Your Crawl Space

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Crawl Space ProblemsChances are this is not the first article about crawl spaces you have read. There is a lot of articles on the web about how to fix a crawl space. Problem is, a good share of these articles are not written by someone that has actually done any research or even fixed a crawl space. They read an article about crawl spaces and then write their own version adding in what they have been told is the right way. This has caused the water to get really muddy. Some of this is due to the complexity of the subject.

There are many different factors that come into play when fixing a crawl space. What is right for one home might not be right for another. The location, age, size, symptoms and budget all affect the right answer. Some companies will try to sell everything and anything that has to do with a crawl space whether the home needs it or not. If the salesman doesn’t know what you need then selling you all of it should take care of the problem.

This is called ignorance, incompetence and/or sleazy sales practices. Some salesmen will even show a certificate that they were trained and are qualified to inspect a crawl space. Most likely, they were trained to sell the companies products. There is a big difference, but you will never know if you don’t ask good questions.

If you want to fix your crawl space, you need to encapsulate your crawl space. This involves sealing the crawl space off from the moisture outside. It's a term more homeowners are getting to know, but it's still relatively new.

Now, back to business. Soon, you get the "pitch."

So, how do you know when the good advice ends and the sales pitch starts? The only way you will be able to know the answer to this question is to educate yourself about crawl spaces, which is not as easy as it sounds. Even if you had a good idea what you want, by the time you research it on the internet you will most likely need to take a nap to clear your head.

One article will tell you to put in more foundation vents and the next article will say not to put in more vents but to use their “patented power vent” system at $500 or $1000:crazy: each. Yet another article will tell you to close all of your foundation vents and another will say all of those other articles are messed up, you should open the vents in the summer and close them in the winter. So by this time the only thing you have learned is how much time it takes to get completely confused and frustrated.

The next subject that needs to be explored is the crawl space vapor barrier or “retarder”. During this search you find an article that says use 6 Mil plastic and another one says use 10 Mil barrier. Then there is a website that sells a “non woven material”, what the @#!# is that? But wait there’s more:)), another says 20 Mil and another says 12 Mil and yet another says 14 Mil. You'll also likely come across a bunch of content about the cost of vapor barriers too.

The underlying message in all these articles- Our vapor barrier is the best and will do the job the best and there is nothing like it on earth:)). Of course, a bit of an over exaggeration but it will certainly leave you with that impression. Then the final blow, “this is a job that should be left to the professionals”. What? As if!:))

The companies that make this statement are a bit pissed that no one wants to pay their high price. So the only way they can justify the cost is to tell the OWNER OF THE HOME your not qualified to fix your own crawl space. The only people that need to be “qualified” are the ones that don’t own the home, that is why they have to be qualified. Here is an example- to pull an electrical permit one need to be either: the owner of the home or a licensed electrician. In order to get a license they have to qualify. :))

Okay, I’m getting off topic, by this point you are either having fun with trying to get the answers to your questions or you’re at the kitchen table trying to gouge your eye out with a dirty fork:D. To make it worse, IF you are up to continuing your search you will also find companies that try to gain credibility with you by using a blog. The blog looks full and has many entries and comments. It seems these guys are the ones that others look to. :!:But wait! The entries (and comments) were copied and pasted from other websites like Yahoo Answers.

The company that sells the “non woven material” actually went out and started 6 or 7 blogs and then searched the internet for questions and answers about crawl spaces. He apparently found a gold mine at Yahoo Answers and felt who would even know. After he copied and pasted the other site’s information as his own he then proceeded to link these blogs back to his site that sells his “non woven material”. That is like faking testimonials|-|. You may have to scroll down on the poser’s blog to find the bogus entries. This is pretty easy to discover, and I recommend finding out if the owner of a blog really knows what he is talking about before you follow the advice. Here is a way to validate the blog:

  • 1. Copy a full sentence from the blog entry
  • 2. Paste in the search bar, Yahoo works better because it will show all entries that match exactly, Google will only show the entry it thinks is the right one and take the other out of the search results
  • 3. Look through all search results, I highly doubt Yahoo Answers would steal from a small blog

My advice is to trust your gut, you will know the right answer when you see (hear) it. Keep looking and don’t rush into any sales pitches. If you feel like you were dazzled then you probably were. The flashier the presentation the more it is meant to distract you. The honest guys will want to help you, without pressure. Remember, if you hear – “Besides the price (cost) is there any reason you wouldn’t ……today?” you’re being pitched, be careful.

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