Your home’s crawl space is a narrow unoccupied space that’s usually unfinished between your home base and the lowest ground level below the entire building. Usually, a crawl space measures below 1.5 meters in height, allowing someone only to crawl through it. If space measures about 1.5 meters, then it’s a crawl space.
The crawl space is created as a distance between the ground and the base of a house. It offers several benefits, as it dissolves harmful gases before they reach the main house. They also hold the most water during flooding and hold possible rodents and insects.
However, this structure still has many downsides. Usually, the crawl space is home to certain factors like pests, humidity, moldy smells, and several issues that may arise from their unfinished structure. They are also liable to trap heat and breed harmful and toxic disease-breeding microorganisms, particularly when moist.
In such cases, crawl space encapsulation solves pests’ problems, humidity, moisture, and microorganisms’ altogether. This sealing process involves lining the floors and foundation walls with a layer of thick polyethylene plastic. It is a simple-to-complex process of cleaning the crawl space, dehumidifying it (depending on the location), and covering it with a vapor barrier.
What's In This Guide?
Dangers of Not Encapsulating Your Crawl Space
You may not see reasons, yet, why you need to encapsulate your crawl space. One of the major signs that you need this service is to notice odd odors that seem like they are oozing out of the ground.
Irrespective of the signs, you are at the following risks if your crawl space is left without encapsulation:
- Foundation cracks
- High cooling and heating expenses
- Mold infestation
- Radon gas
- Pest infestation
- Nauseating odors
- High humidity levels indoors
Advantages Of Crawl Space Encapsulation
Crawl space encapsulation is a useful method for several benefits. While you live comfortably within your home, some things go on down there, and while your crawl space is encapsulated, you’re enjoying the following benefits:
- Moisture reduction. Most homes have experienced annoying humid problems at one point or the other.
Encapsulating your crawl space protects your home from excess moisture, which in turn, cuts out issues of mildew and mold. A dual-fan dehumidifier may be useful to draw out moisture and keep the crawlspace dry. Since your home structure sits on a solid, moisture-free foundation, it lasts much longer.
- Heating cost reduction. Buildings usually lose air to the crawl space underneath, and hence, attract multiple costs for heating. If you get your crawl space encapsulated at once, you’d be cutting those heating costs over a long period.
- Odor elimination. In most homes, the crawl space majorly contributes to the odor around the house. The process of encapsulating includes deep cleaning the crawl space and drying it out before sealing it shut. These processes themselves eliminate the issues of moldy or nauseating smells.
- More storage space. If you have many items that you’d like to keep away, and your crawl space is quite roomy, you might have yourself another store. But, without encapsulation, you can’t keep anything down there. Not even a heap of clean sand that you plan to use next time.
Disadvantages Of Crawl Space Encapsulation
Although encapsulation offers tons of benefits to both the homeowner and the crawl space, its major downside is the costs attached to it.
Crawl space encapsulation, on average, costs anything between $4,000-$15,000 and more, depending on the kind of project. This kind of cost is sudden and still requires maintenance. When an encapsulating mask is installed, it requires occasional maintenance, although that may not be in the next couple of years.
Encapsulating Your Crawl Space Yourself
Encapsulating your own crawl space can be a tricky feat since the procedures are required to depend on your crawl space’s current state.
If you live in a newly-built home, your crawl space’s requirements may not surpass a light cleaning session and installing the vapor barrier. But, how about homes that have been built in 30 years, or those liable to flooding and high humidity levels? Depending on the issues your crawl space have, you should use the following methods to encapsulate it:
Step 1. Check all existing problems.
- Inadequate drainage. If you notice pipe leaks or an overall drainage problem, contact an engineer to help out. If you’re good at plumbing, you could fix the issues, but if you’re not, it’s a huge loss, damaging the central drainage hub of your home.
- Mold. Clean up any visible mold you can find in your crawl space. Never seal it within your crawl space.
- Combustion leaks. Appliances like water heaters can emit harmful gases like carbon monoxide. Check this with a professional before the encapsulation process.
Step 2. Sealing the crawl space
- Measure. Take measurements of your crawl space by a square to determine how much material you need. The vapor barrier should be high quality and durable like this 4 x 125 ft wrap from NASATECH.
- Installing a vapor barrier. Cover components such as the foundation walls, equipment, and piers completely with a suitable vapor barrier. If needed, use one that has antimicrobial properties to keep microorganisms off. Cover every section, from cracks to walls and vents.
- Seal off openings to the outside. Humid air should have no way into your crawl space. Seal off vents with foam board and spray foam.
Step 3. Keep the crawl space dry.
When you’re done installing the vapor barrier, you still need to retain cleanness and dryness to keep microorganisms off for good. And vapor barriers will not do that alone. A drying mechanism will come to play here.
Install a functioning dehumidifier in your crawl space and drain it directly to your outdoors. You can also install humidity monitors to keep tabs on how it’s doing!
Crawl space encapsulation is an essential and expensive procedure that keeps your crawl space- and your home- free from many pesky factors. And with the right dehumidifier, you don’t have to worry about moisture, since it wouldn’t even be there!
The only downside to this service, the costs can be reduced if you do it yourself. However, if you don’t have professional hands to handle your crawl space, don’t put your entire home at risk.