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Crawl Space Encapsulation

If you are like most people, you don’t give your crawl space a second thought. Until you have a problem, that is. Whether it is rotting wood or foundation issues that can be hazardous for your house, mold that can be hazardous to your health or infestations of pests that can just be plain annoying, crawl space problems can have a negative impact on your quality of life. That is where crawl space encapsulation comes in. Contact the crawl space experts at Tar Heel Foundation Solutions to schedule a crawl space inspection.

Signs You Need Crawl Space Encapsulation

Do You Smell a Musty Odor in Your Home?

Visualization of the crawl space encapsulation

Have you ever found yourself asking, “What is that smell” when you enter your home? Is it a musty, wet odor? Have you noticed extra moisture in and around your home’s foundation or crawl space?

Chances are that if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then you have unwanted moisture in your home’s crawl space. If this issue is not addressed and resolved, you could be exposing your family to respiratory and health issues along with putting your home at risk for structural and foundation problems.

Cracks In Your Crawl Space

If you don’t go into your crawl space, you may not even know you have cracks, until it turns into a bigger problem. Cracks in the walls and floors of your crawl space can allow moisture and pests into your home.

It takes a crack no bigger than a hair to allow water in and some pests need less than a 1/8″ crack to invade your crawl space.

If you have items stored in the crawl space, they may receive water damage or mold damage. The Moisture attracts pests such as cockroaches, ants, and mice, further damaging your home.

Wood Rot in Your Crawl Space

crawl space encapsulation

If your crawl space has excess moisture, the wooden portions of your home’s supports may succumb to wood rot. Wood rot can weaken and damage your supports, leading to buckled or sinking floors, leaning walls, and doors or windows that don’t shut or open correctly. Wood rot attracts some insects, speeding up the destruction of the support of your home.

Mold and Mildew

There are many health issues related to mold in homes. They can range from runny noses and itchy eyes to neurological damage and even death. Children and older adults are usually more susceptible to mold and mildew reactions, but anyone can experience problems associated with the spores. The majority of your home’s air comes from the crawl space, so if you smell a musty odor, you most likely are breathing in mold spores.

Public health officials endorse crawl space vapor barriers as a key step in protecting your family from the health hazards of mold.

Other Symptoms of Crawl Space Moisture

  • Condensation on air conditioning ductwork or equipment
  • Condensation on insulation, water pipes
  • Buckled hardwood floors
  • High humidity in the living area
  • Insect infestations

In most cases, the problems show up during the spring and summer due to the increase in humidity.

What is Crawl Space Encapsulation?

Crawl space encapsulation is the process of fully covering your crawlspace (or basement!) with sheeting called a vapor barrier.

Vapor barriers are made of puncture-resistant material that keeps out any water or moisture that might accumulate.

They are part of a successful crawl space or basement waterproofing system. The vapor barrier prevents water from entering through the floors and walls of your crawlspace, contributing to keeping it dry.

Read more about crawl space encapsulation as part of a home waterproofing plan.

Regulations Concerning Crawl Space Encapsulation

Just because the most prevalent time for issues to arise is in the humid spring and summer, does not mean that the problems are not there year-round. Most of us think that when we have a moisture problem, then we must have a heating or air problem. This is not true, as the problem is poor ventilation in your home’s crawl space.

There are many benefits to sealing your crawl space. In fact, in North Carolina, the code for new construction mandates crawl space encapsulation. Crawl space encapsulation completely seals the area from the outside. According to the North Carolina Building Code, new construction needs to meet these guidelines:

  • A termite inspection gap of 3 inches is required by the code.
  • Closed crawl spaces need a method to dry them, such as a dehumidifier.
    • The code recommends that the air be conditioned either by pumping in air from the living area or installing a conditioner.
  • Closed crawl spaces need to be protected from water entering the crawl space through the dirt floor or ground (encapsulation).
  • Full coverage with ground vapor retarders for all wall vented crawl spaces is required. Wall vented crawl spaces shall be protected from water entry by the evaporation of water from the ground surface.
  • The floor of the crawl space should be graded so that it drains to one or more low spots.
    • Install a drain to daylight or a sump pump at each low spot.
    • Crawl space drains shall be kept separate from roof gutter drain systems and foundation perimeter drains.
    • Combining encapsulation with a drainage system will help protect the area from humid air and water.

Benefits of a Dry, Sealed Crawlspace

By sealing your crawl space, you can benefit from:

  • Preventing infestations from bugs, rodents, and other pests
  • Reduced allergens and other causes of breathing problems and asthma-related symptoms
  • Minimize mold and mildew growth
  • Lowered heating and cooling bills

It was long believed that the best way to vent your home was with outside air, but it has been proven that it causes more problems.

Recent studies now show that when the humid air comes into play with your vent system, it creates a bigger moisture problem.

Contractors are turning to a new method of waterproofing for your crawl space. It is a system that uses no outside vents, has a water drainage system and a ground vapor barrier or crawlspace encapsulation North Carolina and South Carolina homes need that has improved moisture control while being energy efficient.

We can also repair any structural damage that moisture has already caused in your crawl space.

 Give Tar Heel Foundation Solutions a call today to set up an appointment for a free consultation for your Crawl Space.

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