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Hi everybody -

I'm going to be spraying some Bora Care with Mold Care in my crawl soon, and wanted to get opinions on keeping in the cotton batt insulation between the joists, or just removing it all together. I'm located in Middle TN so weather is pretty mild. My old place didn't have it (built in 1990), and I never seemed to have an issue, but thought I would check anyway. Main concern is a future buyer thinking there would be an issue - although again that didn't happen in my last place!

Thanks!

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In most houses there is less square footage encountered in extending the insulation envelope from the bottom of the exterior walls to the earth than insulating the floor joist cavity, especially if it's a large single-story house. But if you do that, it's usually necessary to install a barrier to stop moisture from the earth from causing problems in the house. That's another factor and a costly one.

Then there's the suitability of cotton insulation for use within a high humidity location like a crawlspace. Foam does fine but cotton...

What I hate about floor insulation is that I can't inspect the structural floor as well if the joist cavities are full of insulation. Crawlspaces, attics and rooftops are where I'm best able to translate my inspection fees into service. It's where I usually find the biggest fish for my clients.

Bottom line is that a host of factors are involved and that every house is different. There's pros and then there's cons.

I'm the sort that favors encapsulation but a thorough evaluation should be completed in each case.

Marc

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If you are treating the structure to remedy a fungus problem associated with moisture in the crawlspace air condensing on your floor structure, I would rely on the advice of the manufacturer.

I once splashed through puddles of some such stuff that dripped onto the plastic VB. Nobody involved thought to notify me prior to my crawlspace dive.

Are there not alternate ventilation remedies?

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As I understand it, cotton insulation is expensive and has a decent R value. If it were me, I'd pull it down, lightly mist everything in sight with BoraCare and MoldCare, allow it a day or two to ensure full saturation and then I'd put the insulation back up again.

Marc, It's really not that hard to inspect floors joist bays filled with insulation. It's not necessary to see every square inch. After you've done it for a while you learn to spot subtle clues to things going on above the insulation so you can spot check conditions as you move through the crawlspace and only need to zero in, and spend a lot of time on, those areas where your experience tells you there's a need to look deeper.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I agree with Mr. Katen's question, what are attempting to accomplish. Boracare is a very effective fungicide, but once again, if you fail to eliminate the source of the fungi or mold, you are wasting time and money. Consideration should be given to the installation of a moisture barrier and increasing crawl space ventilation. Crawl space encapsulation, done properly, has shown to be a great method in my humid area, but it is very expensive.

On the other side, Boracare is also effective as a pesticide that when applied properly, is very effective in the control or prevention of termites, powder post beetles, and old house borers. "Applied properly" is the key term, anything less than that is a waste of time and money.

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If I'm being 100% honest, it's not necessary to do in my eyes. I've corrected any problem that was there (slight negative grade, couple of jammed gutters, and some downspouts). And the growth is just so minor - my inspector said 8/10 houses on my street would have the same thing.

At this point, I want peace of mind, and to avoid any conflict at the time of resale. It's an EPA approved product being applied by a licensed company offering a lifetime regrowth warranty - I would think that would make the next owners feel secure.

That being said, I don't want somebody to be put off by not having insulation in the floor joists.

Honestly, it's sad that there is such a lack of education surrounding this issue, which ultimately is causing a lot of people who don't actually have an issue to pay good money for a "fix". I understand for most folks it's easy to take things at face value, but I just wish people would be more willing to listen to their inspectors instead of their real estate agents. (rant over)

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Blowing Boracare into a space that's reasonably fine just so you got some bonafide indicating you did something so some future ignorant soul feels assured of........something......why?

If what you're trying to achieve is piece of mind and eliminating future issues, I'd not do a damn thing.

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Seems your inspector paid you a visit lately.

If he's found nothing more significant than a little mold on the structural floor then I'd be suspicious about him.

I rarely find less than a dozen or two findings worth mentioning on a home inspection. That includes newly constructed houses. I ain't playing you.

Care to give me your inspector's company name? I'd like to check out his sample report. That's all.

Marc

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If you are removing the insulation so that you can spray the fungal growth in that area, then you need to remove and dispose of that insulation. That insulation will likely be infested with mold spores as was the wood. Then install new insulation to replace that which was removed.

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If I'm being 100% honest, it's not necessary to do in my eyes. I've corrected any problem that was there (slight negative grade, couple of jammed gutters, and some downspouts). And the growth is just so minor - my inspector said 8/10 houses on my street would have the same thing.

At this point, I want peace of mind, and to avoid any conflict at the time of resale. It's an EPA approved product being applied by a licensed company offering a lifetime regrowth warranty - I would think that would make the next owners feel secure.

That being said, I don't want somebody to be put off by not having insulation in the floor joists.

Honestly, it's sad that there is such a lack of education surrounding this issue, which ultimately is causing a lot of people who don't actually have an issue to pay good money for a "fix". I understand for most folks it's easy to take things at face value, but I just wish people would be more willing to listen to their inspectors instead of their real estate agents. (rant over)

I still don't know what they heck you're trying to achieve by spraying the BWMC in the crawlspace. What is the nature of the problem that you're trying to address?

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Exposed crawlspace insulation needs to be properly protected from fire unless properly rated and designed to be exposed. There are a lot of green building type websites that discuss how to insulate a crawlspace. The crawlspace needs to be heated and air conditioned if you are to treat it as part of the house interior. Dehumidification is critical as well. Good Luck.

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I've made the decision to do nothing. My knee jerk reaction to spray even though I know all moisture issues were corrected was based solely on future resale, and the potential of a ruined deal because of an under-educated buyer. If it would make somebody feel comfortable, I'll spray at the time of selling, but until then all the corrections made will eliminate any future growth, and I feel confident in that. Thanks all for the suggestions and help!

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