Are you a property owner wondering about the pros and cons of crawl space encapsulation? This is a fair subject to consider. One the one hand, preventative maintenance helps avoid foundation damage. On the other hand, you don’t want to pay for services your property doesn’t necessarily need!
To help you make the right decision about your home or commercial structure, note some vital information about crawl spaces. You can then discuss your options for crawl space encapsulation and waterproofing with a foundation repair contractor near you. In turn, you can rest assured that your structure is in good condition from top to bottom!
First consider the benefits of crawl space waterproofing in general. Next, you might note the difference between vapor barriers and encapsulation, and other protective measures. Then you can discuss the right option for your property’s pier and beam foundation and resultant crawl space!
As a crawl space is somewhat open and exposed to the elements, it can trap excess moisture under your structure. In turn, you might note some pros and cons of waterproofing that space in general:
The downside to waterproofing a crawl space is that your chosen method usually needs maintenance over the years. For example, you might need to mend tears in an encapsulation covering or replace worn dehumidifier parts.
First note the difference between crawl space encapsulation, a vapor barrier, and other such waterproofing measures. Encapsulation, as the word implies, covers virtually every surface of a crawl space with thick, waterproof sheeting. This sheeting then creates a capsule or seal around the entire crawl space.
In some cases, a contractor might also add insulation to a structure’s underside and the crawl space walls before the sheeting. He or she might also seal vents and similar openings, to reduce airflow into the space.
A vapor barrier is like encapsulation, but not as complete. While encapsulation covers a crawl space ground, walls, and the structure’s underside, a vapor barrier covers the ground only. This barrier blocks vapors and dew along the ground before they reach the structure’s underside. A vapor barrier also prevents airborne moisture from settling into the ground and creating added dampness.
A waterproofing contractor might also offer other methods for protecting that crawl space. For example, a dehumidifier removes excess moisture in the air. Also, a French drain directs moisture in the soil away from a structure. These are excellent for protecting a structure against damage.
Any waterproofing measure is better than not protecting a structure’s crawl space! However, you might note some advantages offered by encapsulation versus other solutions:
Property owners don’t often think of their structure’s crawl space, so it’s easy to dismiss the value of encapsulation. However, you might note why this work is worth its cost in terms of financial returns on that investment.
As with any home improvement project, quality materials and professional installation affect how long your crawl space encapsulation lasts. Many contractors offer a 15-to-20-year warranty on their work and materials. However, you might note some factors that can affect crawl space encapsulation durability.
First, consider that outside flooding can damage crawl space encapsulation materials and installation. Second, remember that encapsulation can protect against only so much moisture! In turn, it’s vital that you protect the encapsulation from damage due to excess soil moisture. For instance, install a French drain or sump pump where needed, to direct moisture away from your structure.
Also, remember that professional installation is likely to last longer than a DIY waterproofing project. Professionals use higher grade equipment, to ensure a secure installation. Additionally, a contractor knows where and how to attach encapsulating materials, for a secure fit.
A realtor or property appraiser can note whether crawl space encapsulation will add to your home’s value. However, consider the risks of not waterproofing your home’s crawl space and pier and beam foundation. Without proper waterproofing, you run the risk of moisture damage, mold, and pest infestation.
Also, without waterproofing, damp air might make its way to a structure’s interior. In turn, energy costs might spike, and you might notice musty smells and other unpleasant odors. That dampness can even risk standing water in rooms with concrete floors. All these issues can mean long-term damage to a structure, which lowers its overall values.
Above all, note that homebuyers usually prefer “turnkey” houses, meaning those where they can simply turn the key! Unfinished projects can often turn off potential buyers who don’t appreciate having to perform maintenance tasks after moving in. Consequently, crawl space encapsulation can often make your property more appealing to a wider range of buyers when you decide to sell.
Homeowners should never rely on a DIY crawl space inspection to decide if their property needs encapsulation. A professional inspection can spot signs of damage and needed waterproofing underneath your home. However, you might also note some indicators of foundation damage and needed repairs and encapsulation, including:
Also, consider your property’s age and surrounding soil conditions. While not all foundations weaken over time, older piers and beams are more likely to show signs of water damage. Additionally, moisture in the soil increases the risk of trapped humidity in a crawl space. If your property suffers from improper grading, it’s more likely to need encapsulation and other protective measures.
Encapsulation is an excellent choice for avoiding foundation damage along a structure’s piers and beams. However, it’s not the only choice for keeping a foundation in good condition. Check out some added suggestions for protecting a structure’s foundation from damage over the years:
If you’re in the market for a new home, you might wonder if you should consider one with foundation repair. Also, it’s good to think seriously about a home with foundation damage needing repairs! First, consider that many foundation repair methods last for decades. Second, note if you’re willing to invest in those repairs for a new home.
For example, if a previous homeowner invested in underpinning or leveling, those repairs should last for several years if not indefinitely. Those past repairs don’t necessarily indicate a weak foundation that will continue to suffer damage over time.
Additionally, make note of any preventative maintenance done by former homeowners. This includes crawl space encapsulation and other waterproofing methods! These simple steps can protect a foundation over the years.
Above all, talk to a foundation repair contractor and your real estate agent about any prospective purchase. He or she can advise on that property’s overall condition and past repairs. Also, they can note if current damage might affect the property’s condition overall. In turn, you can make an educated decision about any prospective property you might purchase.
Bowling Green Foundation Repair & Waterproofing is happy to bring this information about the pros and cons of crawl space encapsulation to you. We hope you found it helpful and informative! If your property needs expert fixes, call our Bowling Green foundation repair contractors. We offer FREE inspections and reliable repairs that last. To get your property started, call us today!