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Alternatives to Crawl Space Repair Encapsulation

Learn what options you have for crawl space repair & waterproofing. Call your local Colorado experts to get a free inspection and estimate!

Crawl spaces have a variety of options for solutions, including, but not limited to crawl space encapsulation. If you’ve read up until now, you probably know there are a number of ways your crawl space may have problems. It stands to reason that you would also have a variety of solutions. There are many different solutions to crawl space problems, and it’s important to choose the right one. 

The good news is that there are many different methods of fixing a crawl space. When it comes to finding the right one, it’s all about going through these different options. Here are a few of the ways you can manage your crawl space’s health and safety.

Crawl Space Waterproofing

Crawl space waterproofing should be an integral part of your crawl space repair process. Especially if you’re already having water problems, you need to consider waterproofing as a priority and your first step of repairing your crawl space. Here are a few of the ways you can maintain waterproofing in your crawl space. 

  • Interior Drainage System 

If there’s water in your crawl space, it needs to be addressed first in the repair process. A wet crawl space is a huge problem that can lead to mold, excessive moisture, wood rot, and many other problems. That is why you need to nip that problem in the bud right out the gate. 

A trustworthy interior drainage system is what you need to catch any water that leaks into the crawl space. The CrawlDrain™ system is specifically designed to sit in a crawl space’s dirt floor to intercept this water before it damages the crawl space as a whole. This system is placed around the crawl space perimeter and is directed to drain to a sump pump system. 

  • Sump Pump System 

As we just mentioned, when you’ve got a crawl space water problem and you address it with an interior drainage system, you also need a sump pump system to complete the process. Any water collected by the perimeter CrawlDrain™ system drains into a sump pump system. 

The sump pump system then removes the water from the crawl space by pumping it out through discharge lines and away from the home’s foundation. This makes it less likely that you’ll end up having condensation problems in the crawl space. It’s a great way to avoid problems even if you do have a leak at some point. 

  • Dehumidifier  

Lastly, it may be a good idea to add a dehumidifier to the crawl space. Dehumidifiers can be a great way to maximize the usefulness of your home’s crawl space; they remove the excess humidity from the air and make it less likely that you’ll have serious humidity problems in the crawl space. They’re especially effective for crawl spaces that have naturally high levels of humidity. 

When you have a dehumidifier in your crawl space, you can more accurately control your home’s crawl space humidity. It’s a great way to make sure you know how humid your home’s crawl space is, which is useful if you want to make sure your humidity is too low for things like mold and mildew to grow. Talk to a crawl space repair expert about your dehumidification options.

Crawl Space Insulation

Insulating your crawl space is an incredibly important element of managing crawl space problems. If you need to insulate your crawl space, there are a few things you need to do before you can make it an effective insulation process.

Installing crawl space insulation.
  • Remove Wet Insulation 

First off, you should remove any existing wet insulation in your crawl space. Wet insulation doesn’t work. Think about putting a wet blanket on top of you; you probably wouldn’t feel very warm. The same thing happens with wet insulation in your crawl space. That wet insulation no longer keeps your crawl space insulated at all. 

Most of the time, wet insulation isn’t as noticeable as it might be. It’s common for condensation to only impact small areas of the insulation, which can render it much less effective while still seeming relatively normal from the outside. It’s a good idea to contact a crawl space repair expert to learn more about the issues with your crawl space, including insulation problems you might have right now.  

  • Identify Areas That May Need Insulation 

There are a few areas in your crawl space that may need insulation more than other areas. For example, the rim joist, which is the space between your foundation wall and the main floor, typically needs its own insulation. Otherwise, you’re exposing your crawl space to the heat transfer of the outside world, often with just a few inches of wood separating the two areas. 

As with wet insulation, this is another element that can be difficult for a layman to pick up. Especially if you don’t have any insulation in your crawl space or you have very old insulation, it’s a good idea to talk to a crawl space repair expert when it comes time to add insulation. It’s a great way to make sure you have insulation in the areas that need it. 

  • Insulate the Home as a Whole  

It’s also a good idea to make sure your home insulation as a whole is up to par. Home insulation can suffer for a number of reasons. If you have problems with your home insulation, you can end up with a similar problem as when you have problems with your crawl space insulation, just extended throughout the entire home. 

Especially if you’re already insulating your home as a whole, insulating your crawl space should be a natural extension of this. Insulate your crawl space and your home together to save money, energy, and time. A crawl space repair expert can help you learn more about your options for insulation across the entirety of your home.

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Crawl Space Encapsulation

Once you have completed the above steps, the last thing you need to do is encapsulate the crawl space. This method of crawl space repair shuts your crawl space off from the outside world as thoroughly as possible. It’s great for dirt crawl spaces and consists of these important steps.  

  • Water Vapor Barrier 

When homeowners think of crawl space encapsulation, they typically think of a water vapor barrier. However, many homeowners believe that any water vapor barrier could be effective for crawl space encapsulation. These people may choose a 12-mil or even 6-mil water vapor barrier, assuming it will help their crawl space become healthier over time. 

The truth is that a 12-mil or 6-mil barrier won’t be enough to keep your crawl space clean and dry. Not only can these barriers sometimes allow water vapor through if it accumulates enough, but they’re also prone to tearing. This is why a 20-mil vapor barrier is the best choice for your crawl space encapsulation journey. 

  • Proper Installation  

You need to make sure you have the proper installation process for your crawl space encapsulation. This may be part of ensuring your home is up to code, as some areas require a fully sealed crawl space vapor barrier for building code. However, in some situations, it’s just part of ensuring you have the best possible protection. 

The proper installation procedure may depend on a variety of elements. For example, there are some things you may need to either do or not do, depending on the area, the type of crawl space, and the crawl space vapor barrier you’re using. The best way to know how you should handle the installation of a crawl space vapor barrier is to talk to an expert first and foremost.  

  • Removal of Crawl Space Vents

To encapsulate your crawl space, you also need to remove any crawl space vents you currently have. Many people aren’t sure why they need to remove these vents. After all, aren’t they there for a reason? Unfortunately, in the case of crawl space vents, that reason typically just consists of the fact that it’s a traditional way to make a crawl space. Vents were a very popular option for crawl spaces for a very long time. People believed these vents would air out your crawl space, making the crawl space less humid and less likely to develop issues with condensation. However, crawl space vents actually introduce outside air into your crawl space, which can increase your home’s crawl space humidity above 100% and cause condensation. The best option is to conceal these vents with airtight vent covers.

Crawl Space Repair FAQs

Crawl spaces can often benefit from a crawl space vapor barrier. However, the different thicknesses may be a confusing element of choosing a crawl space vapor barrier. Here’s what you need to know about why you’ll probably want the 20-mil vapor barrier in your crawl space. 

  • 6-Mil 

The only reason 6-mil crawl space vapor barriers are so popular is that they’re typically the absolute minimum for code restrictions. However, 6-mil vapor barriers are extremely thin and very easy to tear. That means they’re an extremely poor choice for your crawl space, even if they’re technically enough to meet most code requirements. 

  • 10-Mil 

Another crawl space vapor barrier thickness that’s surprisingly popular is 10-mil. Though this is thicker than the 6-mil, it’s nowhere near thick enough to avoid punctures and truly make sure water vapor doesn’t get inside your crawl space. 

  • 12-Mil 

It’s very common for some crawl space experts to suggest a 12-mil crawl space vapor barrier. A 12-mil crawl space vapor barrier can sometimes do a decent job in avoiding water vapor in your crawl space, but it’s just as common for it to snag on something and tear. Most commonly, people will suggest it as an “economical” option, but it’s really not strong enough to work for the job. 

  • 20-Mil 

The thickness that Groundworks recommends is a 20-mil crawl space vapor barrier. You may think this is overkill, but the fact is that if the vapor barrier doesn’t keep water out, it’s useless. It’s always best to go with something that will really do the job, and Groundworks knows that a 20-mil vapor barrier will do the job.

Crawl space solutions may depend on the region to an extent. This largely has to do with crawl space encapsulation, which is just one of the crawl space solutions that you might be able to use in your crawl space. Here are the ways that crawl space encapsulation may have a region-specific difference.  

  •  State by State 

The first thing to pay attention to is the fact that different states have different requirements. Many states stick to the International Residential Code, or IRC, but some states make small tweaks to the IRC or even completely rewrite the code from scratch. It’s important to know what crawl space code is for your state and your area so you know what size vapor barrier you need, what homes can have encapsulation, and who needs to do it. 

  • Added Requirements 

In most states that allow encapsulated crawl spaces, there are additional requirements. Most frequently, these requirements revolve around gaps for termite inspections and the addition of fans to allow for air circulation. A crawl space encapsulation expert can help you dig through these requirements and give you more information about them.

Sure, you might only need certain crawl space solutions and not others, but it’s important to know all of your options regardless of how many you’re going to end up using. There are multiple crawl space solutions that might be beneficial for you. 

  • Waterproofing 

Does it seem like you always have water problems in the crawl space? Do you regularly have standing water and condensation concerns? You might have waterproofing issues. Waterproofing can take many forms, but at the core of it all is helping you avoid the entrance of water, including pumping it out if any gets into the crawl space. 

  • Insulation 

If you want to make sure that your crawl space isn’t becoming hot and cold because of the outside temperature, you might want to invest in better insulation. Better insulation can reduce your electricity bills as well because the air in your crawl space circulates through your home, which makes it an extremely useful thing to invest money in. 

  • Encapsulation 

Crawl space encapsulation can be a confusing topic, but essentially, it’s just the process of ensuring outside air doesn’t come into your crawl space. This can include closing crawl space vents, adding a crawl space vapor barrier, and adding an energy-efficient dehumidifier, among other things.

One of the most important things you need to be able to do is understand whether you have a crawl space problem from the beginning. That way, you can avoid potential problems in the future. Keep an eye out for these warning signs of crawl space issues. 

  • High Humidity 

Especially if you have crawl space problems like a dirt crawl space or issues with overarching encapsulation, it’s common to end up with high humidity concerns. High humidity can lead to an uncomfortable living space, problems with mold growth, and much more, which is why it’s so important to handle it early on. 

  • Structural Problems 

Whether you have standing water in your crawl space, condensation on the floor joists, or generalized structural issues from high levels of humidity, structural problems are common when you have crawl space concerns you’re not addressing. These can quickly build, making them all-important when you’re thinking about whether you should tackle your crawl space concerns. 

  • Mold and Mildew

The high levels of humidity are especially great for mold and mildew growth, as well as other fungal growths that you might experience in your home. That includes growths like wood rot, which is something that strikes fear into the hearts of many. Mold and mildew can be difficult to tackle completely, so make sure you do it early with your home. 

  • Allergies

When you have mold and mildew in your crawl space, you’re probably going to have allergies. These allergies can be even worse when you have a dirt crawl space because the dirt can exacerbate your allergies even further. If you’ve noticed that your family’s allergies tend to get worse when you go inside, you might have crawl space problems.

Fix Your Crawl Space More Effectively with a Groundworks Crawl Space Expert 

When you need to fix your crawl space, there isn’t a single fix that will work for everyone. If you’ve left crawl space problems for long enough, you may even need to do other repairs to fix that damage. That’s why it’s best to turn to the experts, where you can get more information about how you can fix your crawl space. 

Groundworks crawl space repair experts know a lot about crawl spaces. When you consult a crawl space repair expert, it’s easier to understand exactly how you can maintain your crawl space and make it even more effective than it is right now. Whether you know you have serious problems or you just want to check for concerns, a crawl space repair expert can help. If you need a crawl space repair expert to help you with your crawl space, look no further than Groundworks. An expert can help you with any of your crawl space problems. Contact us today to schedule a free inspection and crawl space repair estimate.

Fix Your Crawl Space with Expert Help

Feeling concerned about your crawl space? Contact Groundworks today to set up an appointment for us to come out and provide a thorough inspection.