The Ultimate Guide to Crawl Space Encapsulation

Be honest with yourself: when was the last time you gave any thought to your crawl space? If it’s been a while, you’re not alone! Homeowners tend to ignore their crawl space until issues arise that can sometimes cost thousands of dollars to fix. Fortunately, crawl space encapsulation can help eliminate these common moisture problems, keeping your home safe from damage. 

What is crawl space encapsulation, exactly? And why should you consider it for your home? We’ve got all the answers you need. Dive into this detailed guide to learn everything you need to know!

What Is Crawl Space Encapsulation?

In the simplest terms, crawl space encapsulation involves adding a heavy-duty plastic vapor barrier to the floor and walls of your crawl space to keep moisture out. In some cases, you may also opt to install a dehumidifier to further control moisture levels in the space. 

The length of the project largely depends on the size of your crawl space but in most cases, we can complete the job in just a few days. 

crawl space encapsulation

What Happens During the Encapsulation Process?

Before you decide to schedule an encapsulation for yourself, it helps to understand what you can expect during the process. 

Preparation

When you hire the Green Frog Waterproofing team, we’ll come out to your home and clear out your crawl space. This is when we’ll remove dirt and debris and check your existing insulation for damage. If there’s any existing water damage in the area, we’ll resolve it before moving forward.

Installation

Next, we’ll install the vapor barrier, which will cover the walls and floor of your crawl space. This polyethylene material is not only waterproof, but it also helps improve the air quality in your home and keeps out rodents and other critters. Once we lay out the barrier, we’ll secure it with double-sided tape. 

Sealing

The final step involves cutting the barrier around any obstacles, like pillars. If there are any gaps, we’ll fill them with foam spray or additional sealing tape. Once we’re finished sealing the area, we may make extra recommendations, such as adding a dehumidifier to the space.

What Are the Benefits of Crawl Space Encapsulation?

So, do you really need to encapsulate your crawl space? Here are a few benefits to consider when making your decision. 

Your Home Will Be More Comfortable

With a vented crawl space, your home will feel hotter in the summer and colder in the winter. By encapsulating the space, external weather conditions won’t have as much of an effect on your indoor temperature. 

Your Electricity Bills May Decrease

Along those same lines, you may notice lower utility bills after your encapsulation. Your heating and cooling system won’t have to work as hard to keep your home comfortable to compensate for fluctuating temperatures caused by your crawl space, helping to reduce your bill. 

You Won’t Find as Many Pests in Your Home

Finding creepy crawlies in your home is always an unsettling experience. They’re naturally drawn to wet, dark spaces, which is why they come into your crawl space. Since encapsulation removes moisture, fewer pests will make their way to your home. 

You Won’t Have to Worry About Mold

Much like pests, mold needs damp spaces to thrive. By encapsulating your crawl space, mold won’t be able to grow and you won’t have to worry about the respiratory issues that often plague families with a moldy crawl space. 

Your Home Will Be More Structurally Sound

The wet soil in a crawl space can weaken your home’s foundation over time. When you encapsulate the space, the soil around your foundation will stay dry, which aids in the structural integrity of your home. 

Eliminate Crawl Space Issues Before They Get Worse

Now that you’ve learned everything there is to know about crawl space encapsulation, it’s time to get your project on the books before moisture damages your home. Here at Green Frog Waterproofing, we would be more than happy to give you a free estimate for your project so you can start planning for it. Contact our team today to get started.

The #1 Enemy of your Crawl Space is …

How can I have mold in my crawl space? I know I don’t have a water problem down there.

This is a common response from homeowners when told that they have a mold problem. Visible standing water is one obvious sign of wet crawl space. But the most common enemy of the crawl space is less visible and less obvious: High Humidity.

High humidity causes significant problems in your crawl space.
90% (pictured here) is extremely high.

If you live in the South and you have a crawl space, you need to be aware of the humidity situation in your crawl space. Humid outdoor air, poor air circulation, and the presence of other water sources often create an environment in which the humidity in the crawl space is higher than the humidity outdoors!

Our rule of thumb is that you want your humidity level to be below 60%. High humidity levels can cause the following:

Elevated Wood Moisture Levels: levels above 16% can lead to mold growth, wood rot, and structural damage.
Mold Growth: Mold thrives in humid environments.
Insulation Failure: Insulation absorbs moisture like a sponge. Wet insulation decreases in R value and eventually becomes so weighted down with excess water that it falls to the floor.
Pest Activity: Like mold, rodents and insects enjoy dark, humid environments.

High humidity leads to high wood moisture levels.
This wood is at 17% and has visible fungal growth.
Poor Indoor Air Quality: 40%-50% of the air you breathe on your first floor originates in your crawl space.
How can I have mold in my crawl space? I know I don’t have a water problem down there. 

This is a common response from homeowners when told that they have a mold problem. Visible standing water is one obvious sign of wet crawl space. But the most common enemy of the crawl space is less visible and less obvious: High Humidity. 

If you live in the South and you have a crawl space, you need to be aware of the humidity situation in your crawl space. Humid outdoor air, poor air circulation, and the presence of other water sources often create an environment in which the humidity in the crawl space is higher than the humidity outdoors!

Our rule of thumb is that you want your humidity level to be below 60%. High humidity levels can cause the following:

  • Elevated Wood Moisture Levels: levels above 16% can lead to mold growth, wood rot, and structural damage.
  • Mold Growth: Mold thrives in humid environments.
  • Insulation Failure: Insulation absorbs moisture like a sponge. Wet insulation decreases in R value and eventually becomes so weighted down with excess water that it falls to the floor.
  • Pest Activity: Like mold, rodents and insects enjoy dark, humid environments.
  • Poor Indoor Air Quality: 40%-50% of the air you breathe on your first floor originates in your crawl space.
  • Musty Smells: If you aren’t sure what that smell is, there’s a good chance it is coming from your crawl space.
The good news is that humidity in your crawl space can be controlled! Visit our website to learn more about solution options or to schedule a free inspection from our experts.

If you aren’t sure what that smell is, there’s a good chance it is coming from your crawl space.
The good news is that humidity in your crawl space can be controlled! Visit our website to learn more about solution options or to schedule a free inspection from our experts.

Sump Pump Installation

When installed improperly a sump pump can be a source of humidity, foul odors, and mold rather than a solution. Here are three ways that this sump pump is installed improperly.

  1. No lid. A proper sump basin has a lid which serves multiple purposes. 1) A lid prevents the basin water from evaporating back into your crawl space and eventually being absorbed by your insulation and floor joist. 2) A lid helps ensure a clean environment for the sump pump. Notice the dirtiness of the water and the inside of the green basin. 3) A lid is also a safety mechanism to prevent Barky or Meow from falling in. Sadly, while performing a routine inspection, one of our technicians found a customer’s puppy that had been missing for months. 
  2. Five-gallon bucket, rather than a proper sump pump basin. There are several models that will get the job done, but the typical basin is about twice the depth and four times the volume of this five-gallon bucket.
  3. No holes to allow ground water to enter basin. In a crawl space environment it is most effective to drill holes around the basin to allow ground water to enter the basin and then be pumped out. The only water entering this basin is being pumped through tubes (black 1″ tube above) from a dehumidifier. Notice the ground surrounding this sump basin is wet and muddy because the ground water has no way of entering the basin.
Visit our website to learn more about sump pumps, crawl space waterproofing, and basement waterproofing. Or contact us to schedule a free inspection of your home.