A crawl space is an integral part of the home. Given that half of the indoor air in the home comes from this area, it’s essential to keep it dry and clean always. The best way to do that is to encapsulate it.
Should I Insulate or Encapsulate?
Actually, you need both. Local code (IECC sections 303.1.4 and 402) requires homes in Cleveland, OH, to be insulated. So you don’t have many choices here. Crawl space insulation is applied between the wooden joists and crawl space walls. Joist insulation is also recommended if the crawl space is vented.
Encapsulation, on the other hand, is a wall-to-wall solution that ensures moisture and water don’t enter your crawl space and wreak havoc. A heavy-duty polyethylene barrier is used in the process. Though optional, encapsulation is the perfect antidote for mold and musty odors, and it creates an unattractive environment for dust mites and gnawing pests.
Benefits of Under-House Encapsulation
Coupled with insulation, under-house encapsulation offers many attractive benefits. The upfront cost may seem high at first, but the benefits of encapsulating your home outweigh it. Some of the benefits include:
1) Lower Energy Bills
A home with an insulated and encapsulated home requires less energy to keep it warm or cool. The reason is encapsulation creates a constant temperature between the upper living area and the below-grade area. As a result, you won’t have to run your HVAC for long to attain the desired room temperature. This translates into less energy consumption, which lowers energy bills.
2) Discourages Mold Growth
Mold and mildew thrive in damp and dark areas. They like to eat dead or decaying organic materials like wood, cardboard, and dead insects, which enter this area via vents. Mold releases spores that enter the living space above, causing respiratory problems like asthma. Crawl space encapsulation deters mold growth as it cuts off moisture, which creates the ideal condition for them.
3) Reduces Pests’ Interest in Your Home:
Just like mold, pests thrive in moist conditions. A damp, dirty crawl space is going to create conducive conditions in your home, where they can breed quickly. And dust mites can find their way into your draperies and carpets. When they do so, they will leave their minute droppings, which can float and cause allergies. Pests like mice, rats, and termites can damage furniture and wooden fixtures. By encapsulating your home, you make it more difficult for them to get inside your home.
4) Protects Structural Integrity
Wet or damp crawl spaces threaten the structural integrity of the home, especially the concrete foundation. Moisture can cause the wood to rot, metal to rust, and floors and walls to swell and crack. Plus, they can introduce termites and rats, which can chew wooden beams and joists. When this happens, your crawl space becomes weak and won’t be able to hold up the weight of the entire home. Encapsulating this space locks out moisture and ensures your crawl space, floors and walls remain intact for many years.
5) Secure and Clean Storage Area
Many people know the crawl space has a functional area where ductworks, plumbing, and electrical cables run through. So they don’t envision anything else. But do you know encapsulating your crawl space and keeping it clean creates valuable space for your belongings? From unused furniture to old household appliances, you can drag them down to the crawl space area and leave them there until you decide their fate.
6) Fresh Indoor Air
Another benefit of encapsulation is that it keeps mold spores, mildew, and dust mites out of your home. All are by-products of a moist or damp basement or crawl space. When they get into the living room, they can cause respiratory problems and headaches. You will notice a significant improvement in the quality of indoor air and experience fewer problems the moment you encapsulate the crawl space.
7) Reduces Floor Repairs
Encapsulation not only keeps your crawl space dry but also prevents simple routine maintenance from turning into full-scale repairs. Once the crawl space vapor barrier is in place, you won’t have to worry about repairs. Your conditioned space will remain intact, so you’ll have no damaged floors or cracks on walls or pipes that have been eaten by rust.
8) Makes the Home Comfortable
By encapsulating under the house, you will make your home a haven of comfort and peace. Your loved ones can live, sleep and eat without being exposed to cold and dryness in winter or muggy heat in summer. Since the temperature inside will match that of the crawl space, you won’t have to run your air conditioner for many hours trying to balance it. You will also find that your HVAC equipment and ducts will last longer when your crawl space is conditioned.
9) Enhances the Value of the Home
Whenever prospects visit a home, they want to be sure it’s clean, dry, and has no moisture issues. Many of them won’t even look at your home twice if it’s mold-ridden. By ensuring your home has an under-house encapsulation, you will make it more appealing to potential buyers.
Would you like to have your home in Cleveland, OH, encapsulated? We have the expertise and equipment to encapsulate your crawl space effectively.