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Crawl Space Encapsulation

Crawl space encapsulation is one of the best ways to manage your crawl space. What is crawl space encapsulation and what will it do for you?

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Crawl Space Repair Solutions: How You Can Benefit from Crawl Space Encapsulation

One of the most important options for managing your crawl space health is crawl space encapsulation.

Crawl space encapsulation is the process of sealing your crawl space from outside air and moisture and incorporating it into the envelope of the home. This typically means adding a high-quality vapor barrier, wall insulation, and a drainage system.

If you could benefit from crawl space encapsulation, it’s always best to do it as early as possible. Here’s what you should know about crawl space encapsulation.

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What Are the Elements of Crawl Space Encapsulation?

Crawl space encapsulation typically requires multiple elements. If you only do one of these elements or you don’t complete all of the elements in a manner that works well for the crawl space, you’ll likely end up with a poorly structured crawl space.

  • Tackling the Crawl Space Vapor Barrier and Crawl Space Vents

First off, you’ll need to use a crawl space vapor barrier to keep moisture out of the crawl space, and you’ll need to make sure it’s a high-quality barrier to do the job right. Groundworks utilizes a 20mil crawl space vapor barrier to ensure a tight seal.

You’ll also want to remove any intentional openings for moisture, including crawl space vents. Crawl space vents were something that enjoyed widespread popularity for a time because of the belief that they would help homeowners avoid moisture. However, they tend to create moisture, making it crucial that you close them.

  • Insulation and Drainage

Insulating your crawl space can help solve both moisture and comfort problems. High-quality insulation helps increase energy efficiency and create a more comfortable living environment.

Not all insulation is created equal. Be sure to work with a Groundworks expert to choose the correct insulation for your crawl space.

Depending on the amount of moisture or water in your crawl space, a foundation expert might suggest a drainage system. Several options are available from drainage matting to crawl space sump pumps.

  • Crawl Space Dehumidifier 

It’s also a good idea to add a dehumidifier so you can remove the crawl space humidity. A crawl space dehumidifier can help you avoid recurring problems with humidity levels in your crawl space and the rest of your home. As the name suggests, these machines can keep the humidity level stable without allowing it to get high enough for mold and mildew growth.

You should only do this after the other steps, as it can only really help once the entrances for moisture are taken care of. Just installing a crawl space dehumidifier without tackling the underlying causes of moisture concerns won’t do much to help your crawl space. You need to fix the causes of crawl space problems first.

How Can Crawl Space Encapsulation Benefit You?

These are only a few of the crawl space encapsulation benefits you might experience after going through the sealing process.

  • Lower Electric Bills

When you don’t constantly have air moving throughout the home and you aren’t dealing with external air entry in the crawl space, you’re going to have lower electric bills. This is partially because you won’t have poorly insulated air coming in and out of the home regularly, but it’s also because you won’t have as much humidity.

Humidity increases your electric bills because it’s harder for an air conditioning system to work effectively when it’s humid. If you have serious humidity issues throughout your crawl space and the rest of your home, you’re going to have more problems with electric bills, which means encapsulating your crawl space can sometimes save you money. 

  • Fewer Allergy and Asthma Problems

An unencapsulated crawl space is one of the most common reasons you can end up with allergies and asthma problems. If you already have allergies and asthma, an unencapsulated crawl space can make those problems even more difficult, which can be extremely upsetting for a family that already struggles with allergies and asthma.

One of the best parts of crawl space encapsulation is that it reduces the amount of dirt, dust, and debris that you have in your crawl space. When dirt and dust no longer blow up into the rest of your home, you’ll likely see fewer respiratory problems in your family as well. 

  • Fewer Issues with Bugs and Pests

Bugs and pests are an extremely frustrating problem that your crawl space may be contributing to. It doesn’t matter how many cracks you seal , if you have below-ground problems with bugs and pests moving into your crawl space, you’re going to end up with serious pest concerns in your home as a whole.

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Why Might You Need to Encapsulate Your Crawl Space?

Many symptoms may indicate crawl space encapsulation is your best option. If you’re trying to determine the best path forward, these are some of the things that might indicate crawl space encapsulation is the way to go. 

  • High Indoor Humidity

One of the biggest signs of issues with crawl space encapsulation is high indoor humidity. This is because when you have an unencapsulated crawl space, you’ll get water vapor rising through the dirt. That water vapor will turn into high levels of humidity in your crawl space, which will itself turn into high levels of indoor humidity.

Because up to 50% of the air in your home comes from your crawl space in one way or another, high crawl space humidity will always turn into high indoor humidity as a whole. One of the best ways to avoid high levels of indoor humidity is to remove sources of humidity in your crawl space, which is what crawl space encapsulation can do. 

  • Mold and Mildew in the Crawl Space

Crawl spaces tend to be prone to mold and mildew. That musty smell is mold and mildew. Mold and mildew typically only grow and thrive when the humidity levels are at or above 70%, although there’s a bit of wiggle room where mold and mildew may grow at slightly lower levels.

If you have a dirt crawl space or you just have enough space for water to come in, you’re going to end up with high crawl space humidity. From there, you’re almost certainly going to end up with mold and mildew in the crawl space unless you’re willing to manage its health and humidity. 

  • Air Flow Throughout the Home

It’s best to avoid entry for air in the crawl space if at all possible. Your home has air openings throughout the structure, and it’s not necessarily possible to remove those air openings entirely. However, if you also have air openings in your crawl space, you’re going to end up with problems from something called the “stack effect,” which can cause serious problems throughout the crawl space.

The stack effect happens when you have openings for air at the bottom and top of the crawl space and it has to do with the fact that warm air rises. If you have warm air entering the crawl space, it will immediately rise through the rest of the home; if you have cool air entering the crawl space, it will warm up, then rise more slowly. This can distribute all sorts of things from the crawl space to the rest of the home.

FAQs About Crawl Space Encapsulation

Crawl space encapsulation is a crucial part of making sure your home stays healthy overall. However, some homeowners don’t know that crawl space encapsulation is so important. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you try to understand the connection.

  • Crawl Space Health Is Connected to Home Health

It’s important to remember that your crawl space’s health is an intrinsically important part of your home’s health. Your crawl space will share its air with the air in the rest of the home, so you should always do whatever you can to keep the crawl space air as healthy as possible.

A crawl space should be as important to you as a basement. Think of it as a very small basement; you would take care of your basement’s health, so why wouldn’t you take care of your crawl space’s? Just because you go into your crawl space less often than you might go into a basement doesn’t make it any less important.

  •  Maintain Your Home Health Overall with Crawl Space Health

You should do as much as you can to make sure your crawl space is safe because it will maintain your home’s health overall, not just that of your crawl space. When you spend money on crawl space health, you’ll also be spending money on your home’s health. That makes it a good investment for yourself and your family.

For example, when you have open crawl space vents, you’re much more likely to run into problems with the stack effect. Adding crawl space vent covers will allow you to ensure the health of your home as a whole, not just the health of your crawl space.

The crawl space encapsulation process can certainly be daunting for someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with crawl spaces or with home health as a whole. However, that doesn’t mean you can skip out on the expert element.

  • The Issues with DIY

Crawl space encapsulation is not a DIY project. Although there are some things you can DIY in your home, encapsulation is something you should leave to the experts to help avoid long-term issues and costs. Encapsulation is complicated, which is exactly why professionals are trusted with the job after years of experience.

When you handle crawl space encapsulation, there are many steps that you need to execute as perfectly as possible. This includes installing the crawl space vapor barrier, adding the crawl space dehumidifier, and potentially even installing crawl space jacks if you’re having structural problems. Only an expert can do this effectively.

  • Get an Expert to Help

Experts are always going to have better insight into the unique factors that contribute to the problems in your crawl space. With this knowledge, they can help you pick the right encapsulation methods and then use high-grade materials and safety equipment to ensure the installation is not only effective but safe. No matter how good you are at DIY, you don’t have the experience you need to properly encapsulate your crawl space.

If you think you could benefit from crawl space encapsulation, talk to a crawl space expert from Groundwork to learn more about the process. An expert will give you more information and let you know more about your potential options. This is often matched with long-term warranties, so you can have confidence in the work for the years to come.

Crawl space encapsulation should be the main fix you look into for crawl spaces that have dirt floors. However, it’s not exclusively for those types of crawl spaces. Here’s what you should know about crawl space encapsulation for all crawl spaces.

  • Important for Dirt Floors

Of course, crawl space encapsulation is a hugely important element of fixing dirt floors. Dirt floors tend to have a variety of problems in them that makes them the perfect candidate for crawl space encapsulation. For example, moisture can easily collect in a crawl space with a dirt floor, causing crawl space condensation and high levels of crawl space moisture.

Even if you generally try to keep your crawl space clean, a dirt floor will be inherently less healthy. This is why you should look at crawl space encapsulation. Crawl space encapsulation will always be helpful for these more exposed spaces.

  •  Important for Spaces with Other Floors

Just because crawl space encapsulation is extremely effective for dirt floors, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ineffective for other types of floors. Some crawl spaces without dirt as their base might also have problems that require encapsulation. This typically occurs if you’re having issues with the soil or the surrounding structure.

If you have a crawl space that has waterproofing concerns, regular issues with pests, and open crawl space vents, you’ll need to look into crawl space encapsulation. Crawl space encapsulation can be a great way to combat all of these problems, no matter the type of floor present.

Maintain a Healthy and Encapsulated Crawl Space with the Help of an Expert

To have a healthy crawl space, you need an encapsulated one. It’s just not possible for you to have a healthy crawl space that also has entries for moisture. If you want to make sure your crawl space is as healthy as possible, especially if you have a dirt crawl space, chances are you’re going to need to encapsulate the space.

However, you must do it the right way. A Groundworks expert is your best bet when it comes to encapsulating your crawl space. Crawl space encapsulation isn’t a DIY or weekend project. It’s something you need to do with the maximum care possible. A Groundworks expert will help you choose the right options for crawl space encapsulation and ensure you do it properly.

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