While it’s no secret that the air we breathe in our homes has a major impact on our health, it’s not exactly a simple thing to control. There are so many external factors that can affect your home’s air quality, but most especially a crawl space (if you have one!).
A large portion of the air you breathe in your home actually flow up from your crawl space. And if it’s moldy and overrun by vermin and insects, imagine how that is affecting your lungs? This is where crawl space encapsulation is a game-changer.
To learn more about this process and how it can benefit your home, check out the rest of this blog.
What Is the Purpose of a Crawl Space?
Why do homes have a crawl space, anyway? It’s just an empty space between the ground and the first floor of your home, generally 1-3 feet in height, so does it serve any purpose?
Crawl spaces exist in a number of older homes, while only a small percentage of newer homes built today include a crawl space. The original purpose is to create easy access to the underside of your home for the installation or repair of certain utilities. This includes the likes of plumbing, electrical wiring, and HVAC installation, and ducting.
There is also an aesthetic purpose to your crawl space. It’s the perfect spot to hide all of the above-mentioned utilities from plain site so that your home looks more appealing from the outside. While this empty space may seem pointless, there is a reason for it being there.
Crawl Space Encapsulation: The Process Explained
Despite the fact that crawl spaces serve a legitimate purpose, some homeowners may find them to be more of a pain-in-the-neck, than not. The truth is, a crawl space is a hot spot for all kinds of action to take place under your home.
Whether it’s the accumulation of moisture and dangerous mold growth, an insect or rodent infestation, or interior condensation issues, neglected crawl spaces can be a real headache. To add to this, all of these issues affect your home’s indoor air quality. Which ultimately affects your health.
This is why it’s super important to get your crawl space encapsulated if you have any of these issues, or better yet, before any of them crop up.
If you don’t have a crawl space but a basement instead, you also want to consider basement encapsulation for the exact same reasons. These areas are below ground level and will always pose a certain amount of risk to your home without encapsulation.
So, what does this process involve?
Crawl space encapsulation works similarly to lining a swimming pool. It’s all about waterproofing and the prevention of leaks. All of the other benefits follow after that. Here’s how it works:
- Your contractor will rake the soil beneath your home so that the surface is even and flat
- They then remove any large, obvious debris and dirt
- They then add in a new access door for the purpose of additional ventilation
- After this, foam installation is installed against all of your block walls
- Your contractor will then add lining to the ground of the crawl space and along the walls
- The process generally includes the installation of a dehumidifier and a drainpipe, where necessary
- If your crawl space has damaged or unneeded insulation, this will be removed too
- If you have a mold/mildew problem, your contractor will clean and treat the affected areas
- Your home’s piping will be reinforced with steel wool and foam insulation
- Finally, new insulation will be installed
While you can DIY crawl space encapsulation it’s not recommended. You only want to pay for this job once, so it must be completed correctly. In this case, it’s best to hire the expertise of an experienced contractor with knowledge in this field.
When Should You Consider Crawl Space Encapsulation?
Let’s say you move into a new home and discover that it has a crawl space. If the area is not encapsulated, this is something you want to think about before any issues arise. Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to health hazards in the home.
On the other hand, if you’ve lived in your home for a while and it’s on the older side, you want to consider encapsulation when:
- You have recurring issues with mold and mildew in your home
- You have wooden floors that are soft or separating
- Your cost of home cooling or heating keeps going up
- Your insulation is wet and ineffective
- You have a recurring issue with condensation and dampness in your home
- You have a pest or insect issue
But before you go ahead and contact a contractor, you’ll have to consider a few important factors first. If you have a bulk water problem, i.e. large amounts of sitting water or water stains, you’ll need to tackle this issue before encapsulation.
If your home has an insect problem, you’ll need to call pest control to assess how bad the problem really is. If they discover you have a termite issue, there are restrictions on how much of your crawl space you can encapsulate.
If your crawl space houses combustion equipment, you must make provision for back-drafting. Before you seal up this area completely, you have to be 100 percent sure the area is prepared for it.
What Are the Benefits of Crawl Space Encapsulation?
When it comes to any major home renovation project, naturally you want a good idea of whether the cost is worth the investment. Let these benefits of crawl space encapsulation speak for themselves:
1. Reduce Your Heating and Cooling Costs
By adding an additional layer of insulation to your crawl space it creates an extra barrier between your home and the outdoors/elements. This extra layer will improve the temperature control within your home and therefore reduce how much energy you’re consuming through your heating or AC usage.
All in all, this helps to regulate or even reduce your bills at the end of the month.
2. Banish Mold Growth
There’s no denying how unhealthy mold growth is, not-to-mention unsightly and smelly. Mold is also quite sinister in that it lurks, grows, and spreads in places you might not even realize.
By encapsulating your crawl space you are creating a moisture-proof barrier that protects your home from mold growth.
3. Keep Creepy Crawlies Away
Your crawl space is a prime spot for insects, such as roaches, mice, and rats to breed. It’s also an easy point-of-access directly into your home.
By closing up your crawl space, you can eliminate your risk of insect infestations, rodent and vermin issues, and keep your home safe and clean.
4. Boost the Value of Your Home
Like many other home renovation projects, crawl space encapsulation is a good way to bolster your home’s resale value. This is especially true if your home is on the older side and you’re looking to sell it in the future.
Encapsulation is attractive to potential buyers because it means they don’t have to take on/fund the task themselves. This means you can ask for a higher price on your home, while offering new buyers peace of mind, too.
5. Improve Air Quality and Create a Healthy Home
As mentioned, a good portion of the air you breathe inside your home is affected by your crawl space/basement. Sealing off a crawl space is one of the best ways to improve air quality and eliminate any potential toxins that could be growing and spreading in this area.
Improving indoor air quality can do wonders for your health, such as eliminating allergies, improving your sleep, concentration, and so much more.
6. Extend the Longevity of Your Flooring
If your home has wooden flooring, you want to do everything you can to preserve it. These types of floors add amazing value to your home and the last thing you need is a damp crawl space to ruin them.
Not only this, but dampness from your crawl space can actually rot your flooring from the inside, out. Which may mean complete replacement. If you want to combat the issue of moisture and protect your floors, crawl space encapsulation is the answer.
7. Protect Your Structural Integrity
Did you know that a build-up of moisture and dampness in your crawl space can not only affect the inside of your home but your foundation, too? Ultimately, this could have an impact on the overall structural integrity of your home.
Let’s not forget about pests, such as termites, that can also do some serious damage to your structural integrity. With encapsulation, you can protect your home for years to come.
8. Reap the Reward of Rebates
Yes, that’s right, you are entitled to rebates from certain utility companies if you encapsulate your crawl space. This means that not only do you save on your heating and cooling bills, but you’ll get a portion of your money back, too.
You may also be legible to quality for tax incentives from the federal government for encapsulation, you just need to check with your local government department about this!
Healthy Homes Are Our Ultimate Goal
At Crawlspace Medic, we believe that the health of your home starts from the ground up. If you’re looking for professional, affordable, and thorough crawl space encapsulation, then we are your go-to!
Take a look at our encapsulation services — whether it’s for a crawl space or basement, we’ve got you covered. Perhaps you’re in need of an inspection, waterproofing, or structural repairs? We offer that too…