Advantages of Encapsulation
Everything You Need to Know About Crawl Space Encapsulation
Although they’re a feature of almost every property, most homeowners don’t give much thought to their crawl space. Unfortunately, leaving your crawl space untreated can lead to a whole host of problems. To prevent your property from succumbing to damage, it’s important to determine whether your crawl space should be treated.
Crawl space encapsulation is one of the most popular ways to treat the area beneath a property. As well as being an effective way of protecting the structure, encapsulation is a straightforward process that can be completed relatively quickly. What’s more, encapsulating your crawl space is extremely cost-effective, which means you can maintain your home without exceeding your budget.
How Sedona Waterproofing can help prevent moisture problems:
Seal and Encapsulate your Crawl Space
We will remove the insulation from the structure’s floor joists and insulate the walls with an efficient R12 value insulation or as required by the Building Codes in your area.
Create Energy Savings Annually
Savings can range anywhere between 15% to 30% every year. In time, you can expect to recover your waterproofing expenses and then some due to the savings of an efficient modern system.
Prevent Both Mold & Moisture Problems
Crawl space encapsulation helps to prevent both mold and moisture problems. Most indoor air quality issues in homes begin in one place – the crawl space. Crawlspaces that are not encapsulated are subject to wood rot, termite and bug infestations and ruined insulation. Our team of skilled service technicians changes all of those things
What is Crawl Space Encapsulation?
Crawl space encapsulation involves creating a moisture-proof barrier between your home and the ground beneath it. Most crawl spaces are between 1-3 feet in height, which means there’s more than enough space for water vapor and excess moisture to form.
When you encapsulate a crawl space, a specialist polyethylene is applied to the surfaces and acts as a moisture barrier. As well as being affixed to the walls of the crawl space, encapsulation materials are also applied to the ground and even the ceiling of the crawl space itself. Sealing tape is used to create an impenetrable barrier that ensures moisture cannot escape the crawl space. In some cases, insulation is added to enhance the impact of encapsulation.
Of course, leaving excess water vapor in the crawl space isn’t a long-term solution. That’s why encapsulation involves installing a crawl space dehumidifier. This ensures the humidity and moisture levels within the crawl space can be well-controlled.
Once complete, crawl space encapsulation ensures an appropriate humidity level is achieved and prevents vapor or moisture from penetrating through to your living areas.
Why Encapsulate a Crawl Space?
Even though you may never venture into your crawl space, it has more of an impact on your home and your health than you realize. Air from a crawl space inevitably transfers to the interior of your home, which means you could be breathing in dust particles, toxic mold, harmful gases from the soil and excess levels of moisture. By encapsulating your crawl space, you prevent these elements from being moved into your living areas and improve the quality of the airflow into your property.
As well as protecting your health, crawl space encapsulation can safeguard the structure of your property too. When moisture levels rise, it increases the risk of wood rotting and other materials becoming damaged. If left untreated, this could pose a significant risk to the integrity of the structure and could even make the property unsafe. As encapsulation ensures a suitable humidity level is achieved, the risk of structural damage is greatly reduced.
Although a crawl space creates a gap between the first floor of your home and the ground beneath it, this reduces the energy efficiency of your home. In winter months, a significant amount of heat escapes from the crawl space, while cool air from your AC system is lost throughout the summer. The barrier created via crawl space encapsulation increases energy efficiency, which subsequently reduces your fuel consumption and utility bills.
Another great reason to encapsulate your crawl space is to prevent rodents, bugs and creepy crawlies from infiltrating your property. As you can imagine, a dark, undisturbed crawl space is an ideal place for these pests to set up home and it gives them easy access to your property. With professional crawl space encapsulation, however, your home remains open to invited guests only!
When Should a Crawl Space Be Encapsulated?
If your property has a crawl space, it can be beneficial to have it encapsulated to prevent problems occurring. If you notice mold or mildew present in your home, however, it could be a sign that your crawl space is already causing issues.
As excess moisture transfers from the ground into the air, crawl space encapsulation is highly recommended for properties in areas where there is a significant amount of rainfall or groundwater. In reality, however, the vast majority of properties with crawl spaces can benefit from encapsulation.
Benefits of Creating a Vapor Barrier Crawl Space
When you have a vapor barrier installed in your crawl space, you’ll notice a range of benefits, including:
- Better air quality in your home
- Reduced risk of mold and mildew developing
- Pest control and infestation prevention
- Improved energy efficiency
- Structural protection for your property
Sealing vs Encapsulation
Many people assume that crawl space sealing and encapsulation are the same thing but they’re actually different methods for maintaining your property. Encapsulation typically involves covering the walls, floor and ceiling of the crawl space with a moisture-proof barrier. Once this is in place, a sealant, such as specialist tape, is used to hold the polyethylene barriers in place and maintain impenetrability.
In contrast, crawl space sealing generally means only covering the floor and the first few inches of the wall with a moisture-proof barrier. Although this can be a viable option for some properties, crawl space sealing is less effective in controlling moisture and vapor than full crawl space encapsulation.
Things to consider before an Encapsulation
Before you move forward with crawl space encapsulation, it’s important to consider whether full encapsulation is right for your property. Similarly, you’ll want to inspect your property to determine whether mold, mildew, insects or poor air quality could be attributable to your crawl space. In addition to this, you’ll need to find a reliable and reputable specialist who can provide the tools, service, and equipment you need.
Does Crawl Space Encapsulation Add Value to Your Home?
It’s estimated that encapsulating your crawl space can reduce energy bills by up to 30%, which adds up to a significant saving over the year. However, it isn’t just utility bills that are affected by crawl space encapsulation.
When your property is well-maintained, its value is protected. While damp, mold, mildew and infestations will put potential buyers off and potentially lower the value of your home, maintaining a safe and comfortable environment will ensure your home retains its value.
If you choose not to encapsulate your crawl space, many buyers will factor the cost of doing this into any subsequent offer they make on your property. Due to this, you could sell your property for a higher price if the crawl space has been properly encapsulated.
How Long Does a Crawl Space Encapsulation Last?
Providing your encapsulation is carried out by an experienced contractor, it should last for many years. On average, crawl space encapsulation lasts for around 10-15 years, although many moisture barrier manufacturers now produce materials that are designed to function effectively for 20 years or more.
Crawl Space Problems
An untreated crawl space can give rise to numerous problems, including:
- Mold and Mildew
- Leaking or Standing Water
- Musty Odors
- Rotting Wood Joists and Flooring
- Pests and Insects
- Rusted Metal
- Dirty and dust
- Excessive Humidity or Moisture
- Soil Gases in the Space
- Buckling Hardwood Flooring
Often, there won’t be any visible signs of a problem until the damage is quite severe. For homeowners, this can mean expensive repair work is needed before the crawl space can be properly protected. By taking action now, however, you can prevent these issues from occurring, reduce your expenditure, protect your property and create a healthier living environment.
Does an Encapsulated Crawl Space Need a Dehumidifier?
Once the encapsulation process is complete, it’s advisable to install a dedicated dehumidifier in your crawl space. This will ensure the moisture levels can be carefully controlled and humidity can be maintained at a healthy level.
Although a dehumidifier certainly improves the effectiveness of crawl space encapsulation, not everyone chooses to install a dehumidifier as part of the process. Encapsulating your crawl space without a dehumidifier is certainly better than leaving it untreated but using a dehumidifier in your crawl space will maximize the impact of encapsulation and increase the benefits associated with encapsulating the area.
Is Crawl Space Encapsulation Covered by Insurance?
In general, crawl space encapsulation isn’t covered by standard home insurance. However, if your property has been damaged due to an unexpected leak or flood, the cost of subsequent repairs may be covered by your insurance policy. If so, it’s possible that the cost of encapsulating the crawl space would be included.
Although the cost of encapsulation is not usually covered by home insurance policies, it could enable you to secure cheaper premiums. Many insurance providers will ask whether your crawl space is encapsulated when you’re purchasing a home insurance policy. As encapsulation helps to maintain the structural integrity of your property, it may be possible to obtain insurance at a lower cost once your crawl space has been professionally encapsulated.
How Much Does Crawl Space Encapsulation Cost?
The cost of crawl space encapsulation varies according to a variety of factors. The size of your crawl space, existing issues and addition of insulation can affect how much it will cost to have your crawl space encapsulated, for example. In most cases, the benefits gained from encapsulation far outweigh the initial investment. On average, you can expect to pay between $2,500 for a 1000 sq. ft. crawl space to $5,000 for a 2000 sq ft. crawl space. However, prices can vary depending on the size of your crawl space, or if the problems are a little more complex and require additional repairs or replacement of materials. In that case you might pay between $2,000 – $10,000.
To get a clearer idea of how much it will cost to protect your home with crawl space encapsulation, call Sedona Waterproofing Solutions at 704-960-7906 and arrange a free estimate today.