If you don’t have an encapsulated crawl space, by the end of this article, you’re going to want one! We’re going to give you six reasons why you need an encapsulated crawl space. We also include more beneficial methods that you can combine with encapsulation. Stick around. You’re going to learn a lot!
Without encapsulation, your crawl space and home are at risk.
- Mold starts to grow – If the humidity in your crawl space reaches above 70%, mold will start to grow. Breathing in mold can lead to serious health problems.
- Water damages wood – When wooden joists and beams are exposed to water, they can crumble due to wood rot. Read more about wood/dry rot.
- Your home starts to smell – If you allow water to build up in your crawl space, puddles start to form, creating a musty odor. That odor then travels up and affects your entire home.
- Hardwood floors start to buckle – Moisture and water can buckle, warp, and bend your expensive hardwood flooring.
- Humidity starts to rise – If hot and humid air enters your crawl space, that air flows upward, increasing the humidity in the rest of your home.
- Insects love water – Fruit flies love to nest in puddles of water. If your crawl space is allowing moisture to build up, bugs are going to move in.
How Does An Encapsulated Crawl Space Work?
Encapsulation involves lining the floors and walls of your crawl space with a vapor barrier. The barrier is puncture-resistant and is made of tough, impermeable polyethylene sheeting. The vapor barrier prevents moisture from infiltrating your crawl space, keeps humidity to a minimum, and protects any exposed wood.
The barrier is only 10 to 20 millimeters thick, so you don’t have to worry about your crawl space getting smaller. As a bonus, you gain storage space because now you can store things safely without moisture damaging your valuables. Studies have shown that a sealed crawl space creates an energy-efficient and healthier home due to the elimination of humidity fluctuations.
Vapor barriers are only the first defense against keeping moisture out of your crawl space. Here’s what you can do to create a perfectly sealed crawl space.
Sealing Crawl Space Vents
Crawl space vents were meant to allow air to circulate under your floor. Designed to prevent moisture build-up, they actually make it a lot worse. Warm air can cause exposed wooden floorboards, beams, and joists to rot. The same goes for cold air. If cold air gets inside your crawl space, exposed water pipes could crack, and condensation can build up on your walls.
Some building codes require vents to be open during the summer and closed during the winter, but most crawl space professionals suggest closing them entirely.
Adding A Drain Tile System And Sump Pump
A drain tile system collects groundwater that’s building up inside or outside your crawl space (depending on where you place the drain tile). Then, the drain tile carries the collected water to the sump pit. Once the water reaches a certain level in your sump pit, the sump pump ejects the water out using discharge lines.
If you combine a drain tile system, sump pump, and vapor barrier together, you can effectively keep moisture and water out of your crawl space. Read more about drain tile systems.
Adding A Dehumidifier
First off, you don’t need a dehumidifier if you decide to keep your crawl space vents open. Otherwise, the dehumidifier will constantly be running, trying to battle intruding outside air.
If you decide to close your vents, then a dehumidifier can come in handy. Equipped with a fan, the dehumidifier circulates the clean, dry air throughout your crawl space, keeping the humidity levels down.
How Much Does Encapsulating A Crawl Space Cost?
As we said, the best way to protect your crawl space is by combining all the methods we mentioned. The average cost to encapsulate a crawl space, including a drain tile system, sump pump (and a backup pump), ranges between $4,000 to $7,000. Keep in mind, this is only a ballpark figure based on the average single-family home. If your crawl space is larger than usual, or you have structural damage as well, the price can start to rise. But don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Who Can Encapsulate Your Crawl Space?
If you live in the Greater Chicago area and need crawl space encapsulation, who do you call? There are so many options out there. Who can you trust to provide quality service? You need the real deal, and you need The Real Seal. Call us today, and we’ll get you started with an in-depth inspection, free repair estimate, and a list of our finest solutions. We also provide basement waterproofing, foundation repair, concrete lifting, and more.