crawl space encapsulation

Crawl Space Encapsulation

If you’re reading this article, you already know that moisture can wreak havoc in your crawl space. Moisture in crawl spaces leads to rotting wood, growth of mold and fungus as well as pest infestations. It will result in poor indoor air quality since more than 60% of the air in your home actually comes from the crawl space.

When it comes to keeping moisture out of your crawl space, you will have the option of leaving it ventilated or fully closing it off (crawl space encapsulation). If you’re making a decision as to which option would work best for your home, consider the pros and cons of each.

Natural Ventilation

Natural ventilation has been in use for decades as a means of keeping crawl spaces dry. Grates were installed in the foundation to keep the crawl space safe from the elements while allowing air to flow freely into and out of the crawl space. While this was effective in keeping the space ventilated, it didn’t account for the fact that air carries moisture too. High humidity levels meant that the crawl space would continue experiencing moisture problems.

Advantages of natural ventilation include:

  • Low cost
  • Keeping some moisture out

Disadvantages of natural ventilation include:

  • Allowing some moisture in the space in the form of water vapor in the air
  • Lower indoor air quality
  • High relative humidity in the crawl space

Crawl Space Encapsulation

This process involves the installation of a vapor barrier and sealants to fully enclose the crawl space. The vapor barrier is a sheet that is impervious to water. A dehumidifier may be installed to keep moisture out and circulate air in the crawl space.

The advantages of crawl space encapsulation include:

  • Keeping moisture and humidity out of the crawl space completely
  • Keeping pests out of the crawl space
  • Reducing heat lost or gained in the home and therefore reducing energy bills
  • Keeping the crawl space away from the elements

The disadvantages of using this method include:

  • Higher cost than natural ventilation

If you’re still not sure which system to use for your crawl space, be sure to talk to a professional and certified contractor. They will inspect your crawl space and provide you with solutions to suit your situation. They will also provide you with an accurate estimate to enable you to make a decision.

Choose a solution that will give you long term results.