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The Dark Side: Disadvantages of Crawl Spaces (and How to Remedy Them!)

Take a closer look at these disadvantages of a crawl space and how you can resolve them if you decide a home with a crawl space foundation is right for you.

A crawl space foundation can provide various advantages over other types of foundations. It offers easier access to power lines, plumbing equipment, and other system infrastructure that provides services and utilities to your home. However, there are also some common problems that can develop with crawl spaces that you should be aware of.



One of the most notable disadvantages of a crawl space involves moisture. Soil moisture can damage your foundation and the wood frame of your home. Once the soil absorbs rainwater or moisture from nearby water sources, it can spread to other surfaces in your crawl space. The moisture causes erosion that can degrade concrete, wood, and excess settling.  

How to Prevent Moisture Damage

There are a couple of things you can do to keep moisture and flooding from becoming a problem. If your home suffers flooding regularly, installing french drains and a sump pump in the crawl space can help you eliminate standing water.  

Additionally, you may also want to consider an encapsulation for your crawl space. This involves installing a heavy layer of polyethylene over your crawl space floor, around all the piers, and up the foundation walls. The polyethylene material serves as a barrier that keeps moisture from affecting your home’s foundation and structure. Encapsulation also involves the process of sealing off vents and any other gaps in the foundation to limit the air that’s allowed inside. Finally, a dehumidifier is usually installed to control the humidity in the crawl space.


 Another one of the common disadvantages of a crawl space is that humidity may be more likely to affect it. Once the humidity rises in your crawl space, it can promote mold growth on organic surfaces, such as the wood frame of your home. The humidity also creates an ideal environment for pests like insects and dust mites, introducing allergens and pollutants into your home.

Additionally, the humidity in your crawl space will eventually affect the temperature inside your home, forcing your HVAC system to work harder and use more energy. It can also cause condensation on the HVAC unit and the ductwork, rapidly degrading these components. 

Finally, as mold and mildew take hold in your crawl space, they can release spores that trigger allergies and other respiratory issues — quickly degrading the air quality of your entire home.

How to Counteract High Crawl Space Humidity

A dehumidifier can help you maintain better control over the humidity levels in your crawl space. Combined with crawl space encapsulation, a dehumidifier can help you keep this part of your home cool and dry. While it prevents moisture damage, your dehumidifier can also eliminate the conditions that mold and other fungi need to thrive.


Homeowners cite pests as common disadvantages of a crawl space since these areas are often exposed to outdoor elements — and as mentioned, humidity makes crawl spaces an ideal environment for pests. In particular, destructive pests like termites and carpenter ants pose a significant problem in this part of your home. These insects and some rodents can do considerable damage to the surfaces in your crawl space.

How to Keep Pests Out of Your Crawl Space

Encapsulating your crawl space with a dehumidifier is often the best solution, but this can be a costly and time-consuming project. In general, reducing humidity and moisture in your crawl space can make this area less hospitable for pests.


You can avoid many crawl space cons with an inspection. A professional foundation contractor can inspect your crawl space and pinpoint problems with moisture, humidity, and accessibility. If needed, they can also recommend professional encapsulation services to seal off your crawl space and protect your home. With care and prevention, you can enjoy all the advantages of a crawl space — without all the headaches and crawl space cons that can come with it.