A lot of homes that do not have basements often have crawl spaces beneath the ground floor. This isn’t only the case of mobile homes, but also ranch style homes and even larger ones which do not have a basement of a sufficient size. These areas are not seen and are often overlooked. If there is dirt floors Encapsulation is another alternative.
Many times, the crawl space can become an important source of health and safety concerns. Rodents, birds and other insects can are attracted to the crawl space. A lack of insulation could lead to the loss of heat, while poor ventilation can lead to mold. Dust and allergens can be accumulating in these unoccupied areas of your home.
What exactly is Crawl Space Encapsulation?
Encapsulation’s primary purpose is to form an enclosure inside your crawl space to protect against humidity. Through this process, it helps in the prevention of massive pests as well as utility bills. This process is extremely comprehensive and has become among the top sought-after home improvements in recent times.
Pros and Cons
There are many advantages for the process of encapsulation. The main purpose of this process is to minimize moisture and increase the chance of mold.
By creating an airtight wall insect and animal pests are kept out of the area. The gases produced by soil, along with pollen and allergens, are effectively blocked, resulting in better air quality.
In the end, because of the added insulation you will likely see lower energy bills. In contrast to different home renovation projects the only drawbacks are derived from the initial expense and the poor installation.
Can this be an DIY Project?
Although it is feasible to build a capsule yourself, there are many issues that can arise due to using improper materials or not putting them in place properly. If you are planning to complete the job yourself, make careful not to cut corners and follow all instructions closely. Be aware that certain products are only accessible through licensed contractors.
Encapsulation costs vary significantly, depending on who is the builder, material and the dimensions of the area. According to costhelper.com estimates, the typical installation price varies between $5,000 to $7,000. It could be as low as $2,000 if you complete the installation yourself, while hiring a contractor that uses the CleanSpace system could cost up to $14,000.
It is essential to look for yourself before selecting an individual contractor. Some contractors may not only cost more than they should, but they could also make use of inferior materials. Be sure to inquire whether a warranty will cover poor installation, and read all the details. This could save you thousands of dollars in the event that an issue arises.
There are probably wires and pipes running in your basement, it could be required for a plumber or another professional to make repairs or maintenance within the area. This shouldn’t cause damage to the membrane if you’ve installed a thicker, more durable plastic or a high-quality vapor barrier like CleanSpace as well as SilverBack. Be aware that any work done close to an exterior wall might require an opening to be cut and replaced later. This is particularly true for pipelines for water supply.
The Basic Process
Although the materials used may differ among different contractors, the core procedure is the same. This method has been refined over many years to get rid of all flaws. The omission of steps, even those that seem unnecessary or overly complex could cause difficulties as time passes.
1. Preparation of the Crawl Space
In case you’re trying to encapsulate an entire crawl space or partially finished basement with dirt flooring The first step is vital. Any debris, particularly sharp rocks and anything else that can puncture the insulating plastic should be removed. It is graded in order to make the smoothest possible surface.
Step 2. Sealing
External openings in side walls, for example, doors and vents, need to be sealed. Wires and pipes coming from outside should also be sealed correctly. This will stop air flow , and will also aid to keep the space dry. The contractor’s choice will determine the materials used could be foam or plastic.
Step 3. Insulation
A plastic layer that is insulating is glued to the floor and walls. The floor is made of plastic. flooring should be at minimum six millimeters thick. It should be overlapping by at about one foot, stapled and covered the entire floor. At this point the material is strong enough to withstand plumbing, termite inspections and other disruptions. Wall plastic should be secured with metal fasteners and leave the gap of six inches from the sill plate to assist in the inspection of termites.
Step 4. Conditioning
Once the room is sealed off, the moisture present needs to be eliminated. This could be done through vents that lead to the living space and/or the construction of a dehumidifier. If your house is in an area that is susceptible floods, you might require the sump pump or flood alarm. This is one of the steps that are often overlooked when trying to save money, although it’s one of the most essential.
Problems With Crawl Space Encapsulation
Once the installation is completed you should not have any problems with your crawl space. But, many problems could result from using incorrect materials or making a mistake. These are the most frequent complaints and the probable cause.
A properly sealed crawl space shouldn’t cause smells. Odors of mold or musty smells could result from water seeping into areas that haven’t been properly taped or materials that have been damaged. The smell of bleach or chemicals is typically due to the use of unsuitable materials like PVC which can also cause tear or damage to tape within the lining.
Excessive Humidity or Moisture
One of the main tasks of encapsulation is to protect against moisture. In the event that your humidifier has been on all the time, you’ve got an unpleasant odor or your crawlspace is flooded and the crawlspace hasn’t been sealed properly. This is typically due to the contractor removing steps, like the proper tape. Insufficient air flow could be a factor which could lead to mold, or other damages that are costly. Because this is usually the first thing to cut in order to save money, it’s also the main cause of condensation as well as other moisture problems.
Although a properly enclosed crawl space can greatly reduce the chance from mold or unwanted visitors However, even the best barrier could be damaged. It is therefore recommended to inspect the crawl space at least two times each year. You can plan an annual inspection by a professional to coincide with termite inspections or other routine inspections, or you can do the task by yourself.
The first thing that is that is checked during the inspection is the moisture level. There shouldn’t be any high humidity or visible water. A crack or crack in the plastic vapor barrier. Check the barrier for any damaged areas, and ensure that it is covering the entire floor as well as the individual pieces are properly fixed. Conducting a radon test at this point is recommended.
Check the support or joists to see if they show signs of mold, looseness, or dry decay. The latter could cause tiny gaps in the barrier, which is where water can be able to enter. The damage to support beams can create an opportunity for structural damage, and must be taken care of promptly. Also damaged air pipes could cause more problems.
In the end, you should look for indications of rodent activity such as chew marks or droppings. Insect damage, specifically from termites, could also be evident. These indicators could suggest damage to the barrier or an infestation that could be present within other areas of your home.
Energy Star released a fact document on insulate your crawlspace, the benefits and installation guidelines. While the information is intended for construction of new homes however, these guidelines can be applied to existing crawl space or for building an extension on your home.
CrawlSpaceRepair.com, LLC is the official website for the manufacturers of the SilverBack vapor barrier and other quality encapsulation products. The site does not only permit you to purchase the products direct, it also offers tutorials and articles to help in the installation and troubleshooting.