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Is it Neccesary for a Crawlspace to be Encapsulated for a Dry Crawlspace?

An encapsulated crawl space may be a vital part of the home.? When a crawl space is left unsealed, it can negatively affect the whole house because it is always damp. Often, this is an area that goes ignored by homeowners. However, it is important to consider the space and the reasons why it is best to encapsulate the area.

How a Crawl Space Affects the Home

As hot air rises throughout the house, cool air is sucked up from the crawl space. This will have a large effect on the air quality that residents breathe. When a crawl space goes ignored, gases may enter the home along with unwanted bugs and rodents. There may also be higher heating costs to deal with as well. Finally, structural damage may occur from rotting and mold in the area. This will be expensive to repair.

What Exactly is an Encapsulated Crawl Space

When a crawl space is encapsulated, it usually means that a vapor barrier has been installed over the walls and floors. Supports and plumbing are sealed as well. The entire process is meant to create a controlled environment.

Is it Necessary to Have an Encapsulated Crawl Space in the Home??

In past years, most contractors did not feel that it was necessary to encapsulate a crawl space. The traditional thought was to keep the area vented. However, these vents almost always caused the area to get wet and remain damp. In fact, contractors who were hired to waterproof these parts of the home would lay plastic on the floors and add drain tiles while maintaining the venting. No one viewed the vents as a problem. However, by 2005, people began to recognize the problem, and encapsulation became very common. In 2005, a building science research team studied what would happen when a crawl space was completely closed, waterproofed, and insulated. In effect, this made the space an additional part of the home. Results were extremely positive and proved that encapsulation would keep this part of the home dry. Due to this research, building codes were changed in favor of closing crawl spaces. Therefore, all new construction included encapsulated crawl spaces.

What Happens to Older Homes?

Even though new building practices encapsulate crawl spaces, it is important to understand how to treat existing homes with vents. Retrofitting contractors are now abundant and are hired to close crawl spaces. They treat the area like it is a true part of the home. Besides providing a dry area, there are other benefits that come with an encapsulated space. With the crawl space encapsulated, indoor air will be cleaner and fresher. Also, electric bills will be lowered, and every room will feel more comfortable. Overall, it will make a vast improvement within the house.

Is Encapsulation the End to Problems?

Encapsulating a crawl space is the last phase of creating a dry area. Before the area can be retrofitted, it is essential to solve any underlying water problems. If leaks or other water issues are not properly dealt with, closing vents and lining the space will only add to the problems by trapping water. However, after all water issues are resolved, and the space is encapsulated, everything will be dry and improved. Even though it was not always a common practice, encapsulating a crawl space and resolving all water issues will be necessary to ensure a dry place. After cracks are filled and leaks are fixed, the encapsulation process can begin. An encapsulated crawl space will improve the overall comfort level in the home, keep the space dry, lower electric bills, and make the air healthier to breathe.

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