Concrete Crawl Spaces
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Professional Remodeler Magazine
Craig A. Shutt, Senior Contributing Editor
April 1, 2002

Although most remodelers will be inconvenienced at best by any mold problems they encounter, the concerns about mold hazards present opportunities for remodelers to expand their services as well. Turning mold to his advantage, Greg Mitchell carved out a niche for himself and his business: waterproofing crawl spaces.

"The companies that do the demolition work for a mold-remediation project aren't very good at replacing and resealing the home afterward," says Dan Bawden of Legal Eagle Contractors in Houston. "Remodelers can create a nice niche by going to market as reconstruction contractors after remediation is finished."

A typical remediation leaves drywall cut to about 4 feet high in the affected area, with cabinets and baseboards torn out, insulation removed, and electrical and painting to be done. That represents a significant amount of work just to return the home to its original condition.

Others are finding niches in handling the problem at its source before it gets too unwieldy. Greg Mitchell, president of in Lombard, Ill., expanded his waterproofing business about four years ago when he began to see the inadequate ways crawl spaces were waterproofed. "Drain tiles, pea gravel and sump pumps still leave behind an inherent amount of moisture in the air and the space that could cause problems," he says. That dampness is a significant source of mold problems that develop in homes, he notes.

To address that concern, he added a concrete service. The company ensures watertightness in the crawl space and then pumps in about 4 inches of concrete and adds a float finish. Business is booming. "Awareness is high for mold concerns now," Mitchell says, "and this approach alleviates any worries about dampness remaining to allow it to grow."

He receives many calls from people who have just moved into homes. "The new homeowners find problems that the previous owners didn't see or were less sensitive to." With about 30% of the homes in his area having a clay or gravel crawl space, he expects this work will continue to grow.

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