Looking for accurate cost information related to crawl space mold?
Perfect, you’re in the right spot. In this guide, you’ll learn:
- Why does mold form in crawl spaces?
- How do you know what kind of mold is present?
- How can you DIY mold removal?
- What does crawl space mold remediation cost?
- Can mold affect your health?
- How can you save money on mold removal?
Crawl spaces can be beneficial to homeowners because they provide easy access to utilities and some extra storage space.
However, they’re also prone to moisture issues because of their location underground, making them common places for mold growth and mildew formation.
Every homeowner should know how to identify crawl space mold, remove it safely, and prevent it from becoming a recurring problem. Unfortunately, most people don’t know what to do if they find mold in their crawl space.
Below, I’m going to discuss how and why mold forms in crawl spaces, how to identify and remove mold, and why mold needs to be removed. We’ll also offer a cost guide for mold removal and some tips on how you can save money throughout the process.
Table of Contents
What Are The Causes of Mold In Your Crawl Space?
There are a few different underlying problems that could be the cause of mold formation in your crawl space, but the main issue is an increased moisture level. Mold thrives in cool, damp areas, and a crawl space often provides the ideal climate for mold.
Moisture can occur for several reasons, but the most common source is water from the surrounding soil.
Rainwater and groundwater can wick through your concrete walls and evaporate into the air under your home, increasing humidity levels. Inadequate exterior drainage can create abundant hydrostatic pressure on your foundation walls, forcing water through the concrete more readily.
Foundation cracks can also cause moisture problems in your crawl space. All concrete foundations crack during settling or in response to soil movement or pressure, and these gaps can serve as easy entryways to runoff.
Frequent or even isolated flooding can create moisture buildup under your home and lead to mold problems as well. Flooding is most common in coastal areas or on properties with a high water table.
Moisture buildup and water damage can originate from inside your property as well, even when no external sources threaten water intrusion.
Your crawl space may be exposed to excess liquid water and water vapor if you have plumbing leaks or if your plumbing or HVAC ductwork running through your crawl space isn’t insulated.
Uninsulated pipes can lead to condensation in colder weather, and this condensate can drip into your crawl space.
How To Identify Mold In Your Crawl Space
Identifying mold in your crawl space is relatively straightforward if you have access to the area under your home. A visual inspection can often be adequate for finding mold, which most often grows on your concrete block walls. You may also notice a musty smell in your crawl space or feel that the air is humid.
If you don’t have easy access to your crawl space, musty odors when opening your crawl space door can indicate the presence of mold.
Unexplained breathing problems or unseasonal allergies may mean you have mold in your crawl space, but you’ll want to have the area inspected to be sure that mold is the culprit.
Identifying that there is mold is just the first step, and you’ll next want to figure out which kind of mold is growing. We’ll review the three main types of mold that frequently develop in crawl spaces, as well as some of the dangers associated with each.
White mold is the most common type seen in crawl spaces. This mold grows most readily on your concrete walls and appears powdery or fuzzy. Crawl space mold that is white is often Aspergillus, Penicillium, or Cladosporium.
Some homeowners believe that white mold is harmless, but all strains can be detrimental to your health and shouldn’t be breathed in or left untreated.
Identifying white mold can be challenging because it can blend in with your concrete. Additionally, efflorescence, which is staining on your walls from salts and minerals left behind from dissolving water, can easily be confused with white mold.
The stains are often powdery and similar in color to white mold. As such, testing may be required to identify white mold.
Black mold is often what homeowners are most concerned with most because some strains are often referred to as “toxic.” Black mold is commonly of the Stachybotrys strain, which can be hazardous to your health and needs immediate removal.
However, it’s understood to be no more or less dangerous than other mold types. Black mold most often forms on the underside of your home, but it can occur on the walls as well.
Yellow mold is still dangerous to your health, but it’s also referred to as “house-eating” mold because it feeds on organic material in your floor joists and support beams. Several different strains appear yellow, including Serpula Lacrymans, Mucor, Epicoccum Nigrum, and Geomyces Pannorum.
Because it feeds on construction material, yellow mold usually presents itself on wood beams on the ceiling of your crawl space.
How To Remove Mold From A Crawl Space Yourself
Although professional removal and remediation are strongly recommended, you can begin the process of removing crawl space mold yourself.
Some homeowners attempt to scrape moldy portions of their foundation walls or construction material clean, but this can release more harmful mold spores into the air and be more dangerous to you and your family members.
The best and fastest way to begin killing mold in the area under your home is to spray it with a bleach solution. Bleach in high enough concentrations will kill mold shortly after application.
We recommend treating well beyond the visually affected area, as mold often spreads and isn’t always visible as it’s forming.
Whenever you’re treating mold in any capacity, remember to protect yourself with eye protection, a face mask, and gloves.
Again, this DIY solution can help limit the spread of mold, but we recommend having a mold removal specialist test and treat your home professionally.
Cost Of Mold Removal In Crawl Spaces?
The national average cost of mold removal in crawl spaces is $2,000. This price typically includes air testing before and after removal to ensure that the mold is entirely removed.
The total cost depends on several factors, including how much surface area needs treatment, how easy it is to access your crawl space, and how much – if any – damage the mold has done to your construction material.
Small patches of mold in an easily accessible area under your home can cost as little as $500 for removal. Large sections and replacement of damaged wood, insulation, drywall, or other material can cost up to $7,500 or more if the damage is extensive enough to be structural.
Health Issues From Mold In A Crawl Space
While damage to your home is a significant cause of concern related to mold issues, your health and the wellbeing of your family members are far more essential and priceless.
Unfortunately, mold of any color in your crawl space can easily make its way into the air in your living space, affect your indoor air quality, and cause a myriad of health issues.
Breathing in mold is hazardous to everyone’s health and can lead to breathing problems, allergies, and sickness in otherwise healthy individuals.
It’s even more dangerous and can even be life-threatening for those with existing health conditions like asthma, restricted breathing, or severe allergies.
Mold can also cause skin and eye irritation depending on the type of spore present in your indoor air.
Regardless of the color, extent, or location of mold in your home, it should be treated immediately and professionally to protect the wellbeing of everyone in your house.
Preventing Mold In Crawl Spaces
Whether you have dealt with mold in your crawl space before or not, implementing measures to prevent mold growth is essential. There are several things you can do to reduce moisture buildup under your home, which is the primary cause of mold.
First, you should seal or waterproof any cracks in your foundation. Sealing gaps will prevent water from seeping in after rainfall or from other runoff.
Another great way to reduce the amount of water that gets into your crawl space is to implement adequate drainage outside your home.
A sound drainage system includes gutters, downspouts, and gutter extensions to move problematic rainwater away from your foundation wall, as well as a French drain system that can move runoff to a safe area of your property.
Next, you should install a vapor barrier in your crawl space if you don’t already have one. This kind of crawl space encapsulation gets installed on the walls and floor of your crawl space and helps keep moisture out.
If your crawl space is vented, you may want to consider having it sealed to prevent moisture from the outside from getting in.
The sealing process is best left to professionals, as crawl space vents and any openings need to be fully adequately sealed to be effective.
Lastly, a sump pump and dehumidifier can work to remove standing water and water vapor from your crawl space, respectively. These should be your last line of defense but can keep your crawl space air well-conditioned and dry to prevent mold from forming.
How To Save Money On Crawl Space Mold Removal?
The best way to save money on mold removal in your crawl space is to have it done professionally as soon as mold is discovered.
Mold is often pervasive and challenging to treat adequately. DIY solutions can help slow mold growth, but we recommend you have one of our professionals with commercial equipment and testing capability to do the work to ensure all of the mold is removed.
Additionally, you can save money on mold removal in the long run by treating the underlying problem. Mold growth should always be treated directly, but preventing mold from recurring can potentially save you thousands of dollars in future repairs.
You can save additional money on labor costs by installing gutters and downpipes, properly grading your soil away from your foundation, and installing a French drain as DIY projects.