Serving Mercer, Ocean, Monmouth, Middlesex County
The homeowner had contacted Cowleys after realizing that bats had been living in his attic. Fortunately, when we arrived, there was no longer an active bat infestation. Although the bats were long gone, they left behind a toxic mess of bat guano (bat feces).
We vacuumed, sanitized, and deodorized the attic until all remnants of a bat infestation were gone. For this insulation job, we carefully removed all of the contaminated insulation and then blew in 10" of fresh new TAP insulation, leaving enough room for the homeowners to access the attic platform.
A homeowner in Deal, NJ had a “builder grade” metal crawl space entry door installed when the home was built. This door was definitely a contractor money-saver item — and it showed. Over a few years, the door failed to stand up the the wear-and-tear of the outdoor elements. When we arrived, the door was rusted out and rotted. It wouldn’t even close. This crawl space entry point was trouble waiting to happen, and we were surprised that wildlife had not yet exploited this weak spot and visited the crawl space. This was an open invitation.
The homeowner knew that Cowleys had a specialized contractor division that handles a variety of crawl space improvements, up to and including full encapsulation. He contacted us for a replacement. We had the perfect item — a customized Everlast door that’s specifically designed for crawl spaces.
With this installation, the homeowner now had a crawl space door that would block rodents and possibly bigger critters like skunks, squirrels, and raccoons from gaining access and using the crawl space as their private nesting area. Also, for homes with crawl spaces, homeowners have more to work about than just wildlife entry. These below-grade areas are notorious trouble spots for mold growth and other water-related issues, and these doors help do the job. Of course, there are other ways that water and moisture can infiltrate vented crawl spaces, but this door was an important start.
Our installers love these Everlast covers because of their flexibility. They can be installed against wood framing or masonry, work exceptionally well, and have great aesthetics, blending in perfectly with the home’s foundation. These doors are made of a “bulletproof” hard durable plastic. Unlike wooden or metal crawl space covers, they don’t rot, warp, crack, or rust, and never need to be painted.
Even though these covers form a tight seal over the crawl space access, they are super-easy to open for those rare occasions when homeowners or repair persons require entry. The door has four large, easy-to-grip knobs that twist off without a hitch. The door comes right off, and you’re in.
The homeowner was quite pleased with the installation. With this small crawl space improvement, the crawl space now had a cover that actually worked. As an added benefit, the outside of the home looked much better.
A homeowner in Brick Township, NJ had water entering the crawl space area through the entry door. The homeowner was concerned about standing water in the crawl space, and rightly so. Stagnant water in the crawl space can trigger mold growth and is a major attractant for insects, rodents, and all sorts of nuisance wildlife.
Even though the homeowner had a well-sealed entry door, rainwater was nevertheless still seeping in. To remedy the problem, we installed a Bilco StackWEL, a window well, to serve as a second barrier to prevent water entry. The Bilco Company manufactures a variety of USA-made specialized doors that are highly regarded in the building industry.
By preventing standing water in problem areas around the foundation, and crawl space vent doors often top the list, you can prevent water seepage into the crawl space. These window wells are made of durable PVC (high density polyethylene), so they don’t warp or rot, and are corrosion resistant. These wells also have a grip-step design so it makes it easy to enter and exit the crawl space access area. We also dug a shallow trench, about one and one-half feet and installed a layer of stones that would collect water and filter it into the ground instead inside the crawl space.
It may seem unusual to install a window well around a crawl space door. After all, we think of window wells installed around basement windows! In that situation, the well around the window — that semi-circular “dig-out” in front — has to be supported by some materials or the hole or well in the ground will eventually collapse. It is the exact same rationale why retaining walls are sometimes necessary. However, window wells can also serve the same purpose with below-grade crawl space doors where the home’s foundation is built in such a way where water is directed toward the crawl space door.
As you can see by the before and after pictures. the aesthetics of the crawl space access was greatly improved after our installation. With this second barrier in place and the placement of the stones to filter the water away from the foundation, the crawl space water intrusion issue was successfully resolved.
The new homeowner, who as a realtor was quite knowledgable about proper home design and preventative maintenance, wanted the crawl space encapsulated to avoid potential moisture and pest problems and contacted Cowleys Crawl Space Solutions Division.
To keep the air quality of your home healthy, prevent damage to your attic and roof, and keep your HVAC system running cost-efficiently, it’s important to maintain an air barrier between the living space of the home and the attic. Simply put, everything works better when attic air is kept out of the house and house air is kept out of the attic. Why? Let’s start with keeping attic air where it belongs. If you’ve ever ventured into the attic, especially during the warmer months, you know that attic air can be outright nasty. It often contains dust particles and other contaminants — contaminants that can cause health problems for the home’s occupants. The less attic air that enters your home’s living spaces, the better.
Just as important, we want to keep living space air out of the attic. Living space air can can be filled with water vapor. When that air is exposed to colder attic temperatures, the vapor gas condenses into water droplets that can potentially cause roof rot and mold growth (unfortunately, mold is an all-too-common attic contaminant). Living space air naturally tries to move up into the attic, especially in the winter, because of the “stack effect.” Heated air rises and expands. As air heats up, its molecules are pushed farther away, making it lighter (that’s why hot air balloons float). The air pushes upward against the attic floor. If there is a way for the air to find its way in, it will. Air leakage into the attic stresses your HVAC system, increasing your heating and cooling bills. There are a number of possible sources of air leaks, but attic hatches are at the top of the list. More often than not, attic hatches are unsealed and have gaps that allow for unwanted air movement. There is an easy solution for this: Attic stairway covers.
The homeowner mentioned to us that he was concerned that his attic hatch was causing significant air leakage. We had the perfect product: the Hatchmaster Attic Stairway Cover. This lightweight, durable cover secures around the perimeter of the attic hatch frame. It’s made of double-bubble reflective insulation, has a 15 R-Value, and a heavy-duty zipper to open and close.