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Frequently Asked Questions about Crawl Space Encapsulation

Excessive moisture within your crawl space can create all sorts of damage in every area of your home. What can you do stop this from happening? The crawl space is not a place many homeowners can easily access. How will you know that moisture has crept into your crawl space?

What you need is crawl space encapsulation. But we know you have big questions about encapsulation.

Here’s our list of some of the top questions we get about encapsulation.

What Is the Purpose of a Crawl Space?

The crawl space’s main purpose is lift your home off of the ground in order to regulate temperature and reduce damage from soil moisture. It also stores many of your house’s most important systems and components, including your plumbing, HVAC system, and electrical wiring  

These systems must remain dry at all times. Any standing water or moisture might damage or, in the case of electrical components, short-circuit some of these systems or prevent them from performing their duties properly. 

What Problems Stem from Exposed Crawl Spaces?

The standing water in your crawl space may seep its way through your walls’ pores. This causes big problems that will only worsen with time if you don’t encapsulate. Even a small amount of moisture can hint at larger damage behind the scenes, so you need to take care of them as soon as you can. 

Common issues that show up in homes without crawl space encapsulation include:

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What Causes Crawl Space Problems?

How does moisture infiltrate the crawl space? Knowing what causes moisture to infiltrate your crawl space can help you come up with the best method to block it out of this space permanently. How exactly does moisture seep into your crawl space in the first place?

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

Why Does a Crawl Space Have Vents?

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.

Should I Close My Crawl Space Vents in the Winter and Open Them in the Summer?

No, you should seal your crawl space vents entirely. Here’s why:

  • 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! 

Which Moisture Control Solutions Does My Home Need to Stay Dry?

JES Foundation Repair offers plenty of crawl space moisture control solutions that will fit your unique situation. This includes heavy-duty drainage systems, sump pumps, vapor barriers, vent covers, and dehumidifiers; we have it all.

The first step any crawl space expert will make is to plan out which moisture control methods will work best for your unique home. Then they will get to work on encapsulating your crawl space to ensure no moisture seeps through ever again.

1. Drainage Systems and Sump Pumps 

Installing a reliable drainage system inside your crawl space can ensure that it will never be flooded again. If any moisture does trickle into this space, it is promptly collected and redirected away by this system to a sump pump, which is a more appropriate drainage point. 

It’s important to pair this system with a sump pump, which works to pump all the water the drainage system collects out of the crawl space. Sump pumps are especially useful if you live in an area that gets heavy storms or snowfall. Depending on the drainage system you want, this water will either be redirected to a nearby storm drain or out on your front lawn, saving you money and time. You should consult one of our crawl space experts to see which system is best for your home. 

A reliable SafeDri™ sump pump system is self-activating and when you opt to add a backup battery, you do not have to rush to turn it on the moment a storm hits. You can rest easy knowing this system is always working to redirect large amounts of water away from your property. 

2. A Vapor Barrier

Vapor barriers can come in many different sizes. However, crawl space experts recommend 20-mil liners due to their enhanced durability against any kind of moisture. This thicker barrier can endure more than thinner ones and is far less likely to tear in the event of extreme weather and allow the water to flow through. 

You need a barrier that is guaranteed to block moisture out. The CrawlSeal™ vapor barrier is a sturdy 20-mil liner composed of seven layers of polyethylene that will offer the best protection against moisture infiltration. 

This discourages mold and mildew growth as well as makes it difficult for pests to enter this protected space. Our vapor barriers are best used for crawl spaces that have dirt floors. This then ensures that they will not wash away no matter how much moisture attempts to break through the barrier. 

3. Vent Covers 

Many homes will have open vents installed within their crawl spaces. The original idea was to have air circulate the space to keep it dry naturally. Unfortunately, it had the opposite effect. 

More moisture flows in than is blocked out by the vents, resulting in more frequent floods and water damage. Vent covers seal off any ventilation found around or within the crawl space, cutting any moisture off from the space completely. 

3. A Dehumidifier 

Installing a dehumidifier is the last part of the encapsulation process. Though the other parts of the encapsulation system are guaranteed to keep your crawl space dry, having a dehumidifier can put you more at ease. Should any moisture slip through the vapor barrier and the vent covers, the dehumidifier will rid your crawl space of it.

For some homeowners, the four-step encapsulation process might seem like overkill. Some crawl space experts may agree with you and will work out a moisture control plan that best suits your home. 

When Will I Need an Entire Encapsulation Done? 

We highly recommend getting comprehensive crawl space encapsulation to ensure your home stays completely dry and energy bills are reduced.

Your crawl space is more likely to flood from either melted snow or heavy storms in spring, humidity in the summer, or even ice in the winter. A full encapsulation process ensures that your crawl space can block out any kind of moisture over the entire year. 

Consulting a crawl space expert from JES Foundation Repair about which moisture control solution is the best process for you. They can determine which solutions are best for your home and install them quickly and easily.

Which Options Do Home Improvement Stores Offer? 

Home improvement stores will offer homeowners plenty of smaller solutions to fix their bowed crawl space walls or combat water damage in their homes. Items like smaller dehumidifiers, mold cleaner, or caulking might seem like easy fixes. However, it is good to keep in mind that these work as temporary solutions at best. 

For example, dehumidifiers that you purchase at a store are mainly used in regular bedrooms and the like. You cannot place a store-bought dehumidifier inside your crawl space and expect it to function as well as an industry-grade machine you can get with JES Foundation Repair. 

This is why our encapsulation process is so important. By implementing powerful machines and moisture control techniques together, we can ensure your crawl space will never suffer from water damage, flooding, mold, or any other issues ever again. 

Can I Encapsulate My Crawl Space By Myself?

You should not rely on these DIY measures for a permanent fix. They are liable to fall apart or deteriorate over time, which means you will have to keep buying the same solutions over and over again. This will only cost you more money in the long run. It may help if your crawl space issues are especially bad and you do not have the time to schedule a crawl space inspection with us right now. 

Still, if your problem lies with your foundation or within the crawl space, you must leave the repairs to the experts. We can install permanent solutions that will save your crawl space, your time, and your money.

Who Do I Call for Crawl Space Encapsulation?

Moisture issues within your crawl space can have terrible consequences for the infrastructure and health of your entire home. You need a solution that works best for your home. 

The JES Foundation Repair crawl space experts have the right expertise and tools for the job. We can help you find the best waterproofing solution for your home and repair any damage it has already caused. 

Contact us today to schedule your free crawl space inspection and repair quote.

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JES Foundation Repair service area map of the Mid-Atlantic region.

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8361 Town Center Ct
Nottingham, MD 21236

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Suite 2-02
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Virginia Beach, VA 23454

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7940 Gainsford Ct.
Bristow, VA 20136

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Winchester, VA 22601