Faqs Homeowners Have About Crawlspace Encapsulation

Posted on: 6 January 2021

If your crawlspace is often moist, moldy, and riddled with insects, then your contractor may recommend that you have the space encapsulated. Encapsulation is a process that involves sealing off the crawlspace so that water can no longer make its way into the space. This is a smart approach and one that works really well for most homeowners with wet crawlspaces. But you probably have a few questions you'd like answered before you agree to have this work done.

What materials are used for the encapsulation?

There are a lot of misconceptions about what crawlspace encapsulation actually entails. Some homeowners think it means your crawlspace will be filled with concrete, or that the walls will be sprayed with a waterproofing agent. But actually, the main step in encapsulation is putting down a really thick, durable vapor barrier. This is basically a big sheet of plastic, similar to a shower curtain liner. It will be stretched over all surfaces of your crawlspace — the ceiling, floor, and all walls — to prevent moisture from penetrating through these surfaces and into the crawlspace. 

How do crawlspace encapsulation contractors keep air flowing through the space?

Clearly, fully sealing off a wet space is not a good idea. You'll just end up trapping moisture inside and perpetuating mold growth. For this reason, in addition to installing a vapor barrier, your crawlspace encapsulation contractors will also take steps to ventilate the crawlspace. Depending on the size and layout of the crawlspace, this may mean they install a vent in the ceiling. Or for a larger crawlspace, they may install a fan that exhausts air from the crawlspace. Both of these approaches are intended to keep air moving without bringing any additional moisture into the crawlspace. If the crawlspace remains too moist after both these measures are taken, then running a dehumidifier will help.

How can you use an encapsulated crawlspace?

This is one of the key reasons to have your crawlspace encapsulated. Once the space is sealed, vented, and dried out, you can use the space for storage. You won't have to worry that your items will get moldy or infested with insects. Some people even turn their crawlspaces into playrooms for kids. You may not be able to stand up in there, but little kids can!

If you have any additional questions about crawlspace encapsulation, reach out to a company that offers this service. They should be happy to tell you more about it.