Crawl Spaces 31

Why Your Home Needs a Crawlspace Vapor Barrier or Crawlspace Encapsulation

Moisture Control

Did you know that 33-56 percent of the air that you breathe inside your home originates in your crawlspace? Most people are surprised by that statistic, but it is very true. Although Encapsulating your crawlspace is the best option to take in order to make your home healthier and more energy efficient, installing a vapor barrier can also help astronomically improve air quality.

There have been numerous studies on homes with open vent/dirt crawlspaces across the southern United States. The studies performed have shown six highly common issues in these homes with open vent/dirt crawlspaces. The main issues listed below can be harmful to your homes structure, your finances and possibly your health.

Call Today, to see what it would take to make your crawlspace healthy!

The first issue homes with a vented crawlspace will face is high moisture. The old theory on building vented crawlspaces was to ‘air’ the crawlspace out because builders knew there would be water evaporation from the ground with a dirt floor crawlspace. Classic wisdom was to open the vents in the summer to air the crawlspace out and close in the winter to keep the cold air out. Unfortunately vented dirt crawlspaces simply don’t make sense. In the summer heat, humid air is entering the crawlspace and then condensing from the drop in temperature, which raises the relative humidity, leading to water rot and fungal growth.

Depending on cold dry air in the winter is also not effective. The ground in your crawlspace is warmer than the air in the winter, which then creates fog, leading again to increased moisture. The cold air brought in will never reach the low humidity level needed to dry the crawlspace. Opening the air vents to let cold dry air in during the winter also leads to cold floors, higher energy bills, increased possibility of frozen pipes and makes an easy access point for rodents and other pests.

The second issue homes face is that high moisture in the crawlspace inevitably leads to fungal and mold growth. Fungal growth and mold spores can wreak havoc on your home, rotting the wood, making it more susceptible to termites and dust mites.

Fungal and mold growth leads to the third issue, as there is a strong association between building moisture and detrimental health effects. Fungal growth, mold, and dust mites are all major contributors to asthma, allergies, irritants, and toxic substances known as mycotoxins.

A moist, dark crawlspace is an open invitation to pests and rodents, making your crawlspace environment even unhealthier. Pests and rodents love a moist, dark crawl space but they can cause havoc on the insulation, air ducts, and wood structures.

It is estimated that at least 33% of the air in your living space is directly from your crawlspace. This estimate can be as high as 56% in some homes. This is because of the fifth and sixth issues commonly found in crawlspaces. There are measurable holes and air gaps between nearly all crawlspaces and living areas.

The holes and gaps between your living area and the crawlspace allow transmission of forced air. This air carries the fungal spores, allergens, dust mites, mycotoxins, etc. from your crawlspace to your living environment. This is why improving the condition of your crawlspace helps improve the quality and cleanliness of the air in your home.

Crawlspace Vapor Barrier

crawlspace-vapor-barrier
An adequate vapor barrier is essential to a healthy crawlspace. If your home lacks a proper vapor barrier in the crawlspace it is almost guaranteed that you have a moisture problem, which means it is also likely there is fungal growth. NC Building Code now requires 100% coverage of the crawlspace floor with a minimum of a 6 mil plastic. If you don’t a plastic barrier installed, or if it is too thin, then it is time to upgrade. WP Restoration highly suggests upgrading to at least a 10 mil plastic so it lasts longer. Whether you just need a basic vapor barrier installed or an upgraded one that extends up the walls and piers we are here to work for you.

Crawlspace Encapsulation

Crawlspace Encapsulation

WP Restoration highly recommends our top tier encapsulation system which will offer homeowners a superior shield against moisture, mold, water rot, and pests. WP Restoration will come to your home and inspect your current crawlspace conditions at no cost to you. The inspection includes but is not limited to: moisture readings of the wood, relative humidity readings, assessment of areas causing energy loss, plumbing issues, HVAC issues, microbial growth, pest and rodent concerns, water drainage issues, and more.

Once we complete a thorough assessment of your crawlspace, including photos, we then sit down with you to go over options and explain our process in its entirety so you understand our product and quality focus. The system we use includes a minimum of a 15 mil vapor barrier to ensure the best longest lasting coverage. If deemed necessary by the inspection, we will also install a dehumidifier to maintain ideal air conditions, as well as a sump pump.

To prevent mold in your home, contact the experts at WP Restoration to get a quote on a crawlspace encapsulation today!

It would be crazy to think of building a home without a roof, yet thousands of homes exist without properly designed crawlspaces that keep ground moisture from destroying their home from the bottom up. Sometimes people are hesitant to properly repair issues in their crawlspace because they don’t understand the benefits. Proper crawl space encapsulation has many benefits, including but not limited to the following:

  • Proven to lower moisture readings below mold supporting levels, eliminating fungal growth, allergens, and mycotoxins
  • Drastically lowers allergens and irritants present in the homes living areas
  • Helps preserve your home’s foundation from rot
  • Reduces HVAC energy usage on annual bases, saving homeowners an estimated 15% to 20% in energy bills
  • Deters pests from living in your crawlspace
  • Makes it a usable, conditioned room for storage if space allows.

Encapsulating a crawlspace is the process of completely sealing your crawlspace to protect it from moisture and outside air temperatures. When encapsulating, a vapor barrier is installed, completely covering the floor, walls, and piers (as allowable by code). If there are existing drainage issues then a sump pump will be installed along with drain mats before the vapor barrier is placed. Open vents along with any foundation cracks and holes are sealed and the crawlspace walls are insulated using a high energy-efficient thermal insulation board. Encapsulation also requires the air to be conditioned, ideally using a dehumidifier. Depending on the issues present in each individual crawlspace, there may be other steps to complete before we can adequately Encapsulate.