Encapsulation is a process in which the entire crawl space area is sealed. The foundation vents are blocked and the entire foundation wall is covered with rigid insulated Styrofoam board and is then taped at the seams. The entire crawl space floor and foundation walls are covered with a polyethylene moisture barrier designed for the crawl space environment.
The moisture barrier is taped at the seams using a UV resistant polyethylene tape so that no moisture can pass from the ground to your home. The concept is based on something called "the stack effect". This is a natural phenomenon of constant movement of air through the house. Essentially warm air rises and finds its way to escape into the upper areas of a house and then outside. As the warm air leaves the building, cool air rushes in through leaky windows, doors, and crawl space vents to replace it and repeat the cycle. The air in the crawl space gets sucked up into the living area bringing with it moisture, dust, mold spores and allergens. This effectively eliminates any possibility of meaningful cross ventilation and negates the possibility of allowing moist air to leave through the vents.
We've included a link to more technical data on this subject. You can also vent a small amount of warm air into the crawl space to further protect from moisture. One advantage of insulating the foundation walls is you have eliminated the need for floor insulation. We will evaluate your home and help you decide the right solution for your crawl space!
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In many ways: tiny cracks in the floors, around air registers, space around plumbing pipes, heating and air conditioning ducts & especially return air ducts. In fact research shows that up to 50% of the air in your home comes from your crawlspace. This infiltration brings with it odors, moisture, mold mildew, fungi spores or radon gas that is in your home's crawlspace.
Dirt crawl spaces provide a dark, damp, dirty environment that is rich in organic materials. These are exactly the conditions needed for molds, fungi, and other microbes to thrive. Many of these molds and fungi can cause illness or irritation as their spores drift up into the home's living space (individuals with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions are especially vulnerable).
These rodents are burrowing animals and they often enter the home under footings and into the crawl space. A concrete floor is an impenetrable barricade.
These insects can not be detected in the early stages of invasion without the special equipment. Termites have the ability to go undetected within your home, sometimes for years, eating away at the structure. Their stealth tactics of eating wood, when outwardly it looks completely uninjured, are the cause of their late discovery
Sometimes cracks occur from settling, and usually happen within the first three years of the home. Horizontal cracks may need structural repair, but most cracks are vertical and do not affect the compressive strength of the foundation. However, cracks on outside walls are subject to water seepage and should be repaired.