What is Crawl Space Encapsulation and Is It Really Beneficial?

Think about the last time you called a mold remediation specialist or a plumber to fix rusted pipes. Did you bother to check the crawl space? That’s the most likely source of your cold, damp floors and mold-infested home. Without encapsulating the crawl space, you’ll just be dealing with symptoms and not the underlying problem — in this case, an exposed and unconditioned crawl space.

Crawl Space Encapsulation – What is It?

Crawl space encapsulation is a method of sealing the crawl space to keep out moisture and any of its undesirable effects such as pest and mold infestation. It’s usually done by laying down a vapor barrier that covers and seals the floor and walls. Typical encapsulation projects can take anywhere between 3-5 days depending on the condition and the size of the crawl space.

Crawl space encapsulation is a beneficial permanent solution that will isolate your home from the earth and outside elements for good.

Why Should I Encapsulate My Home?

Most crawl spaces have dirt floors or cement floors and some external vents. You can imagine how this space would look when floodwater gets in. Muddy water and debris from the outside can turn it into an unsightly space where you wouldn’t want to venture, let alone keep your belongings. Encapsulation will ensure this space remains dry and clean always.

Want to save money on your monthly energy bills during winter? Sealing and encapsulating the crawl space is the simplest way to do that. Your open or exposed crawl space will let in cold air, which will enter the floors in the living area, causing them to be cold. In turn, this causes your HVAC to work harder to regulate the temperature and create a comfortable indoor environment.

If you have a crawl space, you could be drawing up to 50% of air from the outside. What does this mean? Air from the outside will impact internal conditions. If it’s too cold or loaded with moisture, you can be sure the same will end up in your living space. Conditioning and encapsulating your crawl space ensures your home remains comfortable and livable 24/7.

Besides trapping allergens from the outside, dark, damp and dirty crawl spaces are instant magnets for rodents and pets. Mice and rats can turn your crawl space into their home. When they start breeding, they will get into the living space above and contaminate your food and water. Dealing with mice infestation isn’t going to be cheap. So why wait until they show up when you can lock them out for good?

In many Missouri homes, crawl spaces are often left exposed to the elements. The result is excessive moisture and swinging temperatures. The variation in temperature and high humidity levels will force you to run your air conditioner for longer to create the perfect internal conditions. By encapsulating your crawl space, you ensure no heat gets lost and no cold gets inside. Your air conditioner will function normally. Insulating rim joists and using cell foam could result in a 20% energy savings.

Summertime humidity is pretty high and could cross the 60% mark on hotter days. Add the sweltering heat, and you will have the perfect conditions for mold to grow and multiply in your home. All the mold spores and contaminated air could make their way into your bedrooms and kitchen. Encapsulating your crawl space effectively prevents mold growth by removing conditions that make them get into your home in the first place.

Crawl Space Encapsulation Steps

Perhaps you’re wondering what the whole process entails. Here’s a summary.

  1. The crawl space contractor comes onsite and inspects the crawl space.
  2. Prepare the crawl space by removing dirt, mold and stagnant water, then fix the drainage.
  3. Seal openings and leaks in the crawl space, not forgetting cracks and gaps with tough and waterproof material, then close it up with waterproof tape.
  4. Insulate foundation walls and wooden joists using insulation material to protect it from external elements.
  5. Install a dehumidifier to condition the crawl space. A dehumidifier will control moisture levels and channel excess moisture outdoors.

Depending on the condition of the crawl space, some repairs may be carried out before encapsulation starts. Your contractor will tell you what kind of repairs are required after inspecting the crawl space.

Would you like to protect your home from moisture and enjoy the benefits of an encapsulated crawl space? Schedule a crawl space inspection then request a free estimate.