Everything You Need to Know About an Enclosed Crawl Space

Learn more about why you need to enclose your crawl space.

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When you start talking about crawl space encapsulation, it can get very confusing for people who may not know a lot about home repair. What is crawl space encapsulation? Does it mean closing off the crawl space? Does it mean not going into the crawl space at all?

Crawl space encapsulation is a method through which moisture is no longer allowed into the crawl space. There are multiple steps to crawl space encapsulation, and each one needs to be done with the utmost care.

If you’re trying to attain a closed crawl space, good news: there are plenty of options available for you. Anyone who wants to learn more about enclosed crawl space importance should read on to get the best information.

Learn More About Closed Crawl Spaces

How Moisture Hurts Your Home and How You Can Fix It

One thing many crawl spaces still have is open vents. These vents allow outside air and water into the crawl space. Can you keep your crawl space vents with an enclosed crawl space, or do you have to remove them? What do they do? Is it important to close or keep them?

These are the most important things to know about crawl space vents. 

Common Practice for Many Years

The main reason you find so many crawl spaces with vents is that it was just common practice for many years to do it. The prevailing wisdom for a long time was that crawl spaces “needed to breathe,” and that’s why crawl space vents became so popular.

Especially if your home is fairly old, it’s possible that you have crawl space vents even if you don’t know about them. At the very least, you should know whether or not you have crawl space vents in your home.

Understanding whether you have crawl space vents is an important first step when you’re trying to figure out how to handle crawl space encapsulation. Encapsulation requires that you seal all open crawl space vents

New Research Shows Crawl Space Vents Don’t Work

If crawl space vents were such a common practice for so long, why are they not in use as much anymore? The short answer is, the assumption regarding crawl spaces needing to “breathe” was based on poor reasoning.

Essentially, crawl space vents let in more moisture than they keep out. They allow in cool air from outside, humid air from outside, and water from rain and flooding.

Nowadays, it has been well established that crawl space vents just don’t work to keep crawl space moisture low. In fact, the opposite is true. That’s exactly why many contractors are helping people seal them up.

Because of the stack effect – the movement of air through your home from bottom to top – whatever is in your crawl space also is in the air in the rest of your home and affecting you. With a home that has a dirt crawl space and open crawl space vents, moist air that is vented inside will rise through the house and then get recycled once it reaches the attic or roof. This, in turn, can lead to mold, mildew, and wood rot. Since your air recycles and moves up and down through your home, you and your family are breathing it all in. These are huge health risks! 

Sealing Your Crawl Space Is the Best Option

Proper crawl space encapsulation requires that you seal your crawl space entirely. That includes removing or sealing shut your crawl space vents.

It can be tempting to buy into the logic that crawl space vents allow air to move more effectively throughout the crawl space, therefore drying it out. However, time and time again, contractors have seen that a closed crawl space does that much more effectively.

JES contractors know that crawl space encapsulation requires that you don’t have open crawl space vents. Talk to a JES expert today to learn more about your options if you do have crawl space vents.

Another important component of a closed crawl space is a vapor barrier. Do you need a thicker vapor barrier? What’s the right type of vapor barrier to get? What types of crawl spaces need a vapor barrier?

When it comes to vapor barriers, here’s how to maximize your enclosed crawl space. 

6-Mil to 20-Mil

Vapor barriers come in a variety of different sizes. These sizes are measured in “mils.” Rather than being short for “millimeter,” one mil is one-thousandth of an inch. Because this is such a small measurement, it’s easy to see why even these seemingly tiny differences make such a big impact.

There are many types of vapor barriers for many different uses. However, the thinnest vapor barrier on the market for crawl spaces tends to be a 6-mil barrier, and the thickest is a 20-mil vapor barrier.

The most effective thicknesses will depend based on who you ask. However, you’re unlikely to find anyone who uses anything lower than 6-mil or higher than 20-mil. 

The Industry Standard

What’s the industry standard for vapor barriers? That’s a tough question to answer. Again, it somewhat depends on who you’re asking; the person you’re asking will often claim it’s whatever they use.

Some contractors use 12-mil barriers. The 12-mil barrier is also very popular among DIY homeowners who want to save money. That’s because the 12-mil barrier is much cheaper than the 20-mil barrier.

Although you’ll still see 12-mil barriers in use at times, the industry seems to be moving toward embracing the 20-mil barrier as the standard. It’s certainly the premium standard among high-quality contractors like JES. 

Choose a 20-Mil Liner for Best Results

A 12-mil barrier doesn’t have the same usefulness as a 20-mil barrier. It’s too thin, making it liable to tear or allow water vapor into the crawl space, both things you’re trying to avoid.

Instead, you should choose a 20-mil liner for an enclosed crawl space. Although some contractors feel this is too much, JES believes it’s better to overcompensate than undercompensate as it can save you money now than having to replace it or patch it when the 12 mil tears in the future.

If you’re looking for a crawl space encapsulation that actually encapsulates, you’re going to want to choose a 20-mil liner. Talk to a JES expert today about utilizing CrawlSeal to keep water vapor out of your crawl space.

The reason vapor barriers are such an important part of a closed crawl space is that moisture is basically your crawl space’s greatest enemy. Moisture is great at finding its way into places it doesn’t belong, and you need to be sure it can’t get into your crawl space.

How can you keep moisture out of your crawl space? These methods will help the most. 

An Entirely Closed Crawl Space

When you say, “closed crawl space,” you should mean closed crawl space. The most important things to check here are a vapor barrier, crawl space vents, and the door to the crawl space.

Your vapor barrier should be a 20-mil CrawlSeal vapor barrier because it’ll provide you the most protection. You should seal any open crawl space vents and make sure the door to the crawl space has an ultra-tight seal that doesn’t allow moisture or water in.

When you take these tips, you’ll end up with a crawl space that doesn’t allow moisture inside. That’s the first step to a dry crawl space. 

Sump Pump Installation

Even if you’re not allowing moisture in from the ground, there are still instances in which you may experience flooding. For example, if there’s a plumbing leak in the crawl space or if your home has a hard time with water drainage, you may discover more water even after encapsulation.

This is where a sump pump comes in. This pump can help you keep your crawl space dry even if there are drainage problems because it uses a motor to pump the water out of the area.

You shouldn’t install a sump pump until you’ve gotten rid of as much water as possible on your own. This should be an ongoing benefit, not your only focus. A JES expert can let you know whether you need a sump pump or some other kind of fix. 

Add a Dehumidifier

Even if you’ve done all this right, there’s still a chance that the general moisture levels in your area may be too high for a healthy crawl space. That’s where a dehumidifier comes in.

Depending on your area, you may need a dehumidifier in your crawl space occasionally, regularly, or all the time. This dehumidifier can keep it nice and dry in your crawl space. It’s a great option if you’ve fixed water leaks and other water issues, but you’re still seeing high levels of humidity.

Especially if you’re going to run it all the time, you need to make sure you’re using an energy-efficient dehumidifier so you don’t run your energy bill up. This is a decision that a JES expert can help you make.

It’s common for many homeowners to want to try DIY fixes for problems. This can help in some situations, so why not crawl space encapsulation? Is it possible for you to perform crawl space encapsulation on your own? Could DIY crawl space encapsulation be less expensive than taking it to a professional?

The short answer is, you need an expert. Here are the most compelling reasons to talk to JES before you try anything yourself. 

Crawl Space Encapsulation Requires Precision

Water vapor is some of the most insidious stuff out there. It is great at getting into spaces where it isn’t wanted. If not properly encapsulated, the vapor can still get into the crawl space and affect your home.

This is exactly why you need a professional. You can use all the same tools as a professional if you can get your hands on those tools, but one wrong move and you’re leaving the door open for the same amount of water vapor to invade.

The last thing you want is to discover that your DIY crawl space encapsulation missed a crucial step and you’ve been allowing water vapor into the area for months. Instead, allow a JES expert to help you with this precise fix. 

DIY Options Often Fail

Crawl space encapsulation isn’t as easy as it looks. JES experts are trained professionals; it’s their job to make it look easy. In fact, crawl space encapsulation can be very difficult and very confusing.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, you probably don’t want to try to do crawl space encapsulation. This isn’t a weekend project, and it’s not something you can do on your own. Plus, it’s not going to save you money in the long run.

When it comes to crawl space encapsulation, one wrong move could cost you thousands of dollars. It’s better to just invest the money into a JES professional crawl space encapsulation and know you have the right answer to your crawl space issues. 

A Professional Approach Is Always Better

At the end of the day, it’s better to hire a professional. You can use DIY efforts for smaller things like repairing light bulbs and fixing broken tiles in the bathroom. A professional contractor has the knowledge and experience needed for these essential crawl space repairs.

Learn More About Your Crawl Space Options Today

Full crawl space encapsulation is always your best option. You’ll have to invest some time, energy, and money into it, but hiring a JES expert to make sure you have a closed crawl space will definitely pay off in the end. It will help save your family’s health, improve the quality of the air, save on heating and air conditioning, and prevent any future problems.

A DIY fix or simply ignoring the problem just won’t cut it. If you want the best results, you need to talk to a JES professional. Anyone looking for a high-quality crawl space encapsulation should talk to a JES expert to learn more about their options. You’ll get great service and an even better result.

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