Crawl Space Encapsulation In Hampton Roads

The crawl space underneath your home may be out of sight, but it shouldn’t be out of mind. If you want a healthy home, you need a healthy crawl space. Crawl space encapsulation is the best way to achieve that.

What is Crawl Space Encapsulation?

Crawl space encapsulation means covering the crawl space’s dirt floor and walls with a thick, heavy-duty moisture barrier, sealing vents, insulating walls, and then optionally adding a dehumidifier designed for crawl spaces to help regulate the moisture level in the area. Crawl space encapsulation is done in order to seal off the dirt floor from the rest of the crawl space and ensure the area stays clean and dry. 

Why You Don’t Want An Unencapsulated Crawl Space  

You don’t want an unencapsulated crawl space for two main reasons: An unencapsulated crawl space can harm both your health and the structural integrity of your home’s foundation. Here’s how:

How an unencapsulated crawl space can harm your health

Some of the air in your home’s crawl space enters your home’s living area via a phenomenon called the “stack effect.” (See the illustration below.) If your crawl space is full of mold, pests, hazardous animal droppings, etc., the air flowing up into your home’s living area will be full of allergens. This could cause health issues for anyone living in the house. Encapsulating the crawl space will ensure the air flowing into your home is clean and dry.

How an unencapsulated crawl space can affect your home’s structural integrity

The excess moisture in unencapsulated crawl spaces attracts wood-eating pests like termites and encourages mold growth and wood rot. Over time, this can weaken the wooden structures in the crawl space and undermine the building’s structural integrity leading to expensive foundation repairs

infographic illustrating the stack effect

Signs You Need Crawl Space Encapsulation

Commons signs your home might need crawl space encapsulation include the following:

  • Visible mold in the crawl space – Mold indicates the presence of moisture in the crawl space. The mold may be on the wooden structures in the crawl space, the walls, the insulation, or the floor.
  • Mold on the floor or baseboards above the crawl space – Mold in the crawl space can eventually make its way up and into your home’s living area.
  • The house smells musty – A musty odor is a sign your crawl space is probably full of mold.
  • There’s condensation and high humidity in the house – Some of the crawl space air flows into your home’s living area via the stack effect.
  • The home’s residents are suffering from allergies and respiratory issues – There might be other health problems related to mold.
  • Wood rot in the crawl space – Wood rot doesn’t happen unless there’s moisture in the crawl space.
  • Visible damage caused by wood-eating pests – Termites and other pests can gnaw away at the wooden structures in the crawl space. If this isn’t halted, it can eventually cause structural damage.

If you see any of the above – or anything else that seems suspicious – your house is making a 911 call. Contact us immediately to schedule a free evaluation and crawl space encapsulation estimate.

Benefits of Crawl Space Encapsulation

The benefits of crawl space encapsulation include the following:

  • Reduced humidity and mold in both the crawl space and your home – Encapsulation, along with a dehumidifier, ensures the crawl space stays dry, retarding mold growth. This means the air flowing up from the crawl space into your home will be clean and dry, not full of mold and other allergens.
  • Improved air quality inside the home – When your crawl space is encapsulated, the air flowing up into your home will be clean and dry, not full of mold spores and other allergens.
  • Prevents structural damage – A dry clean crawl space means a significantly reduced chance of mold growth and pest infestation, which means a reduced chance of wood rot and damage from wood-eating pests.
  • Lower energy costs – Because humidity is reduced in an encapsulated crawl space, the air in your home will be drier. Drier air costs less to heat and cool. Therefore, while we can’t guarantee it, you might see lower energy costs after encapsulating the crawl space.
  • You gain additional storage space – An encapsulated crawl space can be used to store things like tools and holiday decorations.

What’s the Difference Between Crawl Space Encapsulation and Insulation?

Crawl space encapsulation, along with a dehumidifier, is all about keeping the crawl space clean and dry by keeping moisture out. This lowers humidity in both the crawl space and the home and prevents mold from forming and infestation by wood-eating pests. Crawl space insulation prevents the colder air in the crawl space from coming into contact with your home’s ground floor.

Crawl Space Encapsulation vs. A Vapor Barrier. Is There A Difference?

When people speak about placing a vapor barrier in their crawl space, they usually have in mind a piece of thick plastic over the crawl space floor only. While this does help somewhat to prevent moisture from entering the crawl space via the dirt floor, it isn’t nearly as effective as encapsulation and a dehumidifier.

The Crawl Space Encapsulation Process

The first thing we do during a crawl space encapsulation is clean the space, so it’s free of debris. Next, we install a thick vapor barrier over the crawl space floor and walls up to the ceiling. This seals the crawl space’s dirt floor off from the rest of the crawl space, creating a clean, dry area that can be used to store things like tools and holiday decorations.

We strongly recommend that a dehumidifier be installed in the crawl space as well. There is an extra cost for this. However, it’s worth it because it ensures that the humidity level in the crawl space stays low at all times. Some homeowners also add a humidity monitor in the crawl space that allows them to check the humidity level inside without entering the crawl space.

How Long Does It Take To Encapsulate A Crawl Space?

Most crawl space encapsulation jobs can be completed in 1-3 days. Of course, it depends on the crawl space size and if we’re also doing a drain tile installation. Usually, even a large job doesn’t take more than a week.

What about DIY Encapsulation?

While we understand the desire to save money, we don’t recommend DIY crawl space encapsulation for the following reasons:

  • It’s a lot of work for one person – When we encapsulate a crawl space, we use an experienced crew, and they get the job done fast. If you’ve never encapsulated a crawl space before, it will take you much longer, and you might not do it correctly. 
  • Crawling around underneath your home can be dangerous – Crawl spaces contain mold, sharp items, spiders, snakes, hazardous rodent droppings, and other stuff you should stay away from. Never enter your crawl space without protective gear, including a respirator.
  • DIY jobs don’t come with a warranty – When AMC911 encapsulates your crawl space, we offer a 10 year warranty.

Check out our blog post – Why You Need Professional Crawl Space Inspection Over DIY Inspection?

The Ultimate Waterproofing Solution: Crawl Space Encapsulation + Drain Tile System

Many homeowners kick things up a notch by installing a drain tile system along with encapsulation and a dehumidifier. A drain tile system prevents excess water from building up in the soil around the foundation. 

There are two types of drain tile systems, interior, and exterior. An exterior drain tile system is installed around the outside of the foundation at the footing level. An interior drain tile system is installed around the inside perimeter of the crawl space.

Both exterior and interior drain tile systems work the same way: Excess moisture in the soil flows into a buried, perforated drainage pipe and gets directed toward a sump pit. Once the sump pit fills with water, a sump pump kicks in and expels the water away from the foundation.

Contact AMC911 Today For A Crawl Space Evaluation

Are you tired of having a dirty, damp crawl space under your home? Is your house making a 911 call? Contact us today for a crawl space evaluation and encapsulation estimate. 

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