Crawl Space Encapsulation Code for North Carolina
Numerous studies have shown the benefits of sealing your crawl space. North Carolina has taken these studies seriously and has begun to mandate crawl space encapsulation for new construction.
Crawl space encapsulation is when your crawl space is completely sealed from outside elements. A thick vapor barrier is installed in addition to a drainage system, along with air tight vent covers and crawl space doors. This prevents air and water from entering your crawl space, which will lead to humidity problems.
Sealing your crawl space will:
Minimize invasions by bugs and rodents
Prevent mold and mildew
Reduce heating and cooling costs
Reduce allergy and asthma problems
According to North Carolina Building Code, the following crawl space encapsulation steps shall be taken:
Closed crawl spaces need to be protected from water entering the crawl space trough the dirt floor or ground.
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 shall be graded so that it drains to one or more low spots. Install a drain to daylight or sump pump at each low spot. Crawl space drains shall be kept separate from roof gutter drain systems and foundation perimeter drains."*
A termite inspection gap of 3 inches is required.
Closed crawl spaces need a method to dry them, like a dehumidifier. It's also recommended that the air be conditioned either by pumping in air from the living area or installing a conditioner.
*North Carolina Building Code. Retrieved from http://www.ncdoi.com/OSFM/Engineering/BCC/Documents/Minutes/
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