If the crawl space under your house has too much moisture coming up from its soil floor, then the structural integrity of your home could be in danger. Structural moisture leads to many problems, including:
- dry rot
- termite infestation
- mold and mildew
- rodent infestation
- insect infestation
In addition, a moist crawl space will send up smelly air into your home and lower the efficiency of your HVAC system.
To provide your home with cleaner air and to reduce the moisture that can damage its wooden structural beams, the crawl space should be professionally encapsulated.
Crawl Space Encapsulation Basics
While the term crawl space encapsulation sounds complicated and expensive, in reality, it is just a fancy word for installing perma-seal fabric and some basic building materials in the crawl space to control moisture.
The first step in encapsulating the crawl space is cleaning it out and removing any vegetation and debris. If the crawl space is excessively moist or has a drainage problem, then drain tiles will be installed around the perimeter of your home just inside of the foundation.
The Crawl Space Encapsulation Materials and Their Installation
Once the dirt floor has been prepared, then all of the crawl space vents are blocked with thick blocks of styrofoam. Foam sheets are installed on the walls and a thick plastic vapor barrier is placed on the floor. Once the wall foam and floor plastic have been installed, then the same plastic is installed on all of the walls and the ceiling of the crawl space. The sheets of plastic are overlapped and sealed with caulking and waterproof tape.
Dehumidification of the Encapsulated Crawl Space
Once the crawl space has been completely encapsulated with foam and plastic, then a dehumidifier will be installed. The dehumidifier will safely drain to the outdoors and will only require that you change its air filter each year.
The Advantages of an Encapsulated Crawl Space
Once your home's crawl space has been encapsulated, then it provides a nice clean space you can use for storage. In addition, the area will stay clean and will be a much nicer environment for you when plumbing and other repairs need to be made.
Monitoring Your Crawl Space Encapsulation's Effectiveness
Finally, part of installing a crawl space encapsulation system is the installation of a monitor so you can verify its effectiveness. Generally, a sensor will be installed in the encapsulated area and a wireless monitor will be mounted on a wall of your home so you can easily see the crawl space's current temperature and humidity level.