Conditions that are related to the crawlspace were ignored in the past by those who mistakenly found it unnecessary to care about this unused place. But now most people care about their crawlspace because it has vital effects on the quality of indoor air. Furthermore, ignoring crawlspace conditions may allow excess moisture to enter your home and this will have bad effects on your family health and living conditions. The reason why your crawlspace is the most common source of moisture is because moisture usually comes from the earth and the air. So, it should be isolated from these harmful creatures.
For either dealing with moisture issues or avoiding them, encapsulation is considered the best solution for this case. So, what is encapsulation? How it is implemented? And why it is beneficial for your home?
What is Crawlspace Encapsulation?
Encapsulation is the process by which the living area of your house is separated from the area under your house. This is done by sealing outside vents and installing a water vapor barrier to cover areas of your crawlspace including floors, walls and sometimes ceiling as well. After ensuring isolation, the final step of encapsulation which is air conditioning is applied to make sure that your house maintains a healthy level of humidity. This step is usually applied by using a dehumidifier that controls the level of moisture at the crawlspace. Both vapor barrier installation and adding a dehumidifier should be applied after preparation as it is described in the following paragraph.
How Encapsulation is implemented?
Dealing with crawlspace concerns by applying the encapsulation process is challenging because this process is a step-by-step process, the success of each step is dependent on the accurate implementation of the previous step. These steps are three, preparation, vapor barrier installation and dehumidifier addition.
The preparation step should start with the most difficult part of the overall process, it is cleaning. Entering your home crawlspace after years of ignorance will make you shocked. You will have to remove all of the accumulated dirt, rocks and other items that could harm the vapor barrier. Once it is clean, you need to measure the floor size, height and length of walls and other areas that will be involved in vapor barrier installation. After measurement, use these measures while cutting pieces of the vapor barrier but make sure that they are a little bit longer than needed not to leave gaps after installation. With an additional lighting for the crawlspace, all things are ready for the next step.
Vapor barrier installation
Vapor barrier installation is the core of the encapsulation process. So, it should be implemented as accurately as possible. You can do it by yourself, but is more recommended to rely on a professional contractor. He will add seal taps below joists of the floor then install vapor barrier along the wall. After that he will take a reasonable time of pushing against the wall in order to make sure that the vapor barrier is constant. After finishing walls, he will do the same on the floor considering cutting around obstacles such as water tanks. Hard-to-reach gaps could be filled also by extra sealing tape to make sure that the overall area is covered.
Adding a dehumidifier
Once you finish the hardest and most time-consuming process, the remaining is just a simple finishing. Your crawlspace should be kept with a reasonable level of humidity and this could be done by adding a drying mechanism such as adding a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers are introduced to keep healthy levels of humidity in crawlspaces. These appliances are also supported with a remote monitor that could be placed on another location inside your home, so you will track levels of humidity without going down to the crawlspace.
The difference between sealing and Encapsulation
You may think that there are no differences between sealing and encapsulation because both terms are usually used interchangeably. They are actually similar but with some few differences.
- Sealing: it is considered a narrower term concerning crawlspace encapsulation because it covers only the floor and few inches of walls.
- Encapsulation: this term is broader as it covers all areas of the crawlspace including floors, walls and the ceiling as well.
Advantages of encapsulating your Crawlspaces
From the implementation process you can deduct how important it is to move for a crawlspace encapsulation without hesitation. Of course this place is not visited regularly, but benefits you will get for your long living home deserve sacrificing those thousands of dollars on crawlspace encapsulation. The following are some of the advantages you will get from this process.
Save passible repairing costs: without encapsulation, you won’t be able to control moisture and this will allow harmful creatures like mold to grow and spread in wood. This may damage the hardwood of the floors. On the long run, this will requires you to pay a lot for repairing them.
Tax incentives: in the United States, the federal government offer great tax incentives for those who improve their homes. A crawlspace encapsulation is an improvement plan for your home that will yield many tax incentives from the federal government and some other local governments.
Easier breathing: unlike vented crawlspaces, encapsulated crawlspaces have a positive effect on the quality of air that enters your home and this will ensure easier breathing and healthier environment for your family.
Increase the lifetime of heating and cooling equipment: in a vented crawlspace, heaters and coolers will be exposed to dirt and harmful materials. After cleaning them and encapsulating the crawlspace, they will be more protected and last for a long lifetime.
Enhance comfort: adehumidifier that controls the level of humidity will also have an additional effect on your home floor. They will not be cold in winter or muggy in summer. So, a higher level of comfort will be maintained for your family at all times.
Attractive for buyers: the encapsulation process is an improvement process that will make your house outstand other’s houses and if it is compared to other houses by a future buyer, the decision will be easy.
At last, you should keep in mind that crawlspace encapsulation is not an easy process. So, if you are not sure that you will be able to implement it correctly, the overall process should be left to a professional contractor.