Gaines Group Architects

Keep the critters out of your crawl space by encapsulating it

Triple C Camp - NEST Rebuild, 2010Talking to a friend this weekend, she has had animals getting into her crawl space. To fix this you have to first get the animals out. Then to keep them out, you should encapsulate the crawl space closing off all the vents, holes, gaps, and cracks. This will keep it critter free, improve indoor air-quality and comfort, and reduce energy usage. An encapsulated crawl space is a sealed and conditioned space like the rest of your home. This approach lines the floor and walls with a sealed 12 mil poly and air tight insulation along the top of the foundation wall to the underside of the floor sheathing above. The walls should have a rigid foam material behind the poly to keep a constant temperature. You could also foam the floor or pour a “mud” slab in the crawl space, but this is often considered a luxury step. The final piece of the puzzle is to take the space to positive pressure to further push the gas and moisture out of the space.



Green Term Defined: Encapsulated Crawl Space

IMG_0729Anyone that has spent anytime in a vented crawl space in our area can tell you – it is not pleasant. Frozen pipes, dirty air, mold, animals are all possible problems. The idea of a vented crawl space is during the humid summer, the small vents around the foundation will allow enough air flow to dry the crawl space. The humidity in the space comes from the dirt floor, outside air, and even from the house itself. If there are enough vents, if the wind is blowing in the right direction, and if it is not too humid outside – it might stay dry. I have seen dry crawl spaces, but they are rare.DSC05043

An encapsulated crawl space is the way to fix the moisture issues and protect your indoor air quality in your home. An encapsulated crawl space is a sealed space that has a vapor barrier on the walls and floor. There are no vents and the space should have positive air pressure in the space.IMG_6103

An encapsulated crawl space will help reduce the chance of radon and mold in your home. It provides a better thermal performance reducing your energy consumption. It will contribute to a longer lasting more durable structural system for your home. It will help prevent cold floors. It reduces the chance that you will have mold growing in your HVAC duct work. Also, it reduces the probability of critters living in your crawl space.

There are many benefits to an encapsulated crawl – check out this blog by our friends at Energy Vanguard for their views on the subject. DSC07760