What to Do When Crawl Space Encapsulation Goes Wrong
Neglecting your crawl space encapsulation can lead to its malfunction. Here is what you should do to keep it in mint condition.
Do you struggle with mold infestation or rusted pipes at home, and wonder why? Have you checked your crawl space lately? Many homeowners tend to fix problems without addressing their root causes. If you have cold and damp floors or mold on your walls, consider calling professionals to encapsulate your crawl space. This will not only address the underlying issue but also resolve other ongoing problems.
What is Crawl Space Encapsulation?
Crawl space encapsulation is a method of keeping your home’s crawl space moisture-free by laying down a vapor barrier that seals the floor and walls. This process can be completed by a team of experts in just a few days, depending on the size of the space. By encapsulating your crawl space, you can protect your home from the negative effects of soil and other external elements.
However, it’s important to note that just like any other part of your home, proper maintenance is key to ensuring that your crawl space encapsulation continues to function effectively. Unfortunately, many homeowners neglect their encapsulation, assuming that their vapor barrier will remain intact for decades. This can be a costly mistake, as neglecting maintenance can cause damage and ultimately compromise the effectiveness of the encapsulation.
To ensure that your crawl space encapsulation remains intact and performs optimally, regular maintenance is crucial. By taking care of your encapsulation, you can rest assured that it will continue to serve its purpose for many years to come. Don’t let neglect compromise the health and safety of your home – make sure to prioritize maintenance and care for your crawl space encapsulation.
Mistakes to Avoid When Encapsulating Your Crawl Space
Encapsulating your crawl space is a significant investment that could cost thousands of dollars. Therefore, it’s essential to get everything right the first time. Here are some of the mistakes you should avoid when encapsulating your crawl space:
- Avoid Leaving Large Air Gaps During Encapsulation – Encapsulating your crawl space without sealing all the outer air sources is a mistake. Large air gaps will allow outside air to enter your crawl space, rendering the encapsulation ineffective. Ensure that you seal all the air gaps to allow the dehumidifier to work optimally in conditioning the air below.
- Don’t Forget to Install a Drainage System Encapsulation does not prevent water from entering your crawl space or flooding beneath your house. Therefore, installing a drainage system is essential to avoid water damage that could cost you up to $12,000 to repair. You can install a French drain system or a sump pump to direct water away from your home and prevent water from collecting around your house.
- Avoid Using Fiberglass between Floor Joists Fiberglass insulation is not recommended for crawl space insulation, as it absorbs moisture and loses its R-value. The urea-based adhesive used to hold fiberglass batches together is a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Avoid using fiberglass altogether.
- Don’t Attempt DIY Over Professional Installation – Although DIY crawl space encapsulation might seem fun and cost-effective, it’s not advisable. Without the necessary skills and experience, you could end up wasting time, resources, and effort. Working with a professional installation expert ensures that the job is done right the first time.
Steps to Ensure a Successful Crawl Space Encapsulation Project
When planning to encapsulate your crawl space, it’s crucial to understand what you should do to ensure a successful project. Here are some recommended steps to follow:
- Prepare Your Crawlspace
Before starting the encapsulation process, assess the current state of your crawl space. You should address any drainage issues around your home’s foundation, inspect for mold growth, and check for harmful emissions from appliances. Seek the help of experts to resolve these issues before encapsulating the crawl space.
- Seal the Vents, Walls, and Floor
Once the crawl space is ready, the next step is to seal off areas that could allow moisture and damp air penetration. Install a heavy plastic vapor barrier on the floor, and attach a water barrier on the walls, piers, equipment, and air handler. Seal all vents and openings using foam board or spray foam, and focus on sealing gaps and cracks, including plumbing penetrations, band joists, wiring, and HVAC drain line runs.
- Hire an Experienced Expert
It’s recommended to choose an experienced crawl space encapsulation contractor to handle the project for you, especially if you lack expertise and experience. A professional will have the necessary skills, tools, and experience to ensure a high-quality encapsulation that lasts longer, completing the job faster. Avoid DIY crawl space renovation to prevent costly mistakes.
How to Inspect Your Crawl Space
Your crawl space can be a tricky area to maintain, as any problems that arise there can affect the rest of your home. Many homeowners only inspect their crawl space when they plan to sell their property, which can lead to costly damages that can lower the value of their home. To prevent this, Groundworks recommends inspecting your crawl space annually.
During your crawl space self-inspection, keep an eye out for any red flags that indicate a problem, such as mold, mildew, foundation cracks, pests like rats or termites, and condensation or standing water. Additionally, if you notice damp insulation, warped materials, or any issues with electrical wiring, plumbing, or ventilation, it’s important to call contractors in your area to address the issue before it leads to further damage.
By properly maintaining your crawl space, you can prevent it from affecting the rest of your home and ensure that your property retains its value. Don’t wait until it’s too late – make sure to inspect your crawl space regularly and address any issues as soon as they arise.
Best Times to Inspect and Maintain Your Crawl Space Encapsulation
Now that you know what to look for when inspecting your crawl space encapsulation, you may be wondering when is the best time to perform maintenance. While spring is a great time to do this as the weather is mild and you may already be in the mood for spring cleaning and home maintenance, it’s important to keep in mind that there are other times when it’s wise to take a peek into your crawl space as well.
For example, it’s crucial to check your crawl space during heavy rainstorms to see if rainwater is making its way into the area. Additionally, it’s a good idea to inspect your crawl space in late fall, as a lot can happen between spring and fall, and you don’t want to head into winter with a compromised crawl space.
By performing maintenance just before winter starts, you can ensure that your subflooring is intact, your plumbing is properly insulated, and there are no other problems that could cause issues during the colder months. Remember, regular maintenance is key to protecting your home and maintaining its value, so don’t wait until it’s too late. Keep up with your crawl space encapsulation maintenance and you’ll enjoy a safe, comfortable home all year round.
How to Maintain Your Encapsulation
Even with a crawl space encapsulation, moisture can still find its way into your crawl space, making it damp and susceptible to mold growth. To prevent this, it is recommended to install a crawl space dehumidifier and check for air leaks around the crawl space door. Failure to do so could result in a moldy crawl space that compromises your home’s air quality.
Another important tip to maintain your crawl space is to refrain from using it as a tool shed or pantry. Storing sharp or heavy items in your crawl space could damage your vapor barrier, rendering it ineffective, and create an opening for pests to enter. Likewise, keeping food supplies in the crawl space will attract rodents and other pests.
Remember, proper maintenance of your encapsulated crawl space is crucial in keeping it dry and pest-free, and ultimately, protecting the integrity of your home.
Recognizing Signs of Failed Encapsulation and Taking Action
If you have encapsulated your crawl space, you may be wondering how long it will last. Unfortunately, without proper maintenance, your encapsulation could still fail. Keep an eye out for signs such as moisture, high heating costs, peeling paint, and musty smells. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to inspect your crawl space to determine if the encapsulation has been damaged.
Fortunately, most problems with encapsulation are easy to fix. You just need to repair the damaged encapsulation and dry up the air. If you don’t want to inspect your crawl space on your own, consider signing up for an annual maintenance plan.
If you suspect that your encapsulation has failed or has become moldy, don’t hesitate to call professional contractors. Contact your local crawl space repair expert to schedule a free inspection and repair quote. By addressing any issues early on, you can avoid more costly repairs in the future and maintain a safe and healthy living environment.