Moisture Mitigation Installations
Crawlspace Encapsulation is a buzz word. As a contractor and home inspector I am often asked the question, "Should I encapsulate my crawlspace?" Always, I answer, "Maybe, maybe not. There might be a better way." In fact, sealing or encapsulating your crawlspace may require modification or replacement of your heating system. And encapsulation is expensive. Very Expensive. Every home is different and the solutions for each home will vary. We offer a number of installations that can be used alone or in tandem with one another to reduce your crawlspace moisture conditions and stay within your budget.
Elevated moisture conditions in a crawlspace can affect the air quality in your home and lower the operating efficiency of your HVAC system, resulting in higher energy bills. I ABSOLUTELY recommend that homeowners take steps to reduce humidity conditions in their crawlspace but 'encapsulation' isn't always the right answer. What is?
Call 336-823-7903 and we will design a solution for YOUR home.
There is no singlular solution to crawlspace moisture issues and reducing humidity in the crawlspace usually requires a combination of techniques working together, in tandem. Let's take a look.
Sump Pump Installation: Crawlspaces on sloped lots or with poor drainage may experience groundwater intrusion. If there is no installed foundation drainage or the foundation drain is not effectively draining moisture out of the crawlspace, the installation of a sump pump may be recommended to remove ground water to the exterior.
Vapor Barrier Installation: If your crawlspace floor surface displays signs of chronic moisture, fungal or biological growth, or signs of saturation, a vapor barrier can be installed to limit the gaseous moisture vapor evaporating upwards into the crawlspace foundation. 'Vapor barrier' is not technically correct term as they are not completely impermeable to water vapor. A vapor retarder typically consists of a 6, 8 or 10 millimeter polyethelene plastic sheet placed and secured on the crawlspace floor surface. A thicker sheet won't necessarily reduce ground moisture evaporation but will last longer and be less susceptible to damage.
Sealing the Crawlspace: A sealed crawlspace is one that is no longer freely vented to the exterior. The foundation vents have been sealed. Additionally, the vapor retarder is taped at the seams, as well as secured to and sealed at the foundation wall and may be installed on foundation walls below grade. North Carolina Building Code, Section 409 dictates that sealed crawlspaces will also be supplied with mechanical drying capability to assist in removal of gaseous water vapor and lists 5 acceptable methods.
Encapsulating the Crawlspace: This is the most intensive level of moisture control. When a crawlspace is encapsulated, it becomes part of the building envelope and is insulated and conditioned according to NC Building Standards. Thicker polyethelene vapor retarder, typically 15-20mm is secured, taped and sealed on the entirety of the crawlspace floor and foundation walls. Foundation walls and sill joists are insulated. Subfloor insulation is no longer necessary and should be removed and the crawlspace is ventilated with supply air from the interior HVAC system.
These are our main methods of controlling crawlspace moisture. Of course the installation of a sump pump may be recommended in tandem with any variety of vapor retarder installation. Additionally, sealed and encapsulated crawlspaces require the installation of at least one of 5 approved methods of mechanical drying capability set forth by the NC Building Code. The important information here is that dehumdifiers are not required. They are a brute force solution that does not utilize the most recent building science. There may be better, LESS expensive options for your home.