Get Your Houston Home Winter-Ready With This Handy Checklist

Winterize Houston Crawl Space

Do your feet tend to get cold while staying at home during winter? Then, your crawlspace or foundation could be the main culprit behind the problem. Even though the winters in Houston are usually warmer than in other areas of the country, the outside temperature often gets cooler than some of us would like. Since the cold air that gets under your house can make your floors cold, the best way to address cold floors and feet is to protect your crawl space and foundation against the cold weather. This can be done by winterizing the space underneath your house. Besides keeping your home warmer, proper crawl space winterization will also reduce your energy costs and prevent specific problems, such as water damage due to burst pipes.  

Luckily, getting your Houston home winter-ready doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Here is a crawl space and foundation winterization checklist to help you with your home improvement project.

Fix foundation cracksIf there are any cracks in your foundation, the cold air from outside can get inside your subfloor. Not only will this make the floor on top cold, but it can also expose the entire structure to condensation. Condensation within a floor system can damage different components, including joists, beams, and even the floor covering on top. In addition, a damp subfloor and crawl space can lead to foundation damage and create a favorable breeding ground for pests and mold growth.By repairing foundation cracks, you can keep out both the cold air and moisture and also prevent a series of foundation problems that can worsen over time and become costly to fix. Currently, epoxy injection is the most common DIY repair method for foundation cracks.

However, be sure to have your foundation inspected by professionals before making any repairs. This is important especially because some cracks cannot be repaired with DIY kits. It is also worth noting that DYI injection repairs are temporary solutions, as most of them fail within a relatively short period of time, particularly due to soil expansion and contraction—which cannot be completely controlled in areas with expansive clay soil, like Houston.  
Insulate the rim joistsLocated around the perimeter of crawl spaces, rim joists are a major source of air leakage, heat loss, and condensation. By simply insulating your rim joists with either rigid foam boards or spray foam, you can keep your house warmer, make it more energy-efficient in both winter and summer and prevent damage due to condensation. 
Insulate any exposed
Although very cold weather is extremely rare in Houston, the temperature can still drop below freezing occasionally. Freezing temperatures can cause any exposed pipes in unheated areas, like the crawl space underneath your home, to burst. Besides leaving you without water and requiring repairs in the midst of winter, burst pipes can lead to water damage, mold growth, and structural problems that can be expensive to fix.  
Encapsulate your crawl spaceEncapsulating your crawl space is the most effective way to keep the area under your house clean, dry, and warmer during winter. Besides preventing cold air from getting underneath your home, crawl space encapsulation also keeps pests and moisture out, eliminating many of the problems that may occur both in cold and hot weather. In general, encapsulation involves sealing the space with vapor barriers and insulation.
Keep your crawl space vents closedIf you have encapsulated your crawl space already and also had a few vents installed, make sure you keep them closed during the winter months. While vents can help improve ventilation and reduce humidity in your crawl space, they also let in the cold air from outside, which can make your floor cold. If there are also any exposed pipes under your home, keeping the vents open can increase the risk of them freezing and bursting. One way to avoid all these is to close your crawl space vents as soon as winter arrives and have a dehumidifier installed to remove any excess moisture that could build up.

As you prepare your Houston home for winter, make sure you keep an eye out for signs of possible foundation problems. If you notice any issues, don’t wait! Schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate with our professionals today to get their unbiased advice on how to keep your foundation and home in sound condition for many years to come!

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