How to Encapsulate a Crawl Space
November 11, 2021
A crawl space is a space that separates the first floor from the foundation. The crawl space provides the same functionality as a basement, with the only difference being the height which measures 1.5 meters and less. Just like the attic, most of the air in your home circulates from this space which means that its maintenance is important to ensure you are breathing clean and fresh air.
Crawl Space encapsulation is the process of installing airtight sealing to prevent moisture from entering the floor above the crawl space. When the crawl space is not maintained, it becomes prone to water damage, leading to problems like high energy bills and poor quality of air. Clean Air Doctors provide crawl space encapsulation to ensure that your home is free from moisture and your air is safe. Read on to learn how you can do it yourself.
Also Read: Cheap Ways to Insulate a Building
While it is a good practice to encapsulate crawl spaces, most homes do not require this, especially if the home is not prone to moisture penetration. These are the signs that provide insights into whether or not this process is necessary even before the crawl space is assessed:
Assessing for Signs
- Mold on the walls
- Musty odors
- Cracks on the foundation and walls
- High energy bills
While the symptoms above may not be similar for all homes, taking a look at your crawl space is important, if not necessary, to establish if this process is needed. If the crawl space had been insulated before, look for wetness in the insulation or any standing water, which may be a sign of a poorly maintained drainage system.
We advise you to seek professional help to ensure the inspection is done effectively. A professional will also conduct a safety inspection to establish if there is any carbon monoxide being emitted by your gas furnace or water heater. This is important as it prevents the back-drafting of gases from leaky gas appliances into your home.
Cleaning Your Crawl Space
After ascertaining that your crawl space requires encapsulation, it is time to clean up your crawl space. Remove anything that is stored in this space, as well as any debris that might have built up over years of usage. In case you are doing the encapsulation on your own, make sure all the piping inside your crawl space is suspended to allow you to cover all the areas inside your crawl space.
Additionally, remove all the stagnant water that might be present inside the crawl space, ensuring that it is dry from any moisture. Since moisture creates a hospitable condition for molds, mildew, and infestation of pests and bacteria, remove all these from the wall or any surface, they may be occupying.
This step involves repairing any leakage on the drainage system that may have occurred in the crawl space. Apply adhesive glue or silicone sealants on cracks and any openings that allow moisture to enter the crawl space. Look for vents and cover them with insulators to prevent debris, rodents, and water particles from passing through.
Most crawl spaces host pipes and ducts that lead inside the home; as a result, there may be gaps that are likely to allow air and moisture to enter the space and into the home. To solve this, spraying foam insulation can easily help to close off these holes and waterproof your crawl space.
Seal and Insulate
This is the last step in the encapsulation process which provides the needed protection to prevent any moisture or humid air from entering your crawl space. It involves measuring and installing heavy-duty vapor barriers on the foundation and the walls of your crawl space.
The first thing is to measure the size of the space and cut the barrier a little bit larger than the space to be installed. Then, install the cut vapor barrier consistently, ensuring there is no area uncovered.
To ensure that no space is left open, apply tape around the pillars and piers holding firm the encapsulated material. The only space that is left is an inspection point that adheres to the termite regulation, thereby preventing any distortion to the encapsulated material in the event of a termite inspection.
A dehumidifier is also necessary for any encapsulated crawl space. They come in different sizes to suit any crawl space size allowing the space to maintain an acceptable consistent level of about 45-50% all year round. These devices also come with humidity monitors that allow the homeowner to monitor the effectiveness of the device.
Having an encapsulated crawl space will provide you with a clean and comfortable living space. This will also save you a lot of money in repairs, mold removal, and other costly effects caused by moisture.