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Crawl Space Insulation

Mold Removal, Sealing, and More!

Protecting The Air That We Breathe!

Crawl spaces have all the characteristics of a basement minus the functionality. Starting from increased risk of exposure to hazardous particles to causing water damage to the entire building, there are more than a few ways in which a neglected crawl space can take a toll on the house and its residents.

One of the prominent complaints that pop up from owners of older houses is that their heating system is not working well. If the floor stays cold despite regulating the temperature means that your crawl space is the culprit. Without proper insulation and sealing, cold air gets trapped under your floors during winter and lowers the temperature of the whole house. Making your heating system work harder, it takes a toll on the household’s energy consumption rate as well.

There are many ways in which you can get started on rectifying this, but getting professional help is always recommended. Home inspectors will drop by to assess the level of damage that the crawl space has suffered and give you options on how to fix it. You can always try this on your own but an expert’s supervision goes a long way.  

How to insulate the crawl space yourself?

Following a crawl space inspection, look at all the damages you need to fix in the space. If you need to remove mold and mildew or cover up some exposed wires, get that done first. The next step is simple, find your way into the crawl space and even out the ground there. Make sure there are no rises or depressions for standing water. Once this is done, cover the entire underside of the house with thick sheets of plastic. It should cover all the way from the foundation to the areas surrounding the pier. 

With your choice of material, insulate the same space. Usually, fiberglass insulation is favored by people when they carry out this process on their own, but recently, spray foam insulation has been more popular. Use support wires or staplers if the material needs to be held in place. The process is completed with the crawl space enclosed. Sealed and encapsulated crawl spaces with vapor barriers and ventilation can be done to top it off.  

Which is the Best Insulation—Spray Foam or Fiberglass?

Fiberglass Insulation

This is the traditional and most common type of insulation found in older homes. Made of plastic and strengthened by fine fibers of glass, this material improves insulation to a level. It is used in the form of fiberglass batts and rolls to insulate everything from walls to crawl spaces. Compared to other materials available, fiberglass is a viable option for someone on a tight budget. If you are someone who has ample experience in the field, you can make the material on your own too. 

However, if you are going to pick fiberglass for insulating the building’s encapsulated and vented crawl space, it is a bad idea. The material absorbs the moisture and particles and makes the crawl space encapsulation futile. As it traps various particles and allergens, mold and mildew thrive in the fiberglass insulation. Moreover, when this fiberglass insulation is disturbed, it releases the materials that were previously absorbed and it can give the residents of the house various respiratory conditions. Disposing of the once used fiberglass can be extremely harmful to the environment.

With time, the fiberglass used for insulation sags due to gravity. The material also facilitates the flow of air through it. This means that if the underside of the floor is insulated with fiberglass, there are high chances that you will have fluctuating floor temperature and the energy efficiency of the building will fall.

Spray Foam Insulation

This is another type of insulation material that works wonderfully as insulation. When sprayed, the foam insulation expands almost 100 times and fills in all the spots in order to prevent the flow of air. Made from petroleum products, the spray foam is more durable than fiberglass.

Contrary to fiberglass, spray foam insulation is environment-friendly. Since it does not absorb water or particles, it prevents the growth of mold and mildew as well as pests. Thanks to its sealing properties, airflow through the material is nil and thus, the temperature is always maintained in the house.   

Even though foam insulation does not cause respiratory issues like fiberglass insulation, the odor after applying the material can be overpowering for some. Unlike the traditional approaches to crawl spaces, spray foam insulation is more elaborate and expensive. It requires the knowledge or supervision of an expert and cannot be done as a home project.

Problems Faced with Crawl Space Insulation

Locked in Moisture

When the plumbing and drainage of the building are malfunctioning or there is a flood or snowfall, the water content seeps through the walls, roofs, and the ground into the crawl space insulation. Conventional materials such as fiberglass are especially responsible for this. Moreover, once wet, it attracts mold and fungus thereby making the insulation material a breeding ground too

Cold Floors

Without the right kind of crawl space insulation, your floors are going to be cold in the winters and uncomfortably warm in the summers. Getting an air seal for the insulation is a must if you want to prevent this from happening.

Sealed Crawl Space
Wake County Crawlspace Inspection

Plumbing Complications

It is probably not a surprise to you that the plumbing of your house runs through the crawl space as well. If this space is not properly protected from the elements, it can easily influence the temperature of water in your house. The heater would have to work extra hard to compensate and your energy bills may go through the roof. At the same time, lower temperatures can lead to the bursting of the pipes and introduce moisture to the already faulty crawl space encapsulation and insulation.

Deterioration of the Material

If you are using materials like fiberglass insulation, the insulation will droop and fall down gradually. To make sure that you are not left open without insulation like that, schedule regular checks or invest in solutions like spray foam insulation.