Does your home have a crawl space? Chances are, you don’t spend much time there. Crawl spaces are notorious for being dark, damp, and a little bit creepy. What if there were a way to eliminate at least one of those factors? Crawl space encapsulation is a process that seals your crawl space and protects it against moisture.
Surely a bit of water or condensation in your crawl space won’t cause too many problems, right? As a matter of fact, it could cause some very big problems. Here are five good reasons that you should consider crawl space encapsulation to protect your home. Click here for more information.
The primary reason to encapsulate your crawl space is to prevent moisture from getting into the space under your house. Not only can excessive moisture cause water damage underneath your house, it also leads to that damp, unpleasant, musty smell that so many of us associate with crawl spaces.
When water gets up under your home into your crawl space, it can seep into your joists, especially if those joists are made of wood. Moisture can start to rot them away and compromise the structural integrity of the house. It is important to stop the joists from weakening before the process starts in order to keep your home stable.
When you have a crawl space that’s open or not encapsulated, moisture isn’t the only thing that can get in. Pests such as insects and rodents can and do get up into the crawl space and make a home there. Some animals, such as raccoons and possums, may choose to have their babies in the crawl space as well.
Where there’s water damage, there’s the potential for mold growth. Did you know that mold growth begins just 24-48 hours after initial water damage? Certain kinds of mold and fungus can eat away at your joists as well, so it’s wise to stop mold in its tracks before it becomes a problem.
In addition to eating away at the joists of your home, mold can harm the people and animals who live there. Even if the mold is not directly inside the home to begin with, your crawl space may not be completely airtight if you have not had it encapsulated already. This means that the air that contains all those mold spores can get up through your floorboards and you and your family
The toxins that grow in your crawl space can enter your home through the floors, increasing the potential for allergic reactions and mold-based illnesses. Since crawl space encapsulation reduces moisture in the crawl space, thus reducing mold growth, you may find that the air in your home is easier to breathe afterward.
The crawl space encapsulation process begins with a heavy-duty plastic moisture barrier, which will go around the piers and on the walls and floor, covering every surface except the ceiling. Insulation is then installed to keep the outside air out. Often, dehumidifiers are installed to keep things dry. Remember, encapsulation means that your entire crawl space is sealed off, so if you decide to install dehumidifiers at a later time, you will have to open the crawl space back up to install them.
After your crawl space is fully encapsulated, you will have a reliable way to keep moisture away from the foundation of your home. However, it will still require maintenance. Since it is now sealed off, you may not realize that there is a problem with your crawl space until it becomes serious enough to affect the home’s structural integrity.
Once per year, have a professional come inspect your crawl space to ensure that everything is working in the way it needs to. They will make sure that there are no leaks in the insulation or the moisture barrier, as well as check that the dehumidifiers are working well.
Once you decide to have crawl space encapsulation done, the next step is to figure out how long it will last. Is it a permanent solution or will you need to have it done again in a few years?
Fortunately, crawl space encapsulation is a permanent solution. Once the space is encapsulated, it should stay that way and you should not have to have it re-done entirely. However, you should plan to have maintenance done on the crawl space once a year to ensure that everything is working well and keeping moisture out. You may also need to have repairs done if weather, fire, or some other unexpected event damages the encapsulation.
Cost is a key factor in deciding whether or not to have crawl space encapsulation done in the first place. A crawl space encapsulation job can cost between $1,500 and $15,000. It’s a pretty broad range, because a crawl space encapsulation is customizable to your home. Not every home will need a dehumidifier in the crawl space, but for ones that do, it’s around $1,000. Sump pump installation will cost another $1,300 if you choose to have that done. As for the moisture barrier, it averages about 60 cents per square foot.
With all costs accounted for, the average homeowner can expect to pay between $3,000 and $8,000.
With the costs in front of us, the question is: is crawl space encapsulation worth it? Ultimately, it protects your home from damage that could end up costing even more than the encapsulation itself. It also adds value to your home, meaning that you can reap the benefits of your investment down the road when you sell your home. Crawl space encapsulation is a worthwhile investment in your home and your family’s comfort and safety.