A crawlspace is a hollow area under your home that creates a barrier between your first floor and the earth below it. Crawlspaces have long been used because of their convenience. They eliminate the need to level the dirt and build the home on a concrete slab, which makes the building process easier and less expensive. Crawlspaces also offer a place to put your HVAC equipment and plumbing. However, because crawlspaces have vents where moisture and pests can enter, they can be a problem unless you invest in crawlspace encapsulation.
Crawlspace encapsulation involves sealing the walls, floor, and ceiling of your crawlspace with a heavy-duty moisture barrier, often made of polyethylene plastic. This barrier prevents the ground moisture from evaporating into your crawlspace and the outside air from entering, making for a more controlled, dry environment that is not conducive to pest infestations and moisture-related problems.
Although it is very useful, crawlspace encapsulation is much more effective when coupled with insulation. Particularly, spray foam insulation can go a long way in completely sealing off the space and nearly eliminating the risk of moisture.
With crawlspace encapsulation, you can avoid the following:
- Mold- Crawlspaces that are not properly sealed off are an invitation for mold growth because it is dark and damp in there. Mold not only poses a threat to your home’s structural integrity, but it also triggers respiratory issues like allergies and asthma.
- Radon Gas- When your crawlspace has a dirt floor that isn’t encapsulated, radon can move up through the soil and enter your crawlspace, allowing the gas to enter your home from below. This gas can cause lung cancer, according to the EPA, so it’s important to avoid it.
- Pests- Pests are attracted to moisture, so by encapsulating your crawlspace, you discourage them from entering your home and bothering you.