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.
Benefits of Crawl Space Encapsulation
The benefits of crawl space encapsulation include the following:
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:
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.