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Encapsulation: A crawl space after encapsulation. Permanent dehumidifiers also control the environment and prevent microbial growth.

Featured Article

What Lies Beneath

Article by Jennifer Bennhoff

Photography by Provided

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

Living in the South has many benefits, as Mickey Shrader, owner of Environmental Protective Solutions (EPS), can attest. He’s a native of Columbia, graduated from Columbia Academy and Lipscomb University, and raised three kids in Columbia with his wife, Becky.

Southern weather also brings challenges. A humid climate leads to mold, or as Mickey says, “Microbial growth. That’s the term that doesn’t freak people out.”

Mickey worked on the claims side of the insurance business for twenty years. “I got tired of the corporate gig and looked at alternative careers.” He had seen enough mold damage to realize homeowners needed help managing it, so, fifteen years ago, he started doing mold remediation. “I get a lot of satisfaction from helping people,” he says. “We’re there to fix the issue you have, to give you your house back.”

EPS eradicates mold and water damage in crawl spaces and basements, and Mickey educates owners and realtors about protecting the biggest financial investment most people make, their home.

What are the most unusual things he’s found while inspecting crawl spaces? Mickey thinks for a moment. “Well, one house had 17 skunks living under it, and another family had a man living in their crawl space and didn’t know it.” 

Why encapsulate your crawl space?
 The average crawl space is 1500 – 2000 square feet. Mickey explains that 40% of the air in our homes comes from the crawl space.
 We live in a humid climate, ideal for microbial growth (mold).
 Animals sometimes crawl through the vents and nest in crawl spaces.
 Mold damages the wood in joists and subfloors, causes wood floors to buckle, brings dust into the home and affects air quality.

 Encapsulating a crawl space creates a closed environment and stops outside air, dust and critters from coming in.
 Some crawls and basements need a good cleaning, while others need encapsulation. “Moldy homes are reparable,” says Mickey, “but for a permanent solution, we need to stop what’s causing the mold to grow.”

“A lot of the mold I find is in newer construction,” he says. "Engineered construction products contain more glue, and glue is easily attacked by mold."

  • BEFORE: Microbial growth and water damage on crawl space joists before remedial cleaning.
  • AFTER: After a thorough cleaning, the mold and water damage are eradicated and further damage to the home has been prevented.
  • Encapsulation: A crawl space after encapsulation. Permanent dehumidifiers also control the environment and prevent microbial growth.
  • Mickey Shrader is a native Tennessean with a vast knowledge of local home building.