Roughly 15 percent of all newly built homes in the U.S. have crawlspaces. Often, crawlspaces house many important components of your house, including HVAC, plumbing, and irrigation systems. Because of this, keeping your crawlspace dry is of utmost importance, and water damage can be expensive to repair as well as decrease the efficiency of your HVAC equipment.
Crawlspace encapsulation is an effective way to ensure your crawlspace remains dry and free of mold or mildew, but what exactly does encapsulation entail?
Insulation Versus Encapsulation
It’s common for homeowners to confuse crawlspace encapsulation with crawlspace insulation, but in reality, they both serve very different functions. While encapsulation refers to keeping your crawlspace dry and free of any moisture in the air, insulation is mainly to combat cold floors.
Encapsulation includes adding a heavy-duty moisture barrier to your crawlspace’s floor, as well as insulating walls and sealing foundation vents. For best results, you must seal the crawlspace completely. Once the process is complete, you may place a dehumidifier in your crawlspace to keep any remaining moisture out of the air.
What to Avoid
It is absolutely critical to ensure your crawlspace is free of any air gaps when beginning encapsulation. You will not achieve results if you do not seal the space completely, so it’s important to ensure this before beginning encapsulation.
Sump pumps or a drainage system are vital to combat water damage in your home and are often overlooked during the encapsulation process. Encapsulating your crawlspace will keep it free of moisture in the air, but it will not protect it from water entering the home in the event of flooding. Make sure not to overlook the importance of having a drainage system in your home.
Tackling this process yourself may seem cost-effective at first, but crawlspace encapsulation should only be handled by a professional. The risk of damaging your home is not worth the money you will save by taking a DIY approach.
Fiberglass is not a material you should use for crawlspace encapsulation. Not only does it retain moisture which can cause gaps in your encapsulation, but it can also create a haven for mold to grow. Professional mold remediation can be costly, so it’s best to avoid the possibility altogether.
You may need to make a few adjustments to prepare your crawlspace for encapsulation. If not in proper condition, your crawlspace may not remain dry and free of moisture.
If you’re planning to encapsulate, it’s likely your space already has a moisture problem. This means there’s probably mold already, so make sure you remove any mold or mildew in your crawlspace before beginning the process.
The best way to keep outside air out of your crawlspace is to seal it completely. Use spray foam or foam board to seal off any openings or vents to the outdoors. Once all the major openings are sealed, focus your attention on any small cracks that may remain. These cracks include band joists, wiring, and plumbing penetrations.
What to Expect
Breathing in mold and mildew can lead to many health complications. By encapsulating your crawlspace, you keep moisture away from your home’s vital components, which ensures no mold will grow and cause harm to you and your family.
Over time, moisture will weaken your home’s structural integrity. Moist air will rot wooden framework and floors within your home, so encapsulating your crawlspace can be vital to the safety of your home’s foundation.
Encapsulating your crawlspace will also keep pests like termites away from your home, which are notoriously known to cause damage to your home’s structural integrity.
There are so many benefits to encapsulating your crawlspace. Why wait until there is damage to your house to begin the process? If you are in the area surrounding Richmond, Virginia, head over to our website to schedule a free virtual consultation today!