Are you always struggling with mold infestation in your home? Or maybe you cannot explain why your pipes are rusted? When was the last time you checked your home’s crawl space? A lot of homeowners unfortunately always fix the problems without going to the source of issues. If you have cold and damp floors in your home and mold is often present on your walls, you should call professionals to encapsulate your crawl space. This way, you will deal with the underlying problem and resolve other ongoing issues.
So, what is crawl space encapsulation? It is a method of keeping the crawl space moisture-free, and it includes laying down a vapor barrier that seals the floor and walls. This is a job that can be done by a team of experts in a matter of days, depending on the size of the space. With encapsulation, you can rest assured that your home will be protected from the impact of the soil and other outside elements. However, just like any other part of your house—the crawl space encapsulation needs to be regularly maintained to properly do its job.
Unfortunately, many homeowners tend to neglect encapsulation, believing their vapor barrier can remain intact for decades to come. Keep in mind that if you do no not provide your encapsulation with care, it could become prone to damage and lose its function. With regular maintenance, this barrier can remain intact and serve its purpose for years and years.
How to Thoroughly Inspect Your Crawl Space
The tricky thing about the crawl space is that if something goes wrong in that area, the rest of your house will suffer as well. To keep your crawl space in good condition and prevent it from affecting the rest of the home, make sure you inspect it at least once a year. Some homeowners do this only when they wish to sell their property, which is a huge mistake. Problems that originate in the crawl space can damage your entire house, lowering its market value. Therefore, even if you don’t plan to live in your home forever, you should take time to properly maintain it.
When you are down there, you should keep your eyes open for red flags, such as mold and mildew, foundation cracks, pests like rats and termites, and condensation or standing water. If your insulation is damp, the materials have warped or you notice any electrical wiring, plumbing, or ventilation issues, you need to call contractors in your area and have the problem fixed before any other issues arise.
When to Maintain Crawl Space Encapsulation
Now when you know what to look for, you are probably wondering when is a good time to take care of the encapsulation. Should you do it in the spring, summer, or autumn? Since springtime weather is just right, and it is not too hot or cold, you can get into the crawl space comfortably and see what is going on down there.
With that said, there are some exceptions. For example, you should check the crawl space during those really rainy days to see whether rainwater is making this space damp. Also, you should check it in the late fall, since a lot of things might have happened since the spring, and you don’t want to welcome winter with a damaged crawl space. That is a recipe for disaster. So go down there just before winter starts and check whether the subflooring is intact, the plumbing is properly insulated, and that there are no other problems.
How to Maintain Your Encapsulation
Just because you have encapsulated your crawl space doesn’t mean the barrier will remain intact for the next two decades. Without proper maintenance, your crawl space could still become moist, so it is recommended that you install a crawl space dehumidifier. You should also take time to check whether there are any air leaks around the crawl space door. If there are, they could let moisture into your crawl space, and in just a short amount of time, your once-dry space will become moldy.
If you don’t have a tool shed, you might be tempted to use your crawl space as storage. However, this is not a good idea since sharp edges could damage your vapor barrier and make it completely ineffective. In addition, you could create an opening for pests that will crawl in through the ruptures.
Just as your crawl space is not a tool shed, it is also not a pantry. By keeping your food supplies down there, you are inviting rats and other pests to attack this space. Therefore, keep your food in your kitchen.
Signs of Crawl Space Encapsulation Failure
Are you worried that your encapsulation has failed? If this has happened, there will be obvious signs that something is wrong. Keep your eyes open and look for red flags such as moisture on walls or the floor, high heating costs, cold floors and walls, peeling paint, warping wood, pest activity, mold infestation, and musty smells. None of these signs are pleasant, so you should notice them as soon as they appear. However, it is possible that you won’t think that they are there because something is wrong with the encapsulation, so keep this list in mind at all times.
Luckily, a lot of these problems are easy to fix. You just need to repair the damaged encapsulation and dry up the air. If you don’t wish to enter the crawl space on your own to inspect it, sign up for an annual maintenance plan.
If you have noticed that your encapsulation has been damaged or has become completely moldy, don’t put off calling professional contractors. Contact your local crawl space repair experts today to schedule a free inspection and repair quote. This way, you will find out whether your crawl space is dealing with any issues and which is the best way to resolve them.