Need for Crawl Space Encapsulation
Most crawl spaces in our area are humid and damp. That humidity and dampness can cause severe damage to homes over time. Think of air as a sponge that can absorb certain amounts of moisture. Once that moisture reaches a certain level, humidity travels vertically into wooden floor joists and subfloors. When the wood in crawl spaces reaches 16% moisture content, it can start to harbor mold spores and colonization.
Mold is a decomposer—its job in nature is to break down dead organic matter and return it to the earth. When mold attacks the home, it does the same thing. The enzymes that are produced by the mold break down these structures of homes.
Moisture also can wreak havoc on the structural integrity of homes. When moisture absorbs into the floor joist and subfloor reaches a point of 20% or greater, wood begins to rot even if there is no mold present. This is why it’s so important to keep crawl spaces conditioned.
It doesn’t end there. A condition called the Stack Effect occurs when air in the living portion of the house warms up, rises, and leaves through the upper part. This results in humid air from the crawl space being sucked up into the living portion. This air is not only musty smelling but it can be laden with mold spores—this can cause health risks. In addition, the air is heavy and makes the air conditioner unit struggle to move and condition the air.
Associated Services Cleaning and Restoration Services specialize in crawl space encapsulation. We use a 36mil ground liner. This is one of the thickest liners on the market. Most vapor barriers are loose laid and not seamed. Leaving gaps where the ground can be seen allows moisture to get into the crawl space. Our liner is overlapped and seamed using seam tape that is designed to bond to the plastic making it one solid piece of plastic under our homes.
The wall liner is a 11mil liner that is bonded to the foundation wall of the crawl space. Most other companies mount it to the foundation wall using plastic anchors that require pilot holes drilled into the foundation. In most cases there are over 200 anchors drilled into the foundation. We are different in that we don’t drill any holes into the foundation, potentially weakening the foundation. We bond the wall skirting to the foundation wall using a commercial adhesive. Once applied it won’t come off and only takes about two hours to cure to the wall. Even the pillars are wrapped and sealed. Also, if necessary, the door and frame to the crawl space may be replaced in order to create the tightest seal possible.
Associated Services Cleaning and Restoration Services uses only licensed electrical contractors to install dedicated plugs under the home to run the dehumidifiers. The dehumidifiers are crucial to keeping the crawl space conditioned. In order to keep the air less than 60% relative humidity. When air volume exceeds 60% relative humidity the wooden structure can start to absorb moisture and start growing mold. Depending on the slope of the crawl space we can mount the dehumidifier using a hanger kit or mount it on the ground using mounting pads. We then run the drain line either out of the crawl space through a vent hole or can run it into a sump pump to pump the water out that has been condensed from the dehumidifier.
If your crawl space has water intruding and ponding under your home this is a very serious situation and needs to be dealt with promptly. Not only adding the encapsulation but adding a ground water sump pump is needed. This device is installed in the ground and has perforated holes in the outer shell to allow the ponding water to drain in and be pumped out of the crawl space mechanically.
Associated Services Cleaning and Restoration Services
Our highly qualified team looks forward to working with you to encapsulate your crawl space. We’ll come out, determine your needs, and provide you with a free estimate. Give us a call at 850-681-3148.