delivers benefits in terms of air quality, energy efficiency, and structural sustainability. It is particularly desirable for homes with hardwood floors that could potentially cup or buckle under the influence of elevated moisture levels in the crawl space.
Please note that the option to upgrade to a closed crawl space does not imply that there is a material defect in a residence built over a vented crawl space.