Crawl Space Encapsulation Pros and Cons

Your crawl space can store anything from utilities to bags of money (if you relate it to Walter White from Breaking Bad). A poorly maintained crawl space is unusable and a breeding ground for molds and numerous insects. So, as a responsible homeowner, you need to keep the space well-maintained. But, maintenance doesn’t come easy. Thus, you need to be familiar with Crawl Space Encapsulation Pros and Cons beforehand.

Your crawl space is an under-floor area that holds your utilities and pipes. You access this space through a piddly little hole in the floor, about 2 feet by 3 feet wide. There are no windows or other openings; only dirt fills the area. It's not like you're using it for much.

However, sometimes utility lines need to be moved or replaced, which means digging up the floor of your home to get to them. If they do this, all kinds of mud fall into the crawl space due to construction work–and any moisture seeping up from below, which happens almost constantly, making this mud stays put.

When was the last time you checked beneath your house to see what condition your crawl space is in? This is one of the last areas that most homeowners want to explore. It can be infested with insects, mice, or spiders, and you have no way of knowing who may be there when you open things up. It must be the time you need to check the space.

What are Crawl Space Encapsulation Pros?

If you have ever been outside or just in a warm room, then you have felt that distinctly uncomfortable feeling of being sweaty and clammy. This is because the air around us holds body moisture which can get trapped by an object. There are several crawl space encapsulation pros you might want to consider and do the needful.

1. Encapsulating the crawl space increases indoor air quality

The amount of air in the crawl space has a much closer connection to indoor air quality than you may have realized. This is because when dirt and other particles are disturbed in this area, they are kicked up into the living areas of your home through tiny cracks in the foundation or gaps under doors. You can't always see these cracks, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

2. Riddance of insects is one of the Space Crawl Space Encapsulation Pros

Crawl spaces are notorious for being infested with spiders, centipedes, etc. They are attracted to this area because it is warm year-round, especially in southern and darker areas. Besides that, some bugs don't seem to have any problem with making their homes directly beneath your bedrooms or living rooms. So, if you don't want to see an insect crawling under your bed-sheet someday, it's better to check the crawl space of your building.

3. Better Air circulation in the crawl space

Did you know that the crawl space is essentially a part of your home's heating and cooling system? As hot or cool outdoor air enters your HVAC, it passes through this area as well as any other part of your basement.

4. Adds R-Value To Your Crawl Space Without Removing Existing Structure

This point can be a little hard to understand without taking into account what 'R-value' means. Simply put, it measures how sound material resists heat transfer. So when you add an encapsulation system like foam insulation to your crawl space, it provides this function while also protecting your home from other problems. And a healthy home is also the main attraction of buyers.

5. Allows For More Efficient HVAC Operation

It's not just your indoor air quality that can be improved with crawl space encapsulation and foam insulation, but also the efficiency of your heating and cooling system.

Various studies have proved that when a home is adequately insulated, it requires less energy to heat and cool the living environment.

What are Crawl Space Encapsulation Cons?

But, there are cons to consider. There is a large amount of work involved with the encapsulation process. Often, even professionals face difficulties dealing with an old space and charge you heavily for maintenance. It’s better to go through crawl space encapsulation cons in advance to avoid some, if not all the scenarios.

1. Costs Money

As with most home improvement projects, there always seems to be a cost associated. This case is the initial price of the crawl space encapsulation system and any labor fees. If you have a larger house or very generous friends or family members, these costs may still be worth it for you.

2. It doesn’t guarantee 100% Protection from Water or Moisture

Even though crawl space encapsulations systems effectively prevent water infiltration, they cannot make your crawl space 100% waterproof. For example, if you have an external drainage system built into your home's foundation, there is still a risk. The water may be able to collect near the walls of your basement or lower levels.

3. Less effective if the floor is not made waterproof

One way around this disadvantage of crawl space encapsulation is to install an internal drainage system. By ensuring that any excess moisture in the ground gets removed as quickly as possible, so it does not settle underneath your house, you are adding an extra layer of defense against water damage. This commonly overlooked problem often results in major crawl space encapsulation cons.

4. It’s a dirty job

Since you have just added a layer of insulation and protection to this area of your home, there will probably be some large piles of dirt or dust on your crawl space floor when all is said and done.

You may need to enlist the help of friends or family members so you do not accidentally hurt yourself while trying to sweep up debris with no protective gear on. Also, bear in mind it will take at least one full day for workers to completely encapsulate your crawl space.

5. Increased Temperatures can be rare crawl space encapsulation cons

If you live in an area where the summer temperatures are unbearably hot, this factor may also be important to you. It has been shown that when a crawl space is encapsulated and insulated with spray foam, it can raise the temperature by as much as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Conclusion on pros and cons of encapsulating crawl space

The benefits and drawbacks of crawl space encapsulation are determined by the specifics of your property. A barrier is sometimes required due to humidity, vermin, or both, which lowers the air quality you breathe within. Rodents and insects can start to damage the structure of your home if there is no barrier in place.

The benefits of crawl space encapsulation and foam insulation are many but depend on your personal preferences. If you live in an area where the summer temperatures are unbearably hot, this factor may also be important to you.

Crawl Space Encapsulation Pros and Cons

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should you not encapsulate a crawl space?

A crawl space that is not encapsulated may bring mold, mildew, and other pollutants into your living area. In addition, contaminated air may make your home's interior unpleasant to dwell in while also posing a risk to your health.

Is crawl space encapsulation a good idea?

Encapsulation of crawl spaces can help you breathe better, increase your energy efficiency, and avoid damage to your property. In addition, the plastic layer and a dehumidifier can prevent moisture from accumulating in the confined space and prevent mold and mildew from developing.

What are the cons of encapsulating a crawl space?

Moisture that seeps into the crawl space can be challenging to remove from its confined area. Hence, if you encapsulate your crawl space, be sure to install a dehumidifier and check it regularly. In addition, after installation is completed, avoid parking cars in the affected areas or using appliances that release heat in these spaces.

How long does crawl space encapsulation last?

Encapsulating a crawl space is only effective when you take proper care of it over time. As such, be sure to check your dehumidifier and vent the area properly in case mold or mildew develops. In most cases, a crawlspace encapsulation project will come with a 15-to-20-year warranty. On the other hand, a well-encapsulated crawlspace might endure for more than 20 years if the humidity levels are kept under control and no terrible events such as flooding occur.

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