Sealing & Insulating a Vented Crawl space
Put an end to cold floors and problems with mold, moisture and high utility costs
Smart solution. The encapsulation process transforms a damp, dirty crawl space into a clean, dry foundation that improves home comfort, energy efficiency and value.
In a vented crawl space, small openings in the foundation walls provide pathways for exterior air, insects and other pests to enter the confined space beneath your living area. If your house has a vented crawl space, you could be facing problems that affect comfort, health, energy efficiency and home value.
Vented crawl space problems
- Moisture & mold. Humid outside air that enters the crawl space condenses on cooler crawl space surfaces. Joists, beams and other wood materials attract mold when they are damp. Left untreated, mold can eventually lead to wood rot, causing serious structural damage that’s expensive to repair. A crawl space with a dirt floor will have more severe moisture problems because of soil moisture.
- Termites & carpenter ants. Unfortunately, these two insect groups seek out damp, dark environments where moist wood is present. A vented crawl space can provide a perfect habitat for these wood-boring pests.
- Damaged, nonfunctional insulation. A vented crawl space often has fiberglass batt insulation installed between joists in the crawl space. When this cotton-like material gets wet, it compresses and falls out of place, often ending up on the crawl space floor (see photo).
- Cold floors and high utility bills. In the winter, cold outside air circulating directly beneath your living space can make floors chilly, forcing you to pay more to heat your house. Damaged fiberglass insulation (mentioned above) often plays a role in these comfort & energy problems.
The solution: Crawl space encapsulation & insulation Fortunately, all the problems described above can be eliminated by having a vented crawl space sealed and insulated. This specialized treatment is often referred to as crawl space encapsulation. During the encapsulation process, all crawl space access doors and vent openings are sealed with airtight removable covers. Heavy-duty moisture barriers are installed against foundation walls and over the floor. Waterproofing and dehumidification may be required in some cases as well. Rigid foam insulation, installed against foundation walls, completes the process of totally separating the crawl space interior from exterior conditions. Instead of a dark, damp space that causes comfort, energy and durability problems, an encapsulated crawl space can be a positive feature that enhances comfort and home value.