Most crawl spaces are unwelcoming and characterized by their dark, damp, and musty environments. However, not only can a neglected crawl space mean lost opportunity for storage space, it can also serve as a catalyst for health problems and structural damage. Crawl space moisture problems often lead to more serious issues like mold, pest infestations, rotting floor joists, high energy bills, and more. At AquaGuard Foundation Solutions, it’s our goal to help Atlanta and North Georgia homeowners transform their nasty crawl space into a clean, dry, healthy, usable, and energy efficient space with our patented crawl space encapsulation system.
We offer free, no-obligation crawl space inspections, after which we’ll tell you exactly what’s causing your issue and exactly how much it’ll cost to repair. To learn more about our basement and crawl space waterproofing services or to schedule your inspection, call us today or click the button below to fill out our online contact form!
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What is Crawl Space Encapsulation?
Crawl space encapsulation refers to the process of waterproofing, insulating, sealing, and conditioning the crawl space to eliminate moisture and high humidity issues. The combination of installing an effective drainage system, insulating the crawl space, sealing floors and walls, and adequately dehumidifying the air not only prevents groundwater or wall moisture from entering the crawl space, but it also regulates crawl space humidity and temperature, often making it the most regulated and climate-controlled area in your home!
What’s the Difference Between Sealing Your Crawl Space and Encapsulating It?
Crawl space sealing is a great first step towards improving the health of your crawl space. In fact, you may hear crawl space sealing, crawl space vapor barriers, and crawl space encapsulation all used interchangeably—but there is a difference in these waterproofing methods.
Crawl space encapsulation is actually a complete system that includes crawl space drainage, sealing, and dehumidifying. During the encapsulation process, we first install a perimeter drainage system that feeds into one of our industry-leading sump pump systems. Water can be pumped out at the rate of approximately an olympic-sized swimming pool per hour—far more than would ever enter your house during a heavy rainstorm. We also connect a battery-operated sump pump to your drainage system so that your crawl space doesn’t flood if your home experiences a power outage. We then divert all water away from your home underground until the land slopes away from your home.
Next, we cover the floor with a drainage matting before hermetically-sealing our patented CleanSpace, 20-mil, moisture- and puncture-resistant vapor barrier above both the drainage matting and up the walls. Third, we seal off any crawl space doors and vents, as these can allow moisture and unregulated air to enter. Finally, we dehumidify and regulate the air with our industrial-grade air filtration and dehumidification system. The end result? Your home is COMPLETELY isolated from the harsh climates and precipitation of the earth, and your once damp, nasty, creepy crawl space is now fully protected from future harm. We back out CleanSpace encapsulation process with a lifetime, fully-transferable warranty, ensuring your crawl space remains permanently protected and your peace of mind intact.
What Are the Benefits of Encapsulating Your Crawl Space?
Crawl space encapsulation comes with a wide range of benefits. In addition to properly draining existing moisture and sealing walls and floors to prevent water from leaking into the crawl space, encapsulating your crawl space also provides the following advantages:
Have you ever heard of the “stack effect” in regards to your home’s air quality? The stack effect refers to the process by which hot air leaves the home through the uppermost levels. Warm air rises, and so the cool air inside your crawl space ultimately escapes not through the vents and doors that let it in, but through your floor joists (the ceiling of your crawl space), the first floor of your home above, and through a variety of air ductus.
As it does, it creates a vacuum in your crawl space, and new air is pulled up through the lower levels. This means that whatever air exists in your crawl space gets pulled up into the rest of your home, and thus you ultimately BREATHE that nasty air! This could cause problems if your crawl space environment is ridden with groundwater seepage, wall moisture, mold spores, high humidity, or musty odors. Mold spores can cause health hazards for your family, and high humidity can decrease comfort and increase utility bills. Crawl space encapsulation ensures that the air being pulled up from your crawl space is as pure as the air existing in the rest of your home by preventing external elements, mold growth and high humidity humidity from entering.
Because crawl space encapsulation creates a clean, dry, usable space, many homeowners choose to use their newly-encapsulated space as a storage room. You’ll never have to worry about water damage or high humidity ruining your property and items with sentimental value!
Crawl space encapsulation can improve your home’s energy efficiency by controlling humidity and regulating its temperature. After waterproofing and sealing your crawl space, we dehumidify it, which, in turn, regulates humidity. High humidity typically raises energy bills because humid air is harder to cool. Second, many crawl spaces are susceptible to outdoor weather conditions because they aren’t properly sealed, meaning they let in humidity in the summer and frigid air in the winter. Dehumidifying the air after diverting away existing water, insulating, and sealing off vents, doors, and block walls helps regulate crawl space temperature and thus reduce energy bills.
Many pests—like termites, rodents, and cockroaches—thrive in damp, dark spaces with plenty of organic and rotting material. By sealing walls and floors, as well as by controlling moisture, encapsulation makes your crawl space uninhabitable for problematic pests.
Mold can grow on organic materials, such as drywall and wooden support beams, when indoor temperature exceeds 40º F and relative humidity reached 60% or higher. Thus, neglected crawl spaces create the perfect environment for mold to grow. There are many types of mold that can grow inside your home, with some being toxic to humans. Increased allergy symptoms and musty odors can be some of the first indicators of mold growth in your crawl space. Crawl space encapsulation can prevent mold from growing by controlling humidity levels and sealing off organic materials.
High humidity, pests, mold, fungi, and water—all of these are threats to your home’s structural integrity. Whether the damage is caused by termites, moisture, or dry rot, the wooden floor joists or support beams that support the main floor above are organic and thus susceptible to moisture and climate changes. If affected, those joists will often start to dampen and sag or crack and buckle, depending on the situation. Once compromised, their capacity to bear the weight of your home is mitigated, and then floors can sag, doors can fail to shut, windows can stick, and in the absolute worst case scenario, your floors may collapse. Encapsulation protects against structural damage by preventing the kind of environment where pests, mold, fungi, and wood rot can thrive by controlling crawl space humidity and moisture.
Crawl Space Encapsulation Before and After
After Crawl Space Encapsulation
How to Encapsulate a Crawl Space
Crawl space encapsulation can look different for each homeowner depending on the specific moisture challenges they face. However, typically crawl space encapsulation involves the installation of several systems, including vent covers, insulation, vapor barrier, and a dehumidifier.
Here are the different processes included in a typical crawl space encapsulation:
The first step is to eliminate any sources of flooding in your crawl space by installing a crawl space drainage and sump pump system. Your crawl space drain will collect water and direct it towards your sump pump, which then transports the water outside and away from the home.
The next step involves cleaning out any debris and rotted materials. Often times, neglected crawl spaces will accumulate dead bugs and pests, fallen insulation, debris from construction, and damaged wood. We’ll go in and clean out the space to create a workable environment for the following steps.
If your crawl space is sagging or damaged by prolonged mold and rot, the next step is to install crawl space support jacks to help restore your structure. This will help your floors stay even and stop any structural sagging upstairs. Our crawl space support jacks can also be adjusted over time to continually provide straightening and leveling for the life of the structure. They’re a fast, quick installation that will provide stability for years to come.
Sealing your crawl space doors and vents stops the cycle of cold, humidity, and moisture entering from the outside air. Our vent covers and crawl space doors provide complete airtight protection against outside elements, including water, pests, and humid or frigid air.
During the crawl space encapsulation process is the best time to install insulation. We use rigid foam insulation to stop air leaks—and, because it’s inorganic material, it will never lose R-value or absorb moisture. We also offer a special product for insulation crawl space floors that provides flexible insulation.
Crawl space liners often rest directly on the crawl space floor. If your crawl space floor leaks, this water can get trapped underneath the liner and fail to make it to your perimeter drain. The raised dimples on our drainage matting gives water a path underneath your liner to flow towards your perimeter drain and sump pump. The drainage matting is installed directly below the crawl space vapor barrier, covering the expanse of the flow. It’s a quick, easy installation process that can be completed at the same time of vapor barrier installation.
To stop moisture from passing through your floors and porous concrete walls, a crawl space vapor barrier should be installed to completely encapsulate the crawl space. A durable liner allows for servicemen to use the space without damage while transforming your crawl space into usable storage space. Our CleanSpace vapor barrier is a crisp white, 20-mil poly-reinforced liner and is mold-resistant.
Installing an energy efficient, self-draining crawl space dehumidifier will ensure your crawl space moisture levels are kept in check. Our crawl space dehumidifier system includes a filter that removes particles as small as 2 microns from the air. In conjunction with a crawl space liner or vapor barrier, a dehumidifier ensures that your crawl space is protected from mold, dust mites, and mildew damage—permanently!
Advantages of Our CleanSpace Encapsulation System
At AquaGuard, CleanSpace is our crawl space encapsulation system. It’s a complete drainage and encapsulation system that includes a wide variety of products for your home and provides your with numerous benefits.
Some of the top advantages of our encapsulation system include:
- Fast, clean installation
- Patented, warrantied products
- Energy efficient
- Creates a usable space
Can I Encapsulate My Crawl Space On My Own?
Crawl space encapsulation can be completed as a DIY project, though many homeowners opt for professional encapsulation services given the labor-intensive and detailed process. Where crawl space structural damage, flooding, or mold is present, DIY crawl space encapsulation may actually be dangerous for homeowners to complete on their own. If you’re going to do the process on your own, make sure you also invest in apparel that can protect you from coming in contact with wet electrical lines or mold.
Should I Encapsulate My Crawl Space?
Maybe you’re still unsure if crawl space encapsulation is right for your home. If you wish to talk to a professional about your crawl space waterproofing options, call AquaGuard today! We’ll send an expert to inspect your crawl space for potential moisture problems, after which we can recommend the crawl space waterproofing methods that are best for your home and budget.
Here are a few of the issues we will look for when determining whether or not crawl space encapsulation is right for you:
- High humidity
- Musty odors
- Standing water
- High energy bills
- Bug and pests in crawl space or basement
- Dry rot
- Sinking floors
- Excessive condensation
- Sticking doors and windows
- Falling, damp insulation
Who to Call for Water in Crawl Space in Atlanta
AquaGuard Foundation Solutions serves as the exclusive, authorized CleanSpace dealer in Greater Atlanta and North Georgia via the Basement Systems® International waterproofing network. Contact AquaGuard today for more information on crawl space encapsulation, including crawl space drainage and sump pumps, crawl space liners, moisture barriers, and air filtration and dehumidification systems.
Crawl Space Encapsulation Q&A
Crawl space water damage is an enormous liability for homeowners—it can be expensive to repair structural damages and put the health of residents at risk. Crawl space encapsulation not only can give future homeowners peace of mind, but it brings with it the added benefits of extra storage space, increased energy efficiency, and improved air quality. So, yes—crawl space encapsulation can increase home value!
Crawl space encapsulation cost will depend on the specific waterproofing solutions needed to address your home’s particular moisture issues. For a personalized cost estimate, call AquaGuard today to receive your free, no-obligation quote!
Your insurance company may cover the cost of repairing crawl space after sudden internal water damage. Your homeowner’s insurance will not, however, cover the cost of repairs due to neglect or flood damage. The best way to find out if your insurance company will cover a portion of your crawl space encapsulation or repair cost is by calling your provider.