The way to protect a home with a crawl space is to seal the crawl space with an encapsulation system. An Encapsulation Crawl Space System completely isolates your home from the earth and dramatically reduces the humidity level. In most cases, this has the effect of eliminating mold growth, rot, and critters from your crawl space, and making the whole house healthier.
Before encapsulating this crawl space, we treated the joists with an antimicrobial called Shockwave. This product is a hospital-grade antimicrobial designed to kill the mold and mildew growth.
This Bruington, VA client contacted us about repairing moisture damage in their crawl space. Moisture had caused mold and mildew growth, was absorbed in the insulation which held it against the floor joists, the material began to delaminate and fall away from the floor.
All debris and insulation was removed from the crawl space, microbial growth was treated, the vents, sill plate, & rim band were sealed, the foundation walls were insulated with closed cell spray foam insulation and a dehumidifier was installed to control the relative humidity. The homeowners no longer need to worry about moisture damage in their crawl space and have the added benefit of warmer floors in the winter and reduced drafts in the home.
We met this homeowner at a home show, where they asked us to come to inspect their crawl space because they were interested in encapsulating it due to moisture and mildew-mold concerns. This section of the crawl space is under an addition. The vapor barrier is unsealed, allowing moisture to rise from the ground and contribute to high relative humidity. Microbial growth is beginning on the floor joists and the fiberglass insulation is beginning to sag and fall.
The old materials have been removed, vents sealed, and the sill plate and rim band have been sealed as well. The CleanSpace vapor barrier has been installed with all seams overlapped and sealed. The moisture barrier is also run up the walls 6-8 inches above outside grade. The walls are prepped for spray foam insulation to be applied.
A homeowner in Henrico, Virginia called us out to insulate and seal their crawl space from any outside influence. We installed a heavy-duty CleanSpace vapor barrier over the dirt floor, wrapped it around all piers, and mechanically fastened it to the foundation walls. This will help to keep the earth's moisture from rising into the area and increasing the relative humidity. We also covered any open vents and applied a spray foam over the foundation walls, which at an inch and a half thick will act as an air barrier and vapor retarder. With the walls and dirt flooring sealed and insulated, the crawl space will be less affected by outside air and moisture.
As the insulation acts as a sponge, it holds moisture against the wood joists raising the moisture content of the joists. Mold requires organic material, warm temperatures, and relative humidity above 60% to grow. Often we see mold growing on the paper backing of the insulation and on wood joists in the crawl space. As the moisture content in the joists increases, the probability for wood rot becomes more likely. Once the joists reach 19% moisture wood rot begins. An antimicrobial called Shockwave is sprayed onto the joists to kill the mold. Once the encapsulation is complete and the dehumidifier is installed it will be set to turn on before the humidity in the crawl space reaches 60% (The ideal point for mold to grow). The Encapsulation system will help prevent ideal conditions for mold to grow from occurring and make the home healthier and more comfortable.
The finished liner is tough enough for you to crawl on it and use your crawl space for storage. Servicemen can crawl on it without worrying about putting holes or tears in the liner. It completely stops moisture penetration. The result is an attractive, bright, tough, impervious liner and a healthy home above it.