​Your Guide to Crawl Space Encapsulation

​Your Guide to Crawl Space Encapsulation

Access Doors and Panels on 13th Jul 2022

​Your Guide to Crawl Space Encapsulation

Crawl spaces are in approximately 20% of all newly constructed buildings in the United States. These spaces serve many functions, including housing the HVAC, electrical, plumbing, gas lines, and irrigation system.

Most structures with open vented crawl spaces have moisture-related issues like mold growth. These problems can jeopardize the efficiency and durability of your HVAC system. Furthermore, water damage can result in costly crawl space repairs.

Experts recommend encapsulation as a preventative measure. The primary objective of crawl space encapsulation is to keep the building's floor system dry and sound by significantly reducing humidity.

What is Crawl Space Encapsulation?

What is Crawl Space Encapsulation

A crawl space can be in your attic, located below the rafters, or a hidden area on the lower level near your foundation. Unlike the basement, it has outside ventilation and typically ranges from two feet to around standing height. A crawlspace floor may be concrete, plywood, or even dirt.

Crawl spaces are great for storage and can eliminate the need for a level concrete slab. The floor and walls of a crawl space typically have a six-mil polyethylene liner. This high R-value effectively blocks moisture, vapor, and pests.

An adequately sealed crawl space door is essential to encapsulation, allowing for convenient maintenance and repair access.

Why Do You Need to Encapsulate Your Crawl Space?

Why Do You Need to Encapsulate Your Crawl Space

Enhances Air Quality: Crawl space encapsulation enhances clean air circulation throughout your commercial building. Left unsealed, your crawl space can become a breeding ground for mold.

Discourages Pests: Termites and other insects require moisture to survive. Crawl space encapsulation reduces moisture, discouraging pests such as termites from making themselves at home. By addressing your crawl space needs with professional encapsulation, you can avoid the threat of insect infestation, significant damage, and needless hassle.

Prevents Structural Damage: Preventing moisture accumulation in your crawl space is critical for the long-term stability of the foundation of your building. Drainpipes direct water away from the foundation, keeping dampness out of your crawl space. Crawl space encapsulation prevents moisture retention and maintains the stability of your foundation.

Stops Mold and Mildew Problems: By preventing moisture issues like mold and mildew from forming, eliminating the emission of musty, wet odors from your heating and cooling system.

Keeps Your Floor Comfortable: The temperature of hardwood and tile floors will be more comfortable to walk on with crawl space encapsulation, especially during the winter. Encapsulation also keeps your building from feeling wet and humid during the hot summer months.

Improves Energy Utilization: Encapsulating your crawlspace reduces strain on your heating and cooling system, reducing energy consumption and lowering your monthly utility bills. Remember, the cost of encapsulating your crawl space is more than made up for in energy savings! .

How Much Does Crawl Space Encapsulation Cost?

How Much Does Crawl Space Encapsulation Cost?

Crawl space encapsulation helps to improve the longevity of your building, especially in humid climates. It helps keep your building's floor system dry by blocking out humidity.

According to bobvila.com, crawl space encapsulation costs range from $1,500 to $15,000, with a national average of $5,500.

8 Steps to Crawl Space Encapsulation

8 Steps to Crawl Space Encapsulation

The following list outlines the necessary steps to encapsulate your crawl space properly:

1. Clean and Seal

Clear out all mold or other harmful substances before you begin any work. Seal open seams between floor tiles or replace them if necessary. If you see cracks in the foundation, call in a professional to seal them before starting encapsulation. Ensure your crawlspace door fits snugly with the frame and fill any cracks or gaps around it. Also, check for gas leaks from your furnace or water heater to prevent any backdraft. Repair any structural elements that need attention and replace rotten wood in the flooring or subflooring. Also, check the joists and rafters.

2. Create Proper Airflow

Crawl spaces need vents to allow fresh air to circulate and prevent humidity from building up. Seal any gaps in the floor and, where suitable, install vent covers and insulated doors.

3. Check Your Drainage System

Ensure you have a proper drainage system installed. Water leaking through your foundation walls indicates that hydrostatic pressure is acting on your foundation. Installing water drainage is an integral part of the repair we recommend; it relieves stress by releasing it through a working drainage system.

Unchecked hydrostatic pressure will result in cracked or bowing walls. These pose a serious threat to the structural stability of your building. The division may collapse if it is left tilted.

4. Choose the Right Insulation

Although the go-to for insulation is often fiberglass, you might want to think twice and opt for non-water sensitive insulation like spray foam. Fiberglass insulation can absorb water and moisture; without proper ventilation, gaps and holes can form, and mold and mildew can grow. It can also trap dust and other allergens that can cause breathing issues for building occupants.

Spray foam insulation does not retain water and is safe for the environment. Adding insulation will also help reduce your energy bills over time, and according to the US Department of Energy, you'll recoup the costs in just a few years.

5. Remove the Old Moisture Barrier

Remove the old moisture barrier to make way for the new one. Level the area after removing so you start with a smooth surface.

6. Install the New Moisture Barrier

To install your new vapor barrier, start by wrapping the piers. Carefully cut around obstacles, so you don't damage plumbing, electrical wires, or cables.

Use waterproof tape to secure the vapor barrier for a snug fit. Then wrap poly around the entire crawlspace area. Be sure to fold the corners inward, so they lie flat and overlap the seams for a few inches.

7. Dehumidify the Crawl Space

You're almost done encapsulating the crawl space at this point but need to dry it out. Installing a dehumidifier is the best way to keep your crawl space dry.

Dehumidifiers are your best option for keeping moisture in your crawlspace low all year. Consider purchasing a humidity monitor to determine the moisture levels in your crawl space and the effectiveness of your crawl space encapsulation.

8. Do a Final Inspection

Once your newly encapsulated crawl space is dry, do a thorough inspection. Measure moisture levels and record the results. Create a regular schedule to recheck and ensure your dehumidifier continues to run at optimal levels.

Properly encapsulating your crawlspace will improve air quality, reduce damage from moisture and pests, and contribute to the overall structural stability of your commercial building.

Have you ever thought about encapsulating your crawl space? If not, maybe you should! Encapsulation can help improve the air quality in your building, make it more energy-efficient, and even add some insulation. Follow these nine steps to encapsulate your crawl space like a pro and start enjoying the benefits today!

If you want to upgrade to an insulated or fire-rated crawl space door to complete the process, contact our product experts to walk you through some great options!

Walk through our store for more great options!

13th Jul 2022 Access Doors and Panels