What is a Crawl Space?
In place of a basement, some homes have empty space located beneath the house called a crawl space. This space gives service personnel easy access to the pipes under the house. However, if a crawl space is not properly ventilated and protected with a crawl space barrier, it can become a haven for critters, mold and moisture; which in turn can enter the home.
If a crawl space has a dirt floor, the home is at a higher risk for black mold and burrowing pests. The dirt itself may feel dry. However, a few inches below the surface, the dirt is typically full of moisture. An unprotected dirt crawl space creates a humid environment that is ripe for mold, fungus and unhealthy air that can get carried into the home through a ventilation system.
How are Crawl Space Barriers Installed?
Enclosing a crawl space is a delicate project and not something you want to do alone. It requires working in, oftentimes, cramped conditions with special materials. To ensure that the job is done correctly, it is best to reach out to a knowledgeable company that is experienced in crawl space barrier installation.
One approach to sealing a crawl space barrier is using a heavy polyethylene plastic or encapsulation—lining; thus, covering the floor and walls by overlapping and sealing the sheets of plastic. Sealing sidewall openings, vents and doors leading to the outside help prevent outside air from entering the home and creating a humid environment under the home.
Next, insulating the walls after applying the barrier helps minimize temperature transfers from inside and outside of the crawl space. To help deter water vapors from entering the floor, whether it is concrete or dirt, apply a vapor barrier product. You will also want to install a sump pump or route any water that may accumulate, back outside. It is important to not let the water re-absorbed back into the ground as this creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew.
Another approach is to insulate the foundation walls. By using your heating and air conditioning system, you can regulate the temperatures throughout the home and decrease any condensation that may build up in the crawl space. The actual process can change depending on the conditions of installation.
What are some of the Benefits of Crawl Space Barriers?
There are a wide variety of benefits that can come from applying a Crawl Space Barrier some of which are:
- Decreased energy bills
- Decreased risk of mold and mildew build up
- Improved air quality
- Less air loss and drafts