Moisture and humidity are easily created and trapped in the crawl area, particularly during the warm spring and summer months. Damage to the piers and floor, as well as health risks for the residents above, might result from inadequate insulation.
Enclosing the crawl space is a long-term, permanent solution to the issue. Learn the benefits and drawbacks of enclosing your crawl area.
By sealing off the crawl area, you prevent moisture from accumulating in the soil on the floor, the walls, and the upper level of your home. Step one is installing a vapor barrier in the crawl area by covering the floor and walls with reinforced polyethylene.
This barrier blocks the path of groundwater, ensuring that it cannot reach the subfloor. The openings are then sealed so that no moist air may enter. Crawl space walls may now be insulated to increase their heat resistance. At last, a dehumidifier is put in place to forcefully remove humidity from the crawl area.
Let’s take a look at why enclosing your crawl area could be important as well as the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.
Benefits of Enclosing Your Crawl Space
There are several upsides to enclosing a crawl space. The major benefits of encapsulating a crawl area to reduce moisture and humidity are as follows:
Saves Money on Heating and Cooling
When a crawl space is encapsulated, a thick layer of insulation is added to the inside of the area’s walls. In addition, there is some insulation between the ground and the floor thanks to the vapor barrier. The crawl space and the floor above it are protected from the cold in the winter and the heat in the summer thanks to the insulation.
The HVAC system will not have to work as hard to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature when passive insulation has been installed. If you use your air conditioner less often, you may save money on your utility costs.
Enhances the Quality of Air Inside
Crawl area air is a major contributor to the air quality within the home. Crawl space encapsulation is a simple method for bettering indoor air quality. Crawl space encapsulation filters the air between the crawl area and the rest of the home, removing contaminants and excess moisture.
By reducing exposure to allergens, dust, and pathogen-laden water vapor, improved air quality benefits human health. It’s good for your mental and emotional health, too. For instance, low quality indoor air is strongly associated with the Sick Building Syndrome (SBS).
Drawbacks of Enclosing a crawl space
Dark, damp, and humid environments are ideal for the growth of mold and other fungus like lichen and mildew. Fungi may easily colonize an unfinished basement or crawl area. However, if the crawl area is kept dry and well ventilated, mold will not be able to thrive there.
A mold problem in any section of the home is serious and should not be ignored. The musty smell that mold produces is just the beginning of the issues it causes.
Dust-like spores and other micro-toxins produced by mold during its growth may trigger allergic responses and respiratory diseases in susceptible individuals. Furthermore, mold decomposes or withers whatever it grows on because it eats it.
Drives Away Pests
Crawl areas may be attractive to insects and rodents including roaches, beetles, crickets, rats, and moles. They thrive in the low-light, high-humidity, dirty, rent-free setting. These uninvited visitors are capable of spreading dangerous illnesses and engaging in other forms of mayhem.
Crawl space encapsulation prevents unwanted pest invasions by sealing off the area from animals. Because it is a common hiding and breeding ground for insects like roaches and ants, shutting up the crawl space may be an effective method of pest management.
Maintains the Building’s Stability
The general strength of the home might be jeopardized by a buildup of moisture in the crawl space, which can damage the piers and foundation. Wooden, metal, or concrete beams supporting the floor or the rest of the building may rot when exposed to moisture, mildew, and insects.
Crawl space encapsulation avoids this problem.
Makes the Floor More Durable and Comfortable
Wooden floors are especially vulnerable to moisture damage in a home’s subterranean area. Wooden flooring that has been damaged by moisture requires costly repairs or replacement.
In addition, throughout the winter months, the uncarpeted floor is insufferably cold due to the lack of insulation in the crawl area. The lifetime of the floor is increased and it is kept warm without underfloor heating by enclosing the crawl area.
Does enclosing a crawl area have any drawbacks?
Since it’s a significant alteration, there is the potential for high costs. Crawl space encapsulation averages about $5,500 but may cost as much as $15,000. Additional care may also lead to higher home maintenance expenditures.
When a crawl space is sealed off, it cannot be used for anything else, including storage. However, the advantages of encapsulation greatly exceed the drawbacks and more than compensate for the price.
Should You Enclose Your Crawl Space?
Should we shut off the crawl space? Enclosing a crawl space is a convenient upgrade, but it’s not mandatory. However, it is the only way to eliminate the crawl space’s inherent problems of humidity, vermin, mildew, and bad air quality.
The home will be healthier, safer, and more pleasant to live in as a result.
Does Enclosing a Crawl Space Improve a Home’s Value?
Should I pay to have my crawl area sealed off? In a word, yes. Enclosing the crawl area has several advantages, and it also increases the property’s worth. The value increase by encapsulating a crawl area, if any, is difficult to quantify. However, an enclosed crawl room is highly valued by appraisers and may make or break a sale.
When Should You Think About Enclosing Your Crawl Space?
- If your crawl space is causing problems, you should consider enclosing it. Some warning signals that the crawl space needs to be sealed are as follows:
- Spots of mold and mildew keep reappearing.
- Heating and cooling costs are on the rise.
- The air conditioner/heater/what have you is running nonstop.
- Condensation and wetness are a problem outside the home.
- Sounds of chirping and squeaking may be heard from below.
- Crawl space piers and walls show traces of water damage.
- There is a musty odor coming from the subfloor.
- But as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. When these symptoms first appear, the humidity or infestation issue may already be severe enough that encapsulation won’t be enough to solve it. Do not put off encapsulating the crawl space until something goes wrong.
When Will It Wear Off?
Enclosing a crawl space may extend its useful life by a decade or more. However, there are moisture and vapor barriers that have a 20-year lifespan guarantee.
The longevity of the encapsulation may also be affected by the caliber of the materials used, the thoroughness with which the area was cleaned and prepared, the skill of the encapsulate as a whole, and the regularity with which maintenance is performed.
Enclosing your crawl area is a simple and inexpensive solution to protect and improve your property. Encapsulation not only increases the property’s value, but also makes the home more energy efficient and resistant to damage from moisture, such as mold and rot.
In addition to making the home more pleasant and secure to live in, this feature boosts residents’ quality of life.
Crawl space encapsulation may seem like a waste of money or an unnecessary expense, but the long-term advantages are substantial and in some cases incalculable.
Once the work is done, it requires very little upkeep; an annual check of the crawl area is all that’s required to make sure the seals are still in good shape.