Crawl Space Drying >> How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space

In tidewater red cypress, most cedars, and in redwood, it is highly resistant to decay and can even be used in contact with soil and semipermanent construction if there is no sapwood attached. How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space However, even these woods do not have the decay resistance of wood fully impregnated with an effective preservative. 

The highly durable hardwoods, such as black walnut, catalpa, Osage-orange, and the better varieties  of black locust, are too hard or too scarce for general use in construction. How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space Heartwood of resistant species is increasingly difficult to  obtain and cannot be the principal reliance for safety in most house construction. 

Where preservative-treated lumber is not available for use, it is good practice to pick out the pieces containing only heartwood for use in sills, porches, outside steps, and the lowest  siding boards. How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space Paint and Preservatives Paint is not a preservative. 

However, it helps to prevent decay by protecting wood from  intermittent wetting, especially if applied to ends and edges as well as to exposed faces and so maintained as to allow the fewest possible cracks at joints. How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space When applied to wood that is not seasoned, it  may favor decay by hindering further drying. Painting is not a substitute for good construction and maintenance. 

In warm moist climates or in rooms with very moist air, molds may develop on the  paint or on dirt or small insects that adhere to it, and make it unsightly. Paints having low oil content and much zinc oxide are safest in this respect. How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space On the gulf coast, where mildew is most common, fungicides to protect paint can be obtained from paint stores,  with instructions for use. 

Many of the fungicides are poisonous, and should be used with caution. Observe the  instructions on container labels. How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space To prevent decay, use treated wood for any members that are not likely to be properly protected against excessive moisture, unless heartwood of a highly resistant species is available. 

Sills or plates, sleepers, joists, beams, and girders in or on concrete, and exposed porches and steps are the members for which  thorough preservative treatment can be most easily justified. How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space To be fully protected, wood must be deeply impregnated with the preservative. 

This can be done best by treatment under pressure, using, when  necessary, preservatives that permit painting. How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space Less efficient but often adequate treatment can be given by so-called vacuum treatment or by heating wood and then soaking it in a cold preservative; for thin or short pieces, cold soaking is  sufficient. 

Wood that is cut and fitted after treatment should be given a soaking or heavy brush  treatment of the cut surfaces. How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space Wood can be given some protection from decay by more superficial treatments with preservatives, although chemicals added by dipping penetrate  the wood of most species surprisingly little. 

Such treatment, while it is not dependable for wood exposed to severe conditions, can considerably increase the service life of wood that  will be exposed to rain but not be in contact with the ground. How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space Including water-repellent materials in the preservative formula makes the treatment more effective, particularly if the wood is to be  left unpainted. 

Painting the wood with a latex paint after treatments of this type increases their effectiveness, How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space especially if water repellents are not added. it is even possible in some  situations to give a somewhat effective treatment to uninfected wood already in place in a building, especially at joints and column ends. 

Repeated brushing with waterrepellent preservatives  into joint areas can be helpful. Also, certain greaselike preservatives are being sold for this purpose. However, there are difficulties with these types of treatment. How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space The parts of a building  most likely to decay are not always easily reached, or if covered with a good paint coat will not take treatment. 

Moreover, a surface thoroughly treated with a solution or grease containing one of the heavier oils may not take paint for  some months. How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space It is much easier and better to treat the wood before it goes into construction; but treated or untreated, it should still be guarded against  excessive moisture. How To Safeguard Woodwork Close To The Ground. 

The older type of house built well above  the ground is the safest, but most people prefer the modern low type of house. How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space This, together with the unavoidable use of sapwood from second-growth timber, has operated to increase the decay hazard. Sills, joists, floors, and  lower walls may suffer heavily from decay fungi that come up from the soil. 

Their decay may also be hastened by moisture that comes from the soil as vapor and condenses on the cold sills or the outer ends of the joists when the outdoor  temperature is low (fig. 3). How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space The following precautions are advised. Drainage Moist building sites should be well drained. 

The soil surface should slope away from  the house, and downspouts should discharge into approved drains or into masonry gutters or splash blocks that lead the water several feet away from the house. How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space Dense shrubbery or vines  planted too close to the house can interfere with drainage and air movement and thus promote fungus growth. 

Contact of Wood With Soil Allow no wood to be in contact with the soil unless the  wood is thoroughly impregnated with a suitable preservative. For the greatest safety to permanent buildings, there should be no wood-soil contact of any kind. How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space Remove all wood forms, grading stakes, and spreader sticks from concrete work under  houses, porches, or steps. 

Keep wood skirting off the soil by putting a low concrete base under it; do the same with lattice, or  suspend it above the soil with a clearance of at least 2 inches. This also applies to wood housings around plumbing and water pipes underneath houses. How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space Mineral insulation is preferable to wood housing around pipes cold enough to "sweat.” 

Good building  practice requires that foundation walls supporting wood frame construction should extend at least 8 inches above the finish grade, with at least 6 inches of the exterior wall exposed. How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space This means that the bottom of sills or sleepers would be at least 8 inches above  finish grade. 

The minimum interior clearance between the ground and bottom of joists should be 18 inches; for girders, 12 inches. How To Reduce Moisture In A Crawl Space Dirt fills under concrete or masonry porch floors frequently provide points of entry for decay fungi (fig. 4).

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