Crawl space encapsulation is the best way to ensure the longevity of your home’s crawl space and the quality of the air you breathe. The area below your feet may be hidden from sight, but it should be on the mind of any homeowner. It’s certainly on our mind at Environmental Protective Solutions.
Moisture, mold, and pests can endanger the health of the home, and encapsulation can benefit air quality and energy efficiency. Crawl space encapsulation covers your crawl space with a special barrier impermeable to these threats, keeping it dry and structurally sound.
This article expands on these reasons for considering crawl space encapsulation and what the process looks like from start to finish.
What does the process look like?
Crawl space encapsulation keeps water and moisture out of this critical part of your home. It involves an initial assessment of your space to gauge your needs and ensure its readiness. Any existing water, mold, or pest damage should be addressed at this point, as well as any changes to insulation. Environmental Protective Services specializes in water and mold remediation, so you can be confident that their experts will detect any existing problems and offer high-quality solutions. It’s also often advised to check all electrical and water pipes before beginning work on encapsulation. The first step will likely be the floor since most building codes require that a vapor barrier be placed over the ground to keep your crawl space clear of moisture and gasses.
A similar process takes place around all the other surfaces of the crawl space. A sealing tape or another fastener is placed to affix a vapor barrier to the walls, columns, and any other vulnerable surfaces. The vapor barrier — basically a plastic liner — functions to keep moisture out of the crawl space. Different regulations may require a buffer space between the ceiling and the vapor barrier to allow inspections of the foundation. At this point, it’s vital to hire a knowledgeable contractor like Environmental Protective Solutions, who will use high-quality materials and know-how to install to reduce tears and perforations. EPS’ specialization in moisture control means that its trained professionals have extensive expertise and experience at this critical part of the project. Environmental Protective Solutions is also a certified installer of the Watson Seal Lumber Kote system, which their specialists can apply directly to wooden surfaces for an added layer of protection.
After completing work on the sealing portion of encapsulation, EPS can help you strategize how to protect your space further. Often the process involves air conditioning with a specialized dehumidifier. A dehumidifier adds another layer to your moisture-protection setup, keeping both sides of your new vapor barrier safe and dry.
Benefits of Crawl Space Encapsulation
The benefits of crawl space encapsulation derive mainly from the extensive complications brought on by moisture and pests. Moisture can provide an ideal climate for mold growth. Given the airflow dynamics of most houses, air often moves from basements and crawl spaces into living areas. So, if mold infests these spaces, it can easily find its way throughout your house and into the air you breathe. Poison Control lists numerous health risks associated with breathing toxins from mold, especially respiratory infections.
Airflow impacts another key housing area: energy. Homeowners heating or cooling their homes will invest money and energy into keeping their homes at a comfortable temperature, but air seeping up from the crawl space can bring outside air along with lower energy efficiency and higher utility costs. Crawl space encapsulation represents another barrier between your home and the outside that can keep your home comfortable and dry.
Moisture is also widely known to attract insects. Ants, beetles, mold mites, cockroaches, and termites all thrive in damp spaces. Besides their unsightly qualities, these bugs can do real damage to your home. According to Terminix, homeowners spend $5 billion annually on termite repairs, each repair proving an expensive project. Keeping a space dry and sealed can help prevent this damage before bugs get the chance to take their first bite.
What does the process require?
The vapor barrier comprises the most important part of the encapsulation process. Vapor barriers generally fall between 5-20 millimeters. Professionals use special vapor bond tape to secure the vapor barrier to the wall and each sheet to another. While the tape seals out moisture around the barriers of the foundation, the experts at EPS will identify and seal other spaces where moisture could enter. These include vents, pipes, cables, and any other breaks in your foundation wall. Contractors can use special seals to stop air from escaping through these breaks. Depending on the space, EPS may also install a sump pump to bring water away from your home’s foundation. Finally, in keeping your crawl space dry, you likely need a dehumidifier. These models are built for larger areas with more moisture and often come with ways of monitoring moisture levels remotely.
To get started with the encapsulation process, contact Environment Protective Solutions at our nearest office; you can find the phone number at the top of this page. We’ll provide a free initial consultation to assess any work that needs to happen before encapsulation. EPS has certified mold and water remediators should you need that work before beginning the sealing process. The assessment and repairs are the first two steps of a comprehensive 5-step crawl space process that comes with a 1-year warranty.
Investing in your home now will prevent major issues in the future that cost you thousands. More, it keeps the air in your living space clean and efficiently conditioned. While the process isn’t complicated, it’s important to employ experienced, well-trained contractors. Environmental Protective Services stands out from the rest with years of expertise and extensive certifications. Give them a call today and breathe easy knowing your home is clean and protected for years to come.