Crawl spaces may be small, but the impact they have on your home is rather large. Though somewhat “unappealing” in nature (dark, damp, and cramped), they can greatly increase comfort and safety in your home when they are cared for properly.
Before & After
Crawl spaces are located beneath your home and are built for several reasons:
Keeps the house off the ground.
They are more cost effective than a basement or a slab.
Allows outside air to circulate more easily.
If your home has a basement or is built on a concrete slab, there is a good chance you do not have a crawl space. However, if your home has a crawl space, it is important to keep it maintained and cared for. It is a fairly simple process when done professionally and the results are incredible.
Crawlspace encapsulation benefits include:
With 50% of your household air flowing up through the crawl space, encapsulating will greatly improve the air quality within your home.
Avoid indoor moisture issues that can lead to mold and mildew.
Encapsulating creates an inhospitable place for bugs, pests, and other insects.
Save money and have greater energy efficiency in your home.
The crawl space will need to be completely cleaned of any kind of debris or other items. An estimator will determine the best plan of action for you crawl space. A vapor barrier may be installed which gives the crawl space the most coverage and protection. Alternatively, vents can be removed and sealed up, or a vapor retardant paint may be used. A vapor barrier will be the most coverage and yield the best results.
It is possible to encapsulate and insulate a crawl space on your own. Just be aware that any encapsulation that is not done correctly could result in more serious issues within the crawlspace. It is always a good idea to have a professional come take a look at your crawlspace to determine a custom plan for your home!
Will a crawl space make my home even colder in the winter and hotter in the summer?
Unfortunately, most crawl spaces are still installed with a ventilation system, which lets colder air into a house during the winter, and humid air in during the summer. Not only does this cause discomfort to the people that own a home, but it can also cause damage to the structure via condensation from extreme humidity, and during colder periods, flooring can become frigid. When ideal flooring like concrete has been installed, it is a good idea to seal or have professionals seal vents. A vapor barrier is widely considered the best strategy for sealing a crawl space and preventing any issues from occurring in the future.
Why is a crawl space a good option for a foundation?
While a crawl space is not quite as accessible as a basement is, there are many reasons aside from the less expensive price tag to choose this foundation over a basement or slab. Here are some examples:
- External air can flow through the building more easily, improving home air quality
- Access to utilities such as pipes and wiring is simple, unlike access to these utilities in slab foundations
- Encapsulating the crawl space will double up on its ability to prevent infestations of mold and pests
- Having an encapsulated crawl space will keep the floors of your home warmer
What is a crawl space?
Houses are generally built onto a basement, slab, or a crawl space. With a crawl space, the home is elevated a few feet above the ground, leaving less room to move around within than a basement, hence the name. In a crawl space (in a similar manner to a slab foundation), a footing is laid out, and blocks are arranged to support the walls of the building. A crawl space foundation takes a fair amount of time to build much like a basement, but at a much more inexpensive price range.
Can my crawl space be used for anything aside from utility access?
Yes! While freedom of mobility in a crawl space is lower than that of a basement, using a crawl space for storage is perfectly fine and considered a standard area used to store extra boxes and objects within a home. Most people think of a crawl space as just a smaller basement. Store things as you desire. Unlike a basement, an encapsulated crawl space is often structured in a way that flooding is avoided, so it is safe to worry less about water damage to personal belongings that may be stored in this type of foundation, granted the ventilation system has been sealed off properly.