You might not spend a lot of time in your home’s crawl space, but if you’ve ever run into moisture issues, rot, or other unpleasant surprises (like the critters that are drawn to your crawl space’s moisture!), you know that your crawl space shouldn’t be ignored. 50 percent of your home’s air can flow up from your basement or crawl space. Are you letting dangerous water vapor in?
If you have an older Richmond home, perhaps you already know about the challenges of crawl space construction. For years, well-meaning construction crews built vents into crawl spaces to address moisture issues and protect the home. However, these end up doing more harm than good.
So how can you protect your home from the moisture that’s creeping in? There are two probable options:
- Vapor Barriers
- Crawl Space Encapsulation
How do these two methods compare, and which one is the right choice for your home? Here’s your all-in-one guide to crawl space waterproofing solutions.
The Low-Down on Vapor Barriers
A vapor barrier consists of one or more thin layers of plastic that are spread across the crawl space floor. It slows down the process of moisture and groundwater invading your home. A vapor barrier sits on top of the soil in your crawl space, and in some extreme cases, the plastic can run part of the way up the piers and foundation of your crawl space.
While this layer of plastic is commonly referred to as a vapor barrier, the U.S. Department of Energy now calls this a vapor diffusion barrier. Why the new name? Even if all the seams of your plastic sheeting are sealed, a vapor barrier can not seal off your home from 100 percent of moisture migration; it can only slow down the process.
All About Crawl Space Encapsulation
Crawl space encapsulation is another method to deal with moisture and odors. As water vapor creeps into your home through your crawl space, it can create mold, decay, and rot issues that—at best—make your home smell musty. At worst? Your home could be rendered uninhabitable. What does this process entail, and how it is different from installing a vapor barrier?
What is Crawl Space Encapsulation?
With proper installment, crawl space encapsulation is an incredibly effective method to keep water vapor from entering your home through a damp crawl space.
Here’s how crawl space encapsulation often works (please note these steps may vary depending on the project):
- A team rakes the soil under your house and makes the area smooth, removing debris as they go
- They add a new access door for ventilation
- They add foam insulation to all block walls
- A liner is installed to the walls and floors
- If necessary, humidifiers and drain pipes are installed
- Old and damaged insulation is removed
- The entire crawl space is treated for mold and mildew as needed
- The team adds steel wool and spray foam insulation to all the pipes leading into the house
- New insulation is installed
The Benefits of Crawl Space Encapsulation
What can crawl space encapsulation and crawl space waterproofing do for your home? Here’s why many people choose crawl space encapsulation:
- Improve air quality and air circulation in your home without the threat of moisture, mold, and mildew
- Say goodbye to insect infestations caused by your damp, dark crawl space
- Prevent mold and moisture issues that can affect the integrity of your home
- Get rid of musty odors
- Boost your home’s energy efficiency all year long
- Improve the comfort of your floors in every season
Why We Recommend Crawl Space Encapsulation For Richmond Homes
Vapor barriers might seem like a fine enough solution for the water vapor that’s making its way into your home. However, they only help with the gaseous water vapor that comes up through the soil. Vapor barriers don’t do anything to remedy the problem when water is pooling into your crawl space from other sources the way crawl space encapsulation can.
Controlling water vapor can seem easy enough; it’s keeping water vapor from getting in. The problem? Sometimes the best strategies to keep water vapor out will also effectively keep water vapor in. Water that collects atop your vapor barrier cannot get out; it can only continue to affect your home’s structure. This can quickly become a real issue.
Where crawl space encapsulation differs is that it seals water vapor out entirely, stopping the process of water vapor moving from the ground up. Because the whole crawl space is encapsulated, walls and all, the risk of moisture issues that come with water vapor drops to nearly zero.
And as an added bonus? Your new crawl space encapsulation does more than keep water vapor out. Warm and cool air can quickly be lost through your floors and into a damp crawl space. But with the added insulation of your crawl space encapsulation, you’re keeping warm air in during the winter and cool air inside throughout the summer, for a home that’s more comfortable and more energy-efficient any time of year.
Quality Workmanship and Professional Services
Crawl space encapsulation is only as effective as the team that installs it. At Dependable Home Service, we offer prompt service, honest communication, and reliable encapsulation installation services, as well as countless other home repairs, all at an affordable price.
We’ll work carefully and thoroughly so you can have peace of mind in your house and your crawl space, and we offer a lifetime guarantee on labor to protect your interests and your beloved home.
For nearly three decades, we’ve been caring for our Richmond, Virginia neighbors and their homes, and we’re eager to help with your crawl space encapsulation and crawl space waterproofing needs.
Ready to get started? Get a free quote today!