Remedy sought for soggy, smelly crawl space

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Q: We have been plagued by moisture in the crawl space of our home (built in 1978). A French drain system surrounding our house was installed two years ago. A pest inspection at that time indicated there were no pest or mildew problems. However, when it rains, we get a terrible odor in our home. It smells of wet chemical earth. Should we have heavy plastic installed in the crawl space? The pest inspector said the earth would never dry out then. But other home gurus on television and the Internet seem to advise doing this. We are having our carpets replaced with wood floors this year, which will include a moisture barrier between the subfloor and the new floors, but we also want to protect our subfloor from any moisture. A: We disagree with the pest control inspector. You would be well served to install a vapor barrier of 6-mil plastic in the crawl space of your home. The plastic will help reduce the moisture in the crawl space, which we suspect is the cause of a mold/mildew problem...