While not mandatory, crawl space encapsulation is a procedure that can give a new lease on life to the functional space below your house. It's the solution to mold growth, water damage, termites and low indoor air quality among other problems. In this post, we shall look at what it's involved in encapsulating the below-grade area and how you stand to benefit.
What is Crawl Space Encapsulation?
Crawl space encapsulation is the process of creating an envelope around the crawl space in your home. The fundamental principle is to cover all the floors and walls in the crawl space with thick polyethylene, then lay a heavy vapor barrier to cut off moisture that could come from damp foundation blocks. The result is cooler floors during summer and warmer in winter. You'll also cut down your energy bills, enhance the lifespan of your HVAC unit, and prevent mold or pests from entering your home.
Why Should My Home Be Encapsulated?
Encapsulating your Indianapolis, IN, home may seem expensive at first, but the initial cost won’t compare to the lasting benefits that will accrue. One, you won’t have to worry about gnawing pests or crawling insects taking over your home and damaging furniture and clothing as they will be shut out.
The other benefit is your indoor temperature will remain constant regardless of the seasons. Winter will be warm and summer months cool. Because of this, you won’t need to run your HVAC as much to try and bring temperatures to the desired level.
Encapsulating your crawl space preserves the structural integrity of your home too. With moisture and water kept out, your metal pipes and wooden beams will remain intact as there’s no rust to corrode the former or termites to bore the latter. Your home remains strong as the foundation walls and all supporting structures in the below-grade area will be in perfect shape.
An encapsulated crawl space also enhances the quality of indoor air. Since there are no mold spores or dust mites, your loved ones can breathe easy 24/7. And that means no asthma or headaches or other respiratory problems.
The Process of Encapsulation
Chances are you’ve heard your local basement contractor talk about crawl space encapsulation but didn’t pay attention to the details. A typical under-the-house encapsulation goes like this:
Step 1: Preparing the crawl space: One of the toughest and trickiest phases of the job, it basically involves cleaning out the crawl space in readiness for encapsulation. As well as removing any standing water that could cause electrocution, your basement contractor will clean and clear out old and damp insulation, jagged rocks, old polyethylene and other debris. In compliance with your building code, they will also install a crawl space vapor barrier on the ground. This will create a safe and comfortable working space.
Step 2: Fixing plumbing, ducts and electrical wires: Next, you want to make sure there are no loose wiring or leaky pipes. If there are, call an electrician and your plumber to fix them, respectively. With plumbing and electrical issues out of the way, you can now go ahead and decide how you want the crawl space to be conditioned. If your humidity is higher than 55%, you'll likely need to install a dehumidifier and ensure your drainage is flowing.
Step 3: Sealing all the vents, floor and walls completely: We do this by adding a plastic vapor barrier and attaching it to the foundation walls, beams and equipment. To prevent waste, your contractor will start by sealing the foundation walls using a wall liner. Any excess material is then overlapped with the ground vapor barrier. A small gap will be left at the top of the masonry walls for inspection purposes. Sticky double-sided construction tape is used to secure the liner on the all in a straight line. All vents and openings to your outdoors will also be sealed to prevent moist outdoor air from coming to the crawl space.
Step 4: Installing a dehumidifier: Air and moisture barriers aren't enough to keep your crawl space dry all year round. Once the crawl space has been sealed off completely, we will install a dehumidifier to keep this area clean and dry.
That’s just about it. Encapsulating 500 sq. ft of space takes roughly four hours. If your space is smaller, it will probably take a shorter time.
Would you like to encapsulate your Indianapolis, IN, home? Contact your local basement contractor and request a free crawl space encapsulation inspection today! We have the tools, expertise and knowledge to transform your unsightly and dirty crawl space into a useful space.