The term “Crawl Space Encapsulation” has been around for more than a century. Interpretations of the term have varied over the years, but the accepted definition of an Encapsulated Crawl Space is one that uses a Vapor barrier to cover the Crawl space’s floor and walls, and protect the space from Damaging moisture (Humidity).
An open, Non-Encapsulated Crawl Space poses a few problems, the biggest of which is the fact that it’s an uncontrolled environment. This means that the temperature and humidity level can change daily, sometimes hourly, depending on external factors (i.e. weather). By Encapsulating your Crawl Space, you’re gaining control of its environment and thus converting it into a Conditioned area that benefits your home and family in terms of better health and cleanliness.
Creating an Encapsulated Crawl Space involves installing a durable horizontal Vapor Barrier on the Crawl Space “floor”, along with vertical Vapor Barrier that extend up the Foundation walls. These Vapor Barriers are composed of top-quality polyethylene Plastic with different thickness options of your choice. The vertical Barriers are sealed (taped) to the horizontal Barrier. Everything in the area is also sealed: namely, any supports, as well as plumbing coming through the walls and dirt. Next, a two-sided foundation tape or polyurethane caulk is applied between the Crawl Space Vapor Barrier and the Foundation wall. This ensures that the moisture under the barrier is sealed. The barrier’s superior materials ensure that it can sustain Crawl Space traffic without tearing like normal low grade plastic.
- When you Encapsulate your Crawl Space, 100% of the ground and Foundation walls are covered in a Crawl Space Encapsulating Vizqueen of Your choice.
- All the seams, junctions and Crawl Space vents within your Crawl Space are totally sealed.
- Encapsulation usually comes with Insulated Foundation walls and band joist.
- With Encapsulation you are required to have one of the three air conditioning methods: (i) Dehumidifier (this is what is normally used) (ii) A Register vent which lets a small amount of conditioned air supply from HVAC system (ii) A Easy Breathe Unit.
Having an Encapsulated Crawl Space comes with many benefits, the greatest one (in our opinion) being, better air quality and Controlled Humidity. Studies show that you share 40%-60% of the air you breathe, with your Crawl Space. So you want a clean conditioned Crawl Space. With Encapsulating your Crawl Space you also save money on your energy bill! The Advanced Energy studies have found nearly 20% reduction in energy use in homes with a conditioned Crawl Space. Having an Encapsulated Crawl Space will reduce the humidity in your Home and Crawl Space as well, decreasing your potential for Mold problems exponentially.
A Vapor barrier installation is the process of laying down 10-20mm plastic throughout your entire Crawl Space floor. The vents to your Crawl Space are not sealed, therefore you are not required to have a Dehumidifier installed. A Vapor barrier installation does not require a Sump Pump to be installed either. Sometimes your home may need a Sump Pump as well, but that’s dependent on your Crawl Space conditions.
Facts about Vapor Barrier:
- With a Vapor Barrier installment, we use 10-20mm Vapor barrier material , also known as visqueen. The reason for that specific type is because that is what building code requires.
- Vapor barrier installations average a quarter of the price of a full Encapsulation
- Does not require Sump Pump or any air conditioning methods.
Benefits of Vapor Barrier:
The benefits of installing a Vapor barrier are similar but not the same as Encapsulation. With a Vapor barrier install you can still store things in your Crawl Space, it’s just not a Conditioned Space as Encapsulation is. Vapor Barrier benefits you and your home with better air quality, saving you money on your energy bill (the same 20% that the Advanced Energy studies found), and a small reduction in Humidity decreasing your potential for mold problems exponentially.