The Property You Manage Needs an Encapsulated Crawl Space

Published On: February 21, 2022

An encapsulated crawl space means less humidity and cleaner air in the property you manage, which leads to healthier, happier tenants. Neglect a crawl space, and you’ll have moisture damage, pest infestation, and moldy air—things you and your occupants do not want to deal with.

An un-encapsulated crawl space is a dark, wet, nasty place full of mold. While this is bad enough, it becomes even worse when that allergen-filled air makes its way into a property’s living area.

In this article, we’re going to cover the definition of an encapsulated crawl space, the benefits, the difference between an encapsulated crawl space and an insulated crawl space, the encapsulation process, crawl space encapsulation cost, and more.

What is an encapsulated crawl space?

An encapsulated crawl space is one where the walls and crawl space floor are covered in thick, polyurethane plastic that locks out moisture.

Adding a dehumidifier to an encapsulated crawl space kicks everything up a notch by offering a way to regulate the moisture level in the crawl space. The result is better air quality in the property you manage, because the crawl space’s air is clean and dry.

Benefits of an encapsulated crawl space

The benefits of an encapsulated crawl space include:

  • Your tenants stay healthier – As we noted above, a certain amount of air from a crawl space makes its way up and into a home’s living area. If a crawl space is full of mold, dust, and other dangerous allergens, the air coming out of it will be as well.
  • Your tenants will enjoy a more comfortable home – Lower humidity along with cleaner air means greater comfort and the potential for lower energy costs.
  • Encapsulation helps prevent structural problems – Making sure the wood in your property’s crawl space stays clean, dry, and safe from gnawing pests helps to ensure the building’s structural integrity.

What’s the difference between an encapsulated crawl space and an insulated crawl space?

An insulated crawl space prevents cool and warm air from escaping your property’s living areas through the floor. An encapsulated crawl space is all about keeping moisture out of the crawl space and ensuring it stays clean and dry.

Steps to an encapsulated crawl space

The process of encapsulating a crawl space is as follows:

  • First, we do an initial inspection and assessment.
  • If there’s any insulation in the crawl space, we remove it.
  • We get rid of any loose debris in the crawl space.
  • We seal vents, gaps around pipes, ducts, etc.
  • We apply the polyurethane vapor barrier to the crawl space floor and walls.
  • We install a dehumidifier to ensure the humidity level in the crawl space stays low.
  • We install an air sealed crawl space door.
  • Crawl space encapsulation can usually be completed in a couple of days but may take longer depending on the size of the building and conditioning.

Crawl space encapsulation cost

The cost of encapsulating a crawl space depends on your geographical location, crawl space size, the current condition of the crawl space, degree of difficulty determined by the ability to access areas within the crawl space, materials used, and more.

Signs you might need an encapsulated crawl space

Problems in your property’s crawl space will eventually become noticeable in the living areas:

  • Musty smell – If your tenant mentions that the home is starting to smell funky, you might have something going on in the crawl space.
  • Problems with wood floors – Are the floors warped, uneven, or sagging?
  • High humidity inside the home – If the A/C is working correctly, inside humidity should not be high.
  • Condensation – A/C ducts may reveal moisture.
  • Allergy symptoms – If the crawl space is full of mold and mildew, the air inside the home will be as well.

Signs in the crawl space itself include:

  • Mold – Look for mold on beams, joists, etc.
  • Moisture – Do you see condensation on the woodwork?
  • Wood rot – High humidity will eventually cause wood rot.
  • Insulation that’s no longer in its proper place or is wet
  • Pools of water – Also, look for condensation on the A/C duct lines.

If you notice any of the above in the buildings you manage, you should contact a foundation repair professional.

An encapsulated crawl space is a job for the professionals

Encapsulating a crawl space is a lot of work, and if you don’t do it correctly, you’ll need to pay again to have someone else come in and correct the work. DIY projects also don’t come with a warranty. Crawl space encapsulation comes with a lifetime warranty which can relieve a lot of worry. Therefore, we recommend letting a professional handle this job.

Adding a drainage system to an encapsulated crawl space

Some property managers also install a drain tile system to remove standing groundwater in the crawlspace. A drain tile system and a sump pump collect and channel excess water away from the foundation so that moisture can’t build up in the soil and cause problems. Since water causes most foundation problems, this is a good investment and will help ensure that the area outside the encapsulated crawl space stays dry.

An encapsulated crawl space means cleaner, healthier air inside the buildings you manage, and less time spent worrying about the potential foundation trouble of your property.

If you’re in our service area in Middle Tennessee, Southern Kentucky, or Northern Alabama, contact us today for a free inspection and repair estimate.

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