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The North Dakota Guide to Crawl Space Encapsulation

Are you a homeowner in North Dakota who is tired of dealing with a damp, musty crawl space? If so, then crawl space encapsulation may be the perfect solution for you. Crawl space encapsulation involves sealing off your home’s crawl space to keep it clean and dry. Encapsulation offers multiple benefits, including improved air quality, increased energy efficiency, mold prevention, and avoiding structural issues. 

In this blog post, we will discuss why you don’t want moisture in your home’s crawl space, where crawl space moisture comes from, the pros and cons of crawl space encapsulation, and more. 

What Is Crawl Space Encapsulation?

Crawl space encapsulation is basically the process of sealing off your crawl space from outside elements like moisture, pests, and even radon gas. This is done by sealing the vents and then installing a thick, vapor-retarding barrier on the floor and walls of the crawl space.

Crawl space encapsulation is typically done by professionals, as it can be a fairly involved process that requires specialized equipment, materials, and expertise. But in the long run, it’s definitely worth the investment for ensuring your home’s health and safety.

For more information, see How Crawl Space Encapsulation Raises Home Value.

Moisture in a Crawl Space Can Cause a Lot of Damage

Moisture in your crawl space can cause a whole bunch of problems, including the following:

  • Mold – Moisture in your crawl space can lead to mold growth, which looks gross and can cause health problems for you and your family. This is because some of the air in the crawl space enters your home’s living area. 
  • Wood rot – Moisture in a crawl space can also lead to wood rot, weakening your home’s structure.
  • Termites – Moisture can attract termites that can chew away at the wood in your crawl space and eventually make their way into your home. Not good, right?
  • Higher energy bills – Having moisture in your crawl space can also lead to higher energy bills. This is because of something called the “stack effect,” which refers to when warm air rises and escapes through any openings in your home, pulling in cold air from lower levels. If your crawl space is damp and humid, that means the air being pulled in is also damp and humid, which can make your HVAC system work harder and use more energy.

Where Does Crawl Space Moisture Come From?

One of the main sources of crawl space moisture is open vents, which allow warm, humid air to enter the area and condense on cooler surfaces.

Another common source of moisture is the crawl space’s dirt floor. If your crawl space doesn’t have a proper vapor barrier installed, soil moisture can seep into the space. This can lead to dampness, mold growth, and other issues.

Cracks in your foundation walls can also be a culprit when it comes to crawl space moisture. Water can seep through and enter the crawl space if your foundation has openings or gaps. Poor drainage around the foundation only makes the problem worse. Additionally, plumbing leaks and other sources of water can contribute to moisture problems.

It’s important to address any sources of moisture in your crawl space, as excess dampness can lead to various issues. If you’re dealing with crawl space moisture, consider contacting a professional to help you identify and solve the problem.

Benefits of Crawl Space Encapsulation

  • Improved indoor air quality: Crawl space encapsulation helps improve air quality by keeping out moisture and preventing mold growth. This is especially important for people with allergies or respiratory issues.
  • Potentially save money on energy bills: Encapsulating and insulating your home’s crawl space can improve your home’s energy efficiency. This means you won’t have to rely on your HVAC system as much, leaving you with some extra cash in your pocket.
  • Ensure structural integrity: By encapsulating your crawl space, you’ll protect the wooden support structures from excess moisture and rot. This can help extend the lifespan of your home’s foundation and prevent costly repairs.

Cons of Crawl Space Encapsulation

The only real downside to crawl space encapsulation is that it can be pricey. While crawl space encapsulation may require a bit of an investment upfront, it’s definitely worth considering, given the long-term benefits. Most contractors, including Innovative Basement Authority, offer financing options to help make the cost more manageable. 

Crawl Space Encapsulation – The Step-by-Step Process

Step 1: Preparation

The crawl space encapsulation process begins by clearing the crawl space of any debris. The area is then inspected to see if there’s any damage to the wooden support structures or the foundation wall.  

Step 2: Insulation and Vapor Barrier Installation

The next step is to seal the crawl space vents, add insulation, and install a high-quality vapor barrier on the floor and walls.   

Step 3: Add a Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier will help ensure the humidity level in the crawl space remains low.  ‘

Want to Step It Up a Level? Consider a Crawl Space Drainage System

Since poor drainage around the foundation is one of the leading causes of crawl space moisture, installing a crawl space drainage system in addition to encapsulation can make sure your home’s crawl space remains clean and dry. 

What Is a Crawl Space Drainage System?

A crawl space drainage system is a network of buried drainage pipes that collect and channel excess groundwater away from the foundation. The system is installed around the inside perimeter of the crawl space, and catches excess groundwater and funnels it to a sump pump which then pumps the water away from the foundation. 

Other Ways to Help Keep Your Crawl Space Dry and Prevent Problems

  • Regrade your yard – This means ensuring the ground slopes away from your foundation. That way, water will not accumulate around your home’s base.
  • Install downspout extensions – These little devices help redirect rainwater away from your foundation. 
  • Clean your gutters regularly – This will prevent them from becoming clogged with debris, which can result in water spilling over the side of your house and soaking into the ground around the foundation. 

If you’re considering encapsulation for your North Dakota home, contact us today to schedule a free crawl space inspection and receive an estimate! 

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