- March 17, 2022
- No Comments
Before we get into the pros and cons of crawl space encapsulation, let’s go over quickly what it is and why you might need it. Crawl space encapsulation is the process of removing and or treating any water-damaged material in your crawl space, installing a water pressure relief system (interior french drain) and sump pump if needed, sealing any open crawl space vents, insulating your foundation walls/band board, and conditioning your crawl space by utilizing a ventilation device, a dehumidifier, or both. Beware, many companies claim to encapsulate crawl spaces but they leave out important parts costing homeowners money down the line.
Some symptoms of needing crawl space encapsulation are unpleasant smells or odors upstairs on hot humid days. Another symptom is cold floors above the crawl space on cold winter days. You might find out you need it because another contractor like an HVAC, pest, or plumbing professional noted that you have water seepage and puddles in your crawl space when performing repairs under your home. These issues can lead to mold and mildew growth, as well as window condensation, soft or separating flooring above the crawl space, and high heating and cooling costs.
Now we’ve gone over the basics, let’s look at the pros and cons of crawl space encapsulation.
Crawl Space Encapsulation Pros
There are many pros, or positives, to consider when it comes to crawl space encapsulation, including:
- Protects against structural damage
- Prevents moisture and condensation
- Deters pests from entering your crawl space and eventually your house
- Improves air quality and the overall health of your family
- Saves on energy bills
Protects Your Home
Prolonged exposure to water seepage and high humidity in your crawl space can damage the concrete foundation as well as the wooden joists or beams that support your floor. Properly installed drainage and encapsulation manage the groundwater in your crawl space.
Prevents Moisture Inside
Vapor barriers, paired with an exhaust fan and a dehumidifier, help to reduce humidity on the first floor of your home. This helps to reduce issues like separating floors, condensation on your windows, and mold and mildew on belongings and finishings.
An encapsulated crawl space can help to deter pests such as bugs and rodents from using your crawl space as a home and point of entry to the rest of your house. You might still have pests getting into your attic, garage, or crawl space but it will be more challenging for them to move into your crawl space after it’s encapsulated. Pests are attracted to humidity and standing water. Less moisture equals fewer pests!
Improves Air Quality and Health
A reduction in humidity automatically makes it easier to breathe. Crawl space encapsulation helps eliminate mold spores and mildew in your crawl space, which prevents it from being piped through your HVAC system. Managing the humidity and having the proper ventilation and dehumidification devices work wonders on pesky smells as well. It is important to note that air rises, so the air in your crawl space is most certainly making its way into your home. Your family is then breathing that air in making the condition of your crawl space important to your family’s health.
Lowers Utility Bills
Lower overall humidity means your air conditioning system doesn’t have to work so hard when warm weather arrives. Sealing open vents and insulating your crawl space keeps the cold air out in the winter as well as lowers your heating bills and allows you to put your fuzzy slippers in the closet for good! Both of these facts mean lower utility bills year over year in the summer and the winter!
Crawl Space Encapsulation Cons
There are several cons, or negatives to crawl space encapsulation to discuss, including:
- Unexpected Cost
- Need for professional installation
Crawl Space Encapsulation Cost
The biggest con or drawback of crawlspace encapsulation is the cost. You will need to pay for the removal of water-damaged materials, the installation of an interior pressure relief system and sump pump if needed, a vapor barrier and liner for the floor, insulation for the foundation walls and band board, as well as the conditioning and ventilating of the space.
It’s Not a DIY Job
To get all of the benefits of crawl space encapsulation, you need to hire a professional to do the job. That’s because they have the training and expertise to do the job right. If everything isn’t done exactly right, from the preparation to the installation, sealing of the vapor barrier, to the installation of the dehumidifier, the system won’t work as it should. And that’s a waste of time and money. For example, if you put in a liner without a drainage system underneath and your crawl space takes on water, you could have to redo the liner, spending double money.
In our experience, and the experience of our clients, the pros far outweigh the cons, but that is up for you to decide. You may want to do some additional reading so you’re fully informed.
Schedule a Free Crawl Space Inspection
If you have a wet crawlspace, it’s time to consider crawlspace encapsulation as a means to protect your home and family, as well as lower your utility bills. We offer a free inspection, and based on what we find, we give you a plan of action. If cost is a factor, we want to let you know that most of our clients are eligible for financing, including zero payments and no interest for 12 months.
We work with homeowners throughout Maryland, Northern Virginia, the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, the District of Columbia as well as parts of Delaware.