Your home’s crawl space might not be full of ghosts or monsters like your childhood self believed, but it is possible it is full of things that are scarier.
As a homeowner, your crawl space can turn into a nightmare if you don’t take care of it. That’s why investing in crawl space encapsulation is always worth the cost. But what is it, and are there alternatives?
We’ve put together this guide to help you learn more about crawl space encapsulation and how it can benefit your home. Keep reading below for some great tips!
As a homeowner, you may have never been inside your crawl space. That might make you start to wonder if it’s really an important part of your home. If you’ve started to have problems with your crawl space, you might want to just pump it full of cement and stop worrying about it.
Unfortunately, you can’t do that.
Your crawl space gives you (or professionals) access to things like your home’s plumbing system, electrical wiring, HVAC ducting, etc. If something goes wrong with your home’s electricity, a professional can crawl under your house, find the issue, and fix it.
Because of this, crawl spaces are a necessary part of most homes.
Without encapsulation, your crawl space can turn into a breeding ground for expensive problems. For example, most crawl spaces have high humidity levels and are full of moisture. Although these spaces have vents to promote evaporation, they also provide an entry point for things like bugs and rodents.
Now put all of those things together.
Many crawl spaces turn into damp tunnels full of mold, fungi, bacteria, and pests. The moisture and mold can turn into rot, and the unwelcome guests and destroy the structural material, which can lead to things like foundation repair.
Encapsulation creates a barrier between your crawl space and the outside world. It keeps humidity, moisture, and most pests out of your crawl space. Instead of being a repair waiting to happen, your crawl space turns into a safe, clean area you can go back to ignoring—without consequences.
Here’s a closer look at some of the benefits you’ll get from encapsulating your crawl space.
A lot of the air you’re breathing in your home comes from your crawl space. As the air rising into your home, it carries with it all the moisture, mold spores, bacteria, etc. growing down there. This can irritate your respiratory system, even if you don’t realize it.
By encapsulating your crawl space, you prevent any of those things from getting into the air you’re breathing. This will improve the air quality in your home and give your health a boost as well.
Moisture and rot are two of your home’s biggest enemies. They can eat away at your home’s structural components, such as wooden frames and floors, which can increase your risk for house foundation repair, sagging floors, warped door frames and window frames, and even collapse.
Since encapsulation doesn’t allow moisture or mold into the crawl space, it improves the structural integrity of your entire home.
Remember, the air from your crawl space leaks into your home. Since this air is normally cold in the winter or hot in the summer, you’ll have to run your HVAC system more often and for longer cycles to keep your home comfortable.
But that all stops with encapsulation. Your home will stay at a more comfortable temperature, so you can turn the HVAC system off and save money on your energy bill.
Don’t know where to put your Christmas decorations? If you’ve encapsulated your crawl space, there’s no risk of damaging any items you keep down there. This will give you new storage space for any items you don’t want to clutter the rest of the house.
Your home will feel much more comfortable after crawl space encapsulation. You won’t have to walk around in a thick sweater because your home will stay warm (or cool) on its own. Since the humidity will be under control, you also don’t have to deal with dry or irritated skin or sinuses.
This is a complicated and detailed job. It’s not something you should do on your own because even small mistakes can put you right back where you started: with a humid and moldy crawl space. Always hire a professional to take care of this project for you.
The first step of crawl space encapsulation is cleaning out all the debris down there. The professional will pump out any water, remove any damaged insulation, and remove old building debris. After this, they’ll apply a mold and fungal treatment to keep it from coming back.
Then the professional will wrap the crawl space with a 20-mil liner and insulate the foundation walls. This will completely cover the walls and floors, creating a seal between the space and the outside elements. For extra strength, the professional will go back over the lining and tape all the seams.
After that, the professional will install a dehumidifier to keep the air dry. If you live in a wet environment, they may also install a drainpipe to help manage the extra moisture.
Even if you don’t spend a lot of time in your crawl space, there are a few clear signs that mean there’s something going wrong down there. If you notice any of these things, you need to search for “crawl space encapsulation near me” online and schedule an appointment right away.
Your crawl space might not have given you any serious problems yet, but there’s a good chance it will get there if you give it more time. Encapsulating your crawl space before your home needs expensive repairs will help you save some money in the long run.
Does your living room floor sag in spots? Does it feel squishy or soft when you walk on it?
That’s a bad sign. The moisture from your crawl space may have eaten away at the wooden frames underneath, making your floor weak and flexible. While there may be a few other causes for this problem, you should check on your crawl space first.
If you smell something musty coming from your HVAC vents, there’s likely mold growing somewhere in the ducts. In most severe cases, you may be able to smell this odor any time you walk into the house. A damp crawl space can spread mold all throughout your home, and you won’t be able to get rid of it until you deal with the source of the growth.
If you do poke your head into your crawl space, take a look at the ground.
Do you see standing water? Then you’ve got a serious issue on your hands. You need to dry and condition the space as soon as possible to prevent the damage from spreading to the rest of your home.
You might not notice this warning sign, especially if you don’t go into your crawl space very often. However, rust is a sign of excess moisture. If you notice any rust on your HVAC ducting, the humidity in your crawl space is probably too high.
Have you noticed your allergies getting worse regardless of the season?
The likely cause is dirty air coming from your crawl space. Keep an eye on the people in your home, especially anyone who struggles with asthma or other respiratory conditions. If you can’t figure out the reason for their allergies, turn your attention to the crawl space.
No matter what you do, there is always some type of pest invading your home. Even expensive pest control treatments won’t do you much good if the pests have easy access to your home through the crawl space. The next time you’re dealing with a pest problem, make sure you deal with the crawl space first.
There could be many different reasons for a spike in your energy bill. However, if you can’t figure out where it is coming from, the answer is probably your crawl space. Encapsulating it will make the dollar sign on your bill go back down at the end of the month.
Crawl space encapsulation is an investment that can help protect the rest of your home from damages. If you haven’t encapsulated your crawl space yet, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team at BAY Crawl Space & Foundation Repair! Tell us about what you need and we’ll give you a free quote today!
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.