It’s natural when you first build or move into a new home to make sure that you have your insulation in place. However, you may overlook your crawl space on your first pass. Your crawl space requires just as much care and attention as any other part of your home if you want it to remain structurally sound.
Is crawl space insulation really that important? What benefits can an installation include, and what does that process look like?
The insulation used throughout your home helps you control your house’s internal temperature. In your crawl space, insulation can provide much the same service while helping you get rid of unnecessary moisture. Thermal insulation works to protect any pipes in your crawl space from rapidly changing temperatures outdoors. That insulation can also create a physical and chemical barrier between your home and rain runoff, if you choose to use it in such a capacity.
These spaces are more sensitive than they may first seem. If your crawl space starts to suffer structurally, you may find your home losing value and your bills rising. By insulating your crawl space, you can not only protect it against the changing weather but also help keep it healthy enough to protect the rest of your home.
The process of installing insulation in your crawl space can be lengthy, especially if you have pre-existing damage on your hands. That said, you can readily take on the challenge with the help of a crawl space professional in the Denver, CO, area.
Here are the steps contractors will take:
Step 1: Drain Your Crawl Space
You cannot effectively waterproof a crawl space that’s currently flooded or otherwise moist. You’ll need to work with area contractors to rid this space of as much moisture as you can to safely install your insulation. Dehumidifiers can serve as effective aids if you want to help reduce the moisture in your crawl space. You may need to remove water by the bucketful or get a sump pump if you’ve let any damage go unattended for too long.
Step 2: Repair Cracks or Other Damage
Speaking of damage, you’ll always want to make sure your crawl space is structurally sound before investing in insulation. Work with the contractors in your area to fill in cracks, apply wall reinforcement measures, or otherwise maintain your space.
Step 3: Protect Your Vents and Doors
In order to properly insulate your crawl space, you need to seal it off from the outside world. Open vents and doors let in water, moisture, unconditioned air, and pests that will wreak havoc on this below-ground space. Close off vents with vent covers and make sure any doors are airtight and secure.
Step 4: Invest in Waterproofing as Necessary
If moisture or water intrusion are lingering issues in your crawl space, you need to nip them in the bud before proceeding with any other installations. An interior drainage system and sump pump will collect and remove any water, and a dehumidifier will better control moisture and humidity in the space, thus helping keep your insulation in tip-top shape.
Step 5: Insulate
Next, you can take the necessary steps to insulate your crawl space. You’ll want to speak with the contractors in your area to determine what kind of insulation, be it liner, foam board, or more traditional fiberglass, may best suit the needs of your home. Be aware, however, that soft fiberglass insulation commonly fails and falls victim to mold growth and pest infestations. Instead, invest in a more reliable method like rigid ExTremeBloc™ panels that are waterproof and resist pests like termites. This type of insulation is also best to use because you’ll soon see the benefits of the process as your energy bills begin to become less expensive.
Step 6: Encapsulate
It’s best to pair your insulation with other waterproofing methods, and that is why the final step of protecting your crawl space is sealing and isolating it from the earth. This is done by encapsulating it with a vapor barrier. A crawl space vapor barrier is a thick, plastic-like material that’s dense enough to drive away both water and gas. The best type of vapor barrier to use is a 20-mil thick material. Because it is so thick and durable, it can aid in the insulation process and help make your other insulation’s lifespan a little bit longer.
Because this process is complex, it’s always a good idea to work with an area professional to explore your crawl space repair options. In Denver, CO, you not only have to contend with spring water runoff but with droughts in the summer as well. A contractor in your area can help you determine what crawl space additions, including home insulation, can keep your interior damage to a minimum. You can reach out to the expert team at Complete Basement Systems for a home inspection and a free services quote on any repairs or installations you may need.