Crawl Space Encapsulation

A Guide to Crawl Space Encapsulation

Not every property has a basement. Some have a crawlspace. This area, with a height between three and four feet, is an open, unfinished narrow space between the ground and the first floor.

Property owners like to enclose these areas for storage and environmental issues. Here’s a guide to help you with crawl space encapsulation.

DIY or Professional Help?

The first thing to consider with crawl space encapsulation is how it should be done. It is something you want to hire an organization like 58 Foundations to complete? Or, do you want to take care of it yourself?

Overall, it depends on your skillset, money, and patience level. Encapsulating a crawl space is harder to do than finishing the walls of a basement. It can be uncomfortable at times. So, research this before you move forward.

Moisture Remediation

The main reason to encapsulate a crawl space is moisture. When it’s open to the air, these areas are ripe for the growth of mold spores. Once these get into your home they can rapidly expand.

Thus, prior to enclosing the space, you need to remediate the moisture. You don’t want to trap anything under a concrete floor because mold can still seep through surfaces. It’s best to spray the area with an EPA-approved biocide to destroy existing spores and prevent the growth of more.

Check the Floor

Besides mold, there are other factors to consider with the dirt floor before you start encapsulation. First, you want to see if it’s even. A slight slope results in construction issues and can cause draining problems.

Next, check for any debris in the area. Dead animals, feces, and general trash must be removed. Particularly scat or other forms of natural waste. Some of these contain harmful chemicals that, even in an encapsulated crawlspace, spread into your home.

Types of Encapsulation

There are a few ways to enclose your crawlspace.

Plastic Based

This requires a seal of white, heavy-duty polyethylene to create a vapor barrier. A dehumidifier must be installed to regulate moisture. This prevents issues in the home and provides additional storage space.

Concrete Based

Three to four inches of non-structural concrete is poured over a layer of black polyethylene. This creates a vapor barrier and holds back moisture. This form of encapsulation is called a rat slab because it prevents rat and rodent infestation.

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Lighting and Insulation

Two other items to consider for the crawl space enclosure are lighting and drainage. For the latter, you might be able to have it installed without additional wiring. Normally, a crawlspace’s ceiling has a configuration of electrical wires similar to that of a basement.

Drainage is an additional feature to avoid the collection of moisture on either plastic or concrete surfaces. For instance, you might want to install a sump pump to collect rainwater and redistribute it through an exterior French drain.

This guide to crawl space encapsulation is only a foundation. Reach out to other resources or companies to move forward with a plastic or concrete enclosure.

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