Case Studies

Our Mold Removal Services Case Studies: Mold in crawl space in Point Pleasant needs a permanent solution

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 by Bill Cowley

Challenge

The Crawl Space Solutions by Cowleys installation team was dispatched to a home in Point Pleasant to make improvements to a crawl space with chronic water and moisture issues. New Jersey homeowners, especially those who reside in coastal communities along the Jersey Shore, often find themselves dealing with groundwater intrusions and moisture from high indoor humidity in their crawl spaces. These problems often lead to structural or foundation damage, insect and wildlife infestations, dangerous mold growth and unhealthy indoor air. 

Like many Ocean County residents who live near the Barnegat Bay or one of our many rivers, such as the Manasquan River, this Point Pleasant homeowner lives in an area where there is a high water table and where flooding is relatively common. His crawl space water and moisture problems had triggered extensive mold growth. We were there to take care of the mold problem and improve his crawl space to prevent future mold growth. Mold thrives in places with standing water or high humidity, and there is no better condition for mold growth than a dark, chronically wet crawl space. Even though mold is growing in your crawl space, it does not stay there. Mold spores are carried by air currents throughout the living spaces above, which then may cause or exacerbate respiratory problems for the home’s occupants, especially those with mold sensitivity. 

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of this particular job was the crawl space clearance. This crawl space was only 20 inches high! We often work inside crawl spaces where there is enough room to crouch or move around on your hands and knees. With this crawl space, the only way to move around was on your back using a mechanic’s creeper — similar to what auto mechanics use to roll under a vehicle to do their work. This was a particularly challenging job that I’ll long remember. It was an intense experience to say the least working in a dark, wet, moldy subterranean area while lying on your back wearing full-body Tyvek protective suits and respirators. But, for our crew, the more challenging the job, the more fun we have. But I must admit — with this particular job, I was glad that I skipped that big biscuits and gravy breakfast earlier that morning!

Solution

Our first job was to treat the mold and prevent any future mold growth. We treated the entire crawl space using or two-component MAPS (Mold Abatement Polymer Solutions) system. We first applied our EPA-registered anti-microbial fungicide (MAPS 1). This initial application, which kills any surface mold as well as any airborne mold spores, is specifically selected for its compatibility with our patented polymer sealant (MAPS 2). This unique sealant, which is derived from coatings used for human implant devices, is available only to authorized pest control operators licensed to apply products inside structures. While completely safe and non-toxic to people, this sealant destroys mold at the cellular level. Any mold we treat is rendered inert, harmless, and non-allergenic. The sealant is moisture-sensitive and reactivates to prevent the return of any new mold growth in the treated area, so this treatment prevents future mold growth, not just treating the mold that is here today. 

 

After treating the mold, we made some significant crawl space improvements so that it would stay clean and dry. To prevent mold growth, it is critical to keep out water and lower the indoor humidity level. To help keep this crawl space dry, we installed a heavy-duty 20-mil CleanSpace vinyl vapor barrier. This barrier is a specially engineered film made of layers of high density and low density polyethylene. About three-quarters of the crawl space flooring was open soil, and the rest was a concrete slab. We covered the soil portion of the crawl space with this vapor barrier. Sand or soil crawl space floors are notorious for developing develop large amounts of water and moisture, which contaminates the entire crawl space. 

Next, we covered the vents to block outside air from entering. We prepped four frame openings with treated 2x4s along with four Everlast doors, installing them with handles and weather strips. These Everlast vent cover doors, while completely sealing the vents from the outdoor elements, are easy to open. All you need to do is twist a few knobs, and you’re in!  They can be installed against wood framing or masonry, and close off outside air and moisture from entering the crawl space through the exterior vents. Made with a hard durable plastic, they stand up to the worst weather conditions, and, unlike wood vents, they re completely maintenance free. They never rot, warp, or crack and never need to be painted. We then foam blocked the remaining two remaining vents in order to permanently seal them. 

Finally, we installed a sump pump and dehumidifier. The sump pumps used in our crawl space waterproofing system, built with top-quality motors and components, are designed to handle high water volume and long run times. These pumps also have a battery backup system so they will work when they need to be working — even if you lose power! The pumps are housed in a durable plastic sump pump liner with an airtight cover so you don’t have to deal with an ugly open hole that can attract insects and rodents. We also installed a SaniDry dehumidifier that is specifically designed for crawl spaces. They work in temperatures as low as 40 degrees F, and are much more powerful than traditional dehumidifiers. This unit has the capacity to extract close to 14 gallons of water per day at 80 degrees F, if necessary. These dehumidifiers do not require human intervention. They operate automatically, turning on and off according to a built-in hygrometer that measures indoor relative humidity, and there is no water tray. These dehumidifiers connect directly into the drainage system so they never need to be emptied. 

This Point Pleasant homeowner was extremely happy that we successfully treated the dangerous mold and now had an improved crawl space that added real value to his home by removing a dangerous crawl space environment where mold could grow and thrive. 

 

 

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