In a vented crawl space, fiberglass insulation is usually rendered ineffective. To be effective, fiberglass insulation needs to be installed in a closed cavity. Not only is it allowing air to pass right through it and into your home, but it absorbs the moisture in the crawl space and when fiberglass is even a little damp, it loses a lot of its insulation value.
Water leaks, seeps, and flows into a crawl space through the foundation walls, under the footer, and between the footer and the walls. In this crawl space, enough water has flowed into the crawl space that it has eroded a trench along the foundation walls. The white chalky powder on the wall is efflorescence, a result of water seeping through the walls.
Radiant barriers are designed to reflect heat back into a space however, they are only effective when they are clean and shiny and have an air space. When a radiant barrier is installed on floor joists with fiberglass insulation, it traps moisture between the barrier and the subfloor. As air enters the space through gaps in the system and the rim and band, it is carrying moisture. The fiberglass soaks up this moisture and it is absorbed by the wood. The barrier does not allow the insulation to vent, so the moisture continues to build up resulting in mold and rot.
Microbial growth occurs on organic materials when there is a high relative humidity, about 60% or higher, and moderate temperatures. While mold loves the wood joists and subfloor of our home, it loves the paper backing of insulation even more. Mold eats away at the materials and pollutes our indoor air quality; it can even agitate asthma and allergies.
Over time, joists and girders can sag, foundations settle and require additional support. The homeowners have had a support jack put in place to help stabilize their crawl space, however, there are problems with this application. The support is simply set on a block or paver, over time settlement will continue and that paver will sink and settle into the soft ground compromising the support. An effective foundation support is installed on a footer, a base of concrete poured several feet into the ground reducing the probability of settlement. An adjustable jack is also preferred because if there is minor settlement, the jack can be adjusted to continue to support the home.
Open crawl space vents allow hot humid air into the crawl space in warmer months and cold air winter months. In the summer, this damp air contributes to the high relative humidity in the space and results in microbial growth, damaged insulation, and moist or rotted wood. In the winter, it leaves the homeowners with freezing floors. Year-round, the homeowners are combating high energy bills, drafts, and compromised indoor air quality.
Homes in Tappahannock are subject to high humidity in the summer months. This humidity pours into the crawl space and wreaks havoc on the insulation and wood substructure of the home allowing microbial growth to occur, and if left uncontrolled, wood rot. Homeowners are left with poor indoor air quality, damage to their home's structure, and high energy bills.