Resource Article

Crawl Space Encapsulation DIY Guide

Blake Heron

It’s easy for homeowners to overlook their crawl space because the only time they’re in there is when making repairs or maintaining their HVAC. It’s only until you get that sickening smell emanating from the floor that your crawl space gets the attention it deserves.

Your crawl space seems harmless, but it could be a host for all kinds of mold and unwanted little critters.  A humid crawl space also significantly reduces the efficiency of your HVAC, but you can solve all this with a simple encapsulation. A handy individual doesn’t even need professionals; crawl space encapsulation DIY is difficult but anyone with the right tools and supplies can do it.

If you’re wondering whether crawl space encapsulation is worth your time, then the answer is definitely yes. That’s unless you’re comfortable with that unpleasant pungent smell from mold and having rats around the house. Mold can also lead to a host of respiratory complications, especially if you’re sensitive to such allergens.

This piece is a comprehensive step by step guide on how to encapsulate your crawl space. That way, you can keep all these problems at bay and have a clean, moisture-free crawl space.

For professional crawl space encapsulation services in the greater Hampton Roads, VA / NC region, learn more about BAY Crawl Space & Foundation Repair at our Home Page, About Us Page, or Request A Quote Page.

Step by Step Crawl Encapsulation DIY

Crawl space encapsulation is essentially sealing your dirt floor in the crawl space using a vapor barrier, insulating the crawl space walls, and installing a dehumidifier. It also involves sealing off all vents and outdoor openings to prevent the entry of humid air from outside. If you want to encapsulate your crawl space, here’s how you do it.

1. Examine the Property

Before you get to the actual encapsulation, the first thing you have to do is inspect the crawl space and your home’s layout. It’s great if you have your home’s floor plan so you can formulate a proper method of approach.

Next, ensure that your home has is graded correctly. If you suspect your home has drainage or any grading issues, then contact a ‘grading’ or gutter professional as soon as you can to address the problem.

Also, you want to check for mold and clean it up so that the encapsulation doesn’t trap the mold in place. Also, check for any gas leaks from your furnace or water heater to prevent any backdraft. Lastly, check the moisture levels.

To effectively remove all mold and fungus, you can fog your crawl space. All you have to do is fill a cold fogger machine with fungicide and start fogging. Scrub any remaining fungus with a nylon brush to make sure your crawl space is fungus-free before encapsulating your crawl space.

Lastly, spray a mold prevention solution on the wood to prevent the mold from ever growing again.

2. Repair the Crawl Space

After everything is right, the next step is to repair the structural elements on your crawl space. This mainly entails removing and replacing any rotten wood in the crawl space. Make sure you get the band joists, floor joists, and girders. If there’s any rotten wood on your subfloor, replace that also.

Make sure you compensate for any support when you remove portions of the crawl space that support the floor. Clear all the debris so you can start the actual work.

3. Seal the Vents, Outdoor Spaces and Install the Vapor Barrier

After clearing all these issues, the next thing to do is to seal the vents completely and any gaps on the floor. You can use vent covers, sealed doors, and hydraulic cement to achieve this.

Foam boards are ideal for insulating the walls of the crawl space. You can also use fiberglass batts to insulate the floors instead.

4. Remove Current Moisture Barrier and Install a New One

The next thing to do is to remove the current moisture barrier to make room for the new one. Make sure after removing it, you level the area to make installing the new one much easier.

After removing the vapor barrier, install a new one to prevent any moisture from getting into your crawl space. Moisture is responsible for that unpleasant musty odor coming from the floor.

The next step is installing the new moisture barrier, and here’s how to do it correctly

  1. Start by wrapping the piers with pieces of the vapor barrier. Make sure the vapor barrier is tight to the ground.
  2. Cut tight around any obstacles including piers, plumbing, and wires.
  3. Tightly tape around the piers and pipes with waterproof tape.
  4. Cover the entire crawl space with poly and tape it to the wall. Fold the corners so that it can lay flat on the ground. Make sure each seam overlaps by at least a few inches.

You should also install a thermal barrier to your crawl space walls as a measure to further prevent any outdoor air from entering your crawlspace. Foam insulation is an excellent thermal barrier and prevents any moisture from getting in.

5. Dry Your Crawl Space

At this point, you’re almost done with encapsulating the crawl space, but before you kick up your feet, you still have to dry your crawl space. The best way to keep your crawl space dry is by installing a dehumidifier.

Dehumidifiers are your best bet to ensure low moisture levels in your crawlspace all year round. You can also consider getting a humidity monitor to know the moisture levels in your crawl space and gauge the effectiveness of your crawl space encapsulation.

6. Do Regular Inspections

After drying your crawl space, you will have successfully encapsulated it. Now all that’s left is to check your crawl space regularly, reading the moisture levels and ensuring your dehumidifier is working fine. Do this regularly to ensure your crawl space is in tip-top shape.

Follow These Steps for Encapsulating Your Crawl Space

There’s nothing too complicated about a crawl space encapsulation DIY project. It’s just very hard work and time consuming. It’s always a good idea to have a little help with you when encapsulating your crawl space. Also, before you start the process, make sure you have all the tools and equipment in place, and don’t forget your safety gear.

Also, it’s okay to seek a little professional help once in a while. If you need professional and expedient crawl space repair and maintenance, then request a quote today, and we’ll help you out.

Written By Blake Heron

Blake has specialized in crawl space & foundation repairs for over 10 years (since 2012). His prior engineering and business degrees from James Madison University in VA prepared him for a mastery of problem solving with crawl space & foundation repair issues. He is one of America’s top experts on crawl space encapsulation. As Founder of both ‘BAY Crawl Space & Foundation Repair’ as well as ‘GridLock Foundations’ he is a leading industry expert on crawl space foundation repairs.

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