Posted by: greenpinkies | August 22, 2010

The Crawlspace or “The Land Down Under”

The house is too moist, the inside air prickles the skin. The smell is also really a put off.  In fact we’re hoping that smell can be gotten rid of.  Step one is to go into the crawl space and remove all the old insulation under the floor so it can dry out.  Then we can also assess the cinderblock  foundation.

The insulation under the house was put on wrong in the first place, the paper was on the outside, fiberglass up against the subfloor. It is damp and holding the moisture against the subfloor. It is moldy and  full of mice and lots of mouse droppings.  (In fact, when we had stacked up the rotten insulation outside in the sun, we could hear high pitched squeaking coming from inside the pile.  No joke, the pile was alive and squeeking from (apparently trapped?) mice.)



Lauren and I wore mylar body suits, very good masks, eye protection, hair protection and gloves and…. we immediately overheated!  Mylar suits don’t breath and the outside air temperature was 95 degrees. We immediately dived under the house to get out of the sun.

In we go!!!

The crawl space height ranges from 3 feet down to 18 inches. We found that we could cool off, in our suits, by just lying face down, spread eagle, on the cool dirt and letting the coolness soak in.  We took many of these ‘cool off’ breaks. Yes there were spiders and we started out by removing webs using a stick. As the day wore on however, (we were under there for 10 hours), the heat and fatigue made the spiders irrelevant, who cares about Brown Recluses when you’re already miserable. Besides, what you can’t see doesn’t exist, right?  The glasses fogged up and collected sweat. Pretty soon it was just pretty much a blind, grab with the hands and stuff it on down past your feet repetitive motion. Timelessness, or rather, time stands still. (We’ve heard of something called ‘Hot Yoga’ for meditation and exercise. Well, we believe this would qualify).


Enter negative thinking:  Thoughts of: How do I know if I’m going to have a heat stroke? Will there be a warning or will I just keel over? How close to overheating am I now or do I just need to grin and bear it? Is my mask really keeping out all the moldy glass wool dust or will I be permanently maimed with black lung? We can feel the weight of the house over our heads. At one point, in the tightest, darkest corner, Lauren begins banging a rotted rim joist with her stick. “Stop it!  (It feels as if all the house has to do is settle an inch or so and we’ll be pinned and won’t be able to breathe in!)

The rocky soil was hard on the hips. (We took to rolling like logs to get places. Better than crawling or wiggling on your belly.)






Thankfully, today, outside of some itching places on our wrists from the glass wool, we don’t appear to have suffered otherwise. No Hanta virus, no respiratory problems. No fungus. No spider bites.

The mission was accomplished, the crawlspace looks really great, the foundation looks great, the subflooring looks pristine except under the bathrooms where it doesn’t exist in spots. There is some concern about decayed rim joists on the Northwest corner and north side of the house.

And that leaves the final question…why does this house feel and test too moist?


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