Encapsulating your crawl space will help you protect it from the worst of Virginia precipitation. If you’re from the Virginia area, you know how essential that kind of protection can be – especially if you intend to use your crawl space as a storage space. The last thing you want, after all, is for your belongings to lose their sentimental or material value due to water damage.
What exactly is crawl space encapsulation, though? How does it keep your belongings and crawl space safe from the elements? Let’s dive into the details so you can see how the encapsulation process works and why you should consider using it on your crawl space.
Crawl Space Encapsulation: An Introduction
Crawl space encapsulation allows you to install vapor barriers between your crawl space and the outside world. These vapor barriers entirely cover the walls and floor of your crawl space, serving as a visible barrier, as opposed to insulation’s interior one. Anymore, if you’re thinking about a vapor barrier – and, by extension, crawl space encapsulation – you probably think of the white, plastic-like material used to preserve crawl spaces. This material is the most effective of its kind on the market, as it keeps your crawl space from getting damp when it rains.
When you or a contractor encapsulate your crawl space, the process typically requires the following steps:
- Finding the leak – Before installing any of the appropriate encapsulation materials, you or a contractor will need to go through your crawl space looking for any spot that’s letting water flow into your home. This process is often easier when your crawl space is prone to flooding. Contractors or homeowners will be able to follow the flow of water back to the leak, which can then be appropriately sealed.
- Ripping out old insulation – Once any leaks or cracks have been dealt with, you’ll need to remove any old insulation or encapsulation material from your crawl space. This material does need to be replaced on an infrequent cycle to prevent it from weakening or otherwise negatively impacting the health of your home.
- Installing a vapor barrier – Once the layers of old insulation and old encapsulation material have been removed, you or a contractor will need to install a vapor barrier into your crawl space. These barriers take up the whole of your crawl space to prevent water from reaching the items you have stored there. You’ll need to take care to ensure this barrier doesn’t limit the functionality of any pipes or electrical circuits that you have in your crawl space.
- Installing a dehumidifier – Optionally, you or a contractor can install a dehumidifier in your crawl space after it’s been encapsulated. Dehumidifiers will pull any excess moisture from the air, working alongside the vapor barrier to ensure your belongings stay safe and your crawl space doesn’t become a haven for mold.
The encapsulation process takes between one and two days, depending on the size of your crawl space. Even if you’re interested in encapsulating your crawl space on your own, make sure you talk to a professional before getting started.
The Benefits of Encapsulating Your Crawl Space
You know how to encapsulate your crawl space – but why should you bother? Surely a little Virginia area rain isn’t going to hurt your belongings that much.
As a matter of fact, water that gets into your home through your crawl space can cause significant damage not only to your belongings but to the foundation of your house. This damage can cause your home to sink into the ground, making it both unlivable and much more difficult to sell later in life.
Encapsulation does more than just keep your home afloat, though. Other benefits of the encapsulation process include:
- Pest Prevention – Do you frequently think you hear mice, raccoons or other types of pests in your crawl space? If you do, you may have a hole that needs patching. With the help of a contractor, you can clean up your crawl space and prevent other pests from making your home theirs. The encapsulation process blocks off your crawl space from the outdoors, ensuring that all of your stored belongings remain animal-free.
- Less Dampness and Flooding – Naturally, the encapsulation process keeps any belongings you’ve stored in your crawl space dry, even after the most severe of Virginia area rains. As mentioned, this means your foundation will be less likely to suffer damage and you can come and go from your residence without worrying about its structural integrity.
- Reducing Mold Risk – A damp crawl space is a haven for mold. By encapsulating your crawl space, you deny any mold particles the nutrients they need to grow. As a result, you’ll be able to better protect your household from airborne pathogens or other deadly molds that might otherwise have taken root below your home.
- Improving Home Health – Finally, the lack of mold, dampness, and pests in your crawl space will ensure your home smells as fresh as a daisy year-round. Your family will be able to enjoy improved health, and the structure on which your home sits will remain healthy for as long as the encapsulation remains effective.
Have you been thinking about the different ways you can improve the health of your home? The encapsulation process will dry out your crawl space and let you use it for its intended purpose. Why not explore your encapsulation options today?