Your crawl space can offer important storage space in your home, but only if properly maintained. Due to its proximity to the foundation, this area is often prone to water seepage, which can escalate during heavy rainfall or snowmelt. Water seeping into the crawl space can cause extensive damage to the foundation and ruin stored items, possibly resulting in needed water damage restoration.
Crawl space encapsulation can offer a viable solution to your flooding problem, as well as offer other important benefits.
What is crawl space encapsulation?
This refers to the complete sealing of the crawl space floor and walls so as to prevent underground water from flooding the space. Typically, a crawl space is vented to remove water via evaporation. However, homes in low-lying areas or areas prone to flooding may often experience crawl space dampness problems, necessitating a water barrier to be installed to prevent water seepage.
This is done through the installation of a thick, semi-rigid polyethene layer below the foundation dirt floor and against the walls up to the floor joist. This completely seals the crawl space, leaving it dry and clean all year round.
Other benefits of crawl space encapsulation
A wet crawl space encourages invasions by mold and mildew, leading to wood rot in your foundation as well as the serious risk of air contamination. Dark, moist crawl spaces are also a breeding ground for pests, such as termites and rodents, that can wreak havoc on the foundation and stored furniture. By installing a polyethene barrier into the crawl space, you stop moisture from reaching this area, discouraging pests and mold incursions.
Crawl space encapsulation may also yield significant energy savings. A wet crawl space is often filled with hot, humid air that puts extra pressure on your central air conditioning, resulting in higher energy bills. Having the space sealed banishes this warm air to the outside, making it easier to cool the space and creating uniform temperatures throughout the house for more effective cooling.
Finally, sealing the crawl space should improve the structural integrity of your home. Perpetually wet soil inside your crawl space undermines your foundation's support, creating a weak structure in danger of collapse. By fully encapsulating the crawl space walls and floor, you prevent any water from getting near the foundation, ensuring the soil surrounding the foundation remains dry and compact for better support.
If you live in an area prone to flooding, you may want to consider encapsulating your crawl space so as to save on cooling bills and prevent structural problems to the foundation further down the road. .