Your home is supposed to be a safe place, but do you know what is going on in your crawl space? Under your house can be a place for moisture, mold, and pests to live and thrive. Encapsulating your crawl space can prevent all of these disturbances and promote benefits, but many people don’t even know what it is. Here are the answers to questions you may have when deciding whether to encapsulate your crawl space or not.

What is encapsulation?

Encapsulation is the process of covering your entire crawl space in white plastic and installing a sump pump and dehumidifier. A sump pump pulls out water that may get into your crawl space and a dehumidifier lowers the humidity level in the crawl space. All the crevices, vents, and seams are sealed through encapsulation. Normally, when you encapsulate your crawl space, it comes with insulated foundation walls and band joists. That is to ensure everything is properly sealed from the outside.

What are the benefits of encapsulation?

Encapsulating your home can prevent mildew and mold from being produced and creating health risks for your family. Encapsulation allows for better air quality. Your home shares air with your crawl space. You want to have a clean crawl space and encapsulation allows for that. Encapsulation also benefits your wallet. Having your crawl space encapsulated helps it stay at a more consistent temperature throughout your house which will lower your energy bill and make you more comfortable in your home. Pests will stay away from that area if it is dry. Encapsulate your crawl space so when you go to check your water heater, there won’t be any surprises hiding down there. 

Why encapsulation?

Another option is sealing your crawl space. This is done by laying a vapor barrier, six millimeter plastic, throughout all of the crawl space. In this process, the vents aren’t completely sealed, so there is no need for a dehumidifier or sump pump. This cuts down on costs, but moisture can still come in. The risk of pests, mildew and mold is lower, but there is still a likely chance that these can occur. With encapsulation, there is no risk of these issues. Sealing may be cheaper up front, but encapsulation is worth it in the long run.

What should I do before encapsulation?

There are a few steps for you to take before encapsulation can happen. Start by looking for water or mold. Standing water near or in your crawl space means that you could have drainage problems and water can seep into your crawl space. If you notice standing water, contact a structural engineer or drainage company before pursuing encapsulation. Mold is another issue that will need to be cleaned up before encapsulation. Your crawl space should be thoroughly inspected so all the mold is cleaned out. While someone is down there working, it is also good to go ahead and check all your appliances. Encapsulating your crawl space with gases can allow those to backdraft into your house creating more issues. Most homes don’t have any issues, but checking helps prevent potential problems.

Encapsulating your crawl space adds value to your house and creates a better living situation. While you can do it on your own, the best results come from a professional. Encapsulation isn’t a simple process, but it can help you avoid foundation and health issues.

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