Clear Fosters 4051 encapsulant spray (C) Daniel Friedman Advice on Using Crawl Space Sealants & Sanitizers
     


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Advice for using spray sanitizers, sealants, disinfectants in crawl spaces following crawl space cleanup or mold removal. Using a sealant can reduce future mold growth and help keep a crawl space dry - steps that in turn may also improve building indoor air quality - but don't rely on sprays alone to "cure" a wet, damp, moldy, or contaminated crawl area.

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How to Sanitize and/or Seal Crawl Space Surfaces including the floor: is it needed?

Spraying a biocide at a mold remediation project (C) Daniel FriedmanWhen Is it Good Practice to Use Biocides, Sanitizers, or Fungal sprays in a Crawl Space or in Other Building Areas?

[Click to enlarge any image]

  1. First it is important to physically remove contaminated or moldy materials and debris or materials and debris that have been contaminated with sewage or flood water sludge and mud.
  2. Second it is important to physically clean the contaminated surfaces in a crawl space such as moldy joists or subflooring.
  3. Third, use of a biocide, disinfectant, or surface encapsulating spray as a final step makes people feel more confident about the mold or sewage cleanup, but although this is a widespread practice, the use of biocides is questioned by experts.

    One could certainly question the usefulness, effectiveness, and wisdom of spraying carpeting such as shown in our photo. If the carpeting is so infected as to "need" spraying with a disinfectant, it should be removed and the surfaces cleaned instead.

Anabec NG2000™ and Bioshield BST Protectant RTU75™ are products used in mold remediation projects. These companies produce fungicides and fungicidal sealants as well as related items.

CalBrite™ (Caltex International) was sold to one of our clients as a biocidal spray but the client's product's package indicated that it was a deck cleaner. And while online access to product literature described the product as a deck cleaner, that document was later removed from public view. We were left confused. The company makes a variety of products used in or on buildings.

Links to find these products are at REFERENCES.

In general, deck spray cleaning products are intended for outdoor use to clean wood-framed decks and deck surfaces. A representative of the company stated that information here is incorrect, but was unwilling to provide specifics. In a singularly ugly response to our telephone request for clarifying information, the Caltex™ president declined to provide any information whatsoever, though a later letter from the company's lawyers explained that the company describes its product as a "sanitizer" not a biocide.

At MOLD SPRAYS, SEALANTS, PAINTS we sort through these terms and help clear up consumer confusion among these terms including biocide, disinfect, sanitize, and sterilizer and we include recommendations from an expert on the use or non-use of chemicals to try to kill mold.

Microban Nuocide™ ( Microban antimicrobial products) (produced by a company whose contact was more pleasant) is an example of a broad spectrum biocidal spray that is in wide popular use by mold and flood damage remediation contractors.

Also see Protex™ 63, a sealant and coating formulated for exterior use.

When is it Good Practice to use Fungicidal Sealants and Encapsulant Sprays in a Crawl Space or in Other Building Areas?

For full details of this topic, please see MOLD SPRAYS, SEALANTS, PAINTS. The basics are just below.

Encapsulant mold spray on top of thick debris (C) Daniel Friedman Clear Fosters 4051 encapsulant spray (C) Daniel Friedman

Clean the crawl space, don't just spray it: Do not, however, permit the use of biocides, disinfectants, sprays, or encapsulants as a substitute for the physical cleaning that must come first.

Otherwise there is risk that you will leave harmful contaminants and particles in the building, and it is likely that cleanup will be inadequate. Look at the thick debris sprayed-over in this building. Simply stirring the debris shows that this approach was ineffective.

Fiberlok IAQ 6000 HD™ (above, left, misapplied right over a high volume of loose debris), Anabec X70™ waterborne sealant, and Fosters 4051™ (clear coating shown at above right) produce sealants frequently used by mold and flood damage remediation companies.

Links to find all of these products are at REFERENCES

Once the crawl area has been cleaned of debris and moldy materials, and crawl space water has removed, and after we've eliminated the sources of crawl space water entry, we are ready to take the next steps to keep the crawl area clean and dry.

Details about use of fungicidal sealants and sprays are at MOLD SPRAYS, SEALANTS, PAINTS.

This article series describes the steps needed to get into, inspect, clean, and then dry out a building crawl space. We give a step by step crawl space entry, inspection, cleanout, dryout and keep dry guide explains how to get into or inspect a crawl space even if there is no ready access, how to assess crawl space conditions, how to stop water that is entering the crawl area, how to dry out the space, how to clean up and if necessary disinfect or sanitize the crawl space, and how to keep out crawl space water and moisture in the future.

 

Continue reading at CRAWL SPACE WATER ENTRY STOP or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

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CRAWL SPACE SEAL & SANITIZE at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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