An encapsulated crawl space means less humidity and cleaner air. Pretty hard to argue against that. Neglect a crawl space, and you’ll have moisture damage, pest infestation, and moldy air. Yuck.
An un-encapsulated crawl space is a dark, wet, nasty place full of mold. This is gross enough. However, it gets even worse because some of that allergen-filled air makes its way into your home’s living area.
In this article, we’re going to cover the definition of an encapsulated crawl space, the benefits, the difference between an encapsulated crawl space and an insulated crawl space, the encapsulation process, crawl space encapsulation cost, and more.
What is an Encapsulated Crawl Space?
An encapsulated crawl space is one where the walls and crawl space floor are covered in thick, polyurethane plastic that locks out moisture.
Adding a dehumidifier to an encapsulated crawl space kicks everything up a notch by offering a way to regulate the moisture level in the crawl space. The result is better air quality in your home because the crawl space’s air is clean and dry.
Benefits of an Encapsulated Crawl Space
The benefits of an encapsulated crawl space include:
- You stay healthier – As we noted above, a certain amount of air from your crawl space makes its way up and into your home’s living area. If your crawl space is full of mold, dust, and other dangerous allergens, the air coming out of it will be as well.
- You’ll enjoy a more comfortable home – Lower humidity along with cleaner air means greater comfort.
- Encapsulation helps prevent structural problems – Making sure the wood in your home’s crawl space stays clean, dry, and safe from gnawing pests helps to ensure the building’s structural integrity.
For more information see How Do I Fix My Crawl Space?
What’s the Difference Between an Encapsulated Crawl Space and an Insulated Crawl Space?
An insulated crawl space prevents cool and warm air from escaping your home’s living room through the floor. An encapsulated crawl space is all about keeping moisture out of the crawl space and ensuring it stays clean and dry.
The process of encapsulating a crawl space is as follows:
- First, we do an initial inspection and assessment.
- If there’s any insulation in the crawl space, we remove it.
- We get rid of any loose debris in the crawl space.
- We seal vents, gaps around pipes, ducts, etc.
- We apply the polyurethane vapor barrier to the crawl space floor and walls.
- We install a dehumidifier to ensure the humidity level in the crawl space stays low.
- We install an air sealed crawlspace door.
Crawl space encapsulation can usually be completed in a couple of days, but may take longer depending on the size of your home and conditioning.
Crawl Space Encapsulation Cost
The cost of encapsulating a crawl space depends on your geographical location, crawl space size, the current condition of the crawl space, materials used, etc.
Signs You Might Need an Encapsulated Crawl Space
Problems in your crawl space will eventually become noticeable in your home’s living area:
- Musty smell – If your home is starting to smell funky, you might have something going on in your crawl space.
- Problems with wood floors – Are your floors warped, uneven, or sagging?
- High humidity inside the home – If your A/C is working correctly, inside humidity should not be high.
- Allergy symptoms – If your crawl space is full of mold and mildew, the air inside your home will be as well.
Signs in the crawl space itself include:
- Mold – Look for mold on beams, joists, etc.
- Moisture – Do you see condensation on the beams or joists?
- Wood rot – High humidity will eventually cause wood rot.
- Wet insulation
- Insulation that’s no longer in its proper place
- Pools of water as a result of condensation from A/C duct lines
If you notice any of the above, you should contact a foundation repair professional.
Don’t Attempt to Do This Yourself
Encapsulating a crawl space is a lot of work, and if you don’t do it correctly, you’ll need to pay again to have someone else come in and do it over. DIY projects also don’t come with a warranty. Therefore, we recommend letting a professional handle this job.
Adding a Drainage System
Some homeowners also install a drain tile system to prevent standing groundwater in the crawlspace. A drain tile system and a sump pump collect and channel excess water away from the foundation so that moisture can’t build up in the soil and cause problems. Since water causes most foundation problems, this is a good investment and will ensure that the ground outside the encapsulated crawl space stays dry.
An encapsulated crawl space means cleaner, healthier air inside your home, and less time spent worrying about potential foundation trouble. For more information see Waterproofing 101: Homeowner’s Guide.
If you’re in our service area in Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky, contact us today for a free inspection and repair estimate.