Effective encapsulation can help prevent mold growth in crawl spaces, which can make your crawl space a health hazard. This is why it’s so important to have your crawl space properly sealed. Most people simply use a damp proofing compound like a paint or spray on a sponge mop and then cover the entire area with a plastic tarp. While this method of encapsulation will keep moisture at bay, it won’t keep mold from forming. Encapsulation makes your foundation stronger for longer years and helps prevent water retention, which can make your foundation crumble. If you’re getting ready to do some spring cleaning and need to know what steps to take to make your crawl space more safe, keep reading.
Before you do any work, it’s vital to have reliable home services that can install and maintain the proper barrier. A good contractor will have a number of options available. They can choose to use a paint or spray on membrane, rigid foam board, or even concrete footers. Deciding on what barrier you need depends on the size and location of your crawl space. For instance, if it’s located below the soil line, you probably don’t need anything more than a thin sheet of clear plastic sheeting connected to thick metal railings.
However, if you’re putting a slab of hardwood flooring on top of that same clay slab, you might want to consider a wood preservative like WoodMaster’s Surrounding Dryore. It will stop water vapor from condensing on the surface of the wood, preventing dampness and mold growth. The mold-fighting elements penetrate deep into the wood, stopping the moisture from leaking out and causing problems for your existing crawl space. A qualified contracting specialist will be able to advise you whether or not installing a barrier is necessary or if you should focus on simple damp proofing.
If your house has multiple floors, it makes sense to protect all of them from the elements, and crawl space encapsulation can help with that. Even one level basement could have problems with humidity due to weathering from the outside, combined with condensation that rises from below due to water leaking in from above. A properly insulated home with concrete floors can limit these effects, but the structure of basements leaves much to be desired when it comes to moisture issues. Wet or damp floors take up more space that you’d otherwise like, adding extra weight to the load you have to carry in order to keep your home in decent shape during the most active months of the year.
A properly insulated home also offers better air quality, allowing your indoor air to stay fresh and clean instead of being laden with pollutants. crawl space encapsulation not only prevents humidity from rising, it also captures odors. Having fresh air circulating through your house keeps your family from breathing in all those unwelcome smells. Some odors are even worse than others, and those cannot be trapped indoors. Humidifiers cannot effectively remove pollutants from the air, but an encapsulated crawl space does just that.
One of the major drawbacks to a home with a crawl space encapsulation is the lack of protection against pests and infestation. Moisture is the perfect breeding ground for molds and insects, and these unwanted occupants do not go away easily. If left unchecked, these critters can create a host of health hazards for adults and children alike. The moisture also breeds microscopic allergens that cause sneezing and coughing, as well as other allergies that can be serious and even life threatening. You’ll have no shortage of those allergens floating around if there are visible signs of mold and mildew on your floors and walls.
This problem is even more pronounced in the summertime. When the air is warm and moist, standing water creates ideal conditions for mold spores to grow. Allergen-carrying dust particles and dead skin cells collect in the vicinity of the vents and heating ducts. Without protection, these particles can float throughout the home and make people very ill, even if they have no history of allergic reactions to dust or mold. Mold spores are known to cause severe respiratory problems, particularly in those who are allergic to mold. Without crawl space encapsulation, these particles can become airborne, carried throughout the house and into the air where they are inhaled by everyone within range.
Even when you are diligent about cleaning on a regular basis and keeping surfaces dry, it’s a different story during the summer months. Your home naturally heats up due to sunshine, and any standing water you might have on your floors becomes a potential source of breeding grounds for bacteria. You’ll find that your efforts to keep dry are met with constant complaints from family members who become sick as a result. In addition to an increase in respiratory problems, you’ll find that mold starts to grow on cracks on your walls and ceilings. With crawl space encapsulation, you can limit the amount of moisture that seeps into your home and stay away from this dangerous situation.