Since the crawl space is located below your home, it naturally soaks in moisture and the coolness of the surrounding soil. Some of it is transferred up to your home. This explains why the floor and walls feel damp or cold. When this happens, you will find yourself spending more energy just to keep the internal conditions bearable.
Thermal insulation could be the answer to increased energy costs and erratic internal conditions in your home. Not only does it help condition your home but it makes life more comfortable for the occupants.
Thermal insulation refers to the process of reducing the amount of heat that moves between two locations or objects. Usually, heat gets transferred through convection, radiation or conduction. This type of insulation incorporates a combination of specifically engineered materials and processes to achieve or to lower thermal conductivity. Insulation is applied to walls and floors. And depending on the material, different installation options suit varying crawl space needs. Done properly, this technique can keep the below-the-ground space in your home warm or cool depending on the external conditions.
Some of the common crawl space insulation materials include:
1) Fiberglass – It’s commonly used insulation. Typical fiberglass incorporates fine strands of glass that are woven onto insulation material. And this enables it to slow down heat transfer. Though it’s an excellent non-flammable insulator, it’s dangerous when it comes to handling and tends to soak in water.
2) Mineral Wool – It’s available in batts or loose fiber material. The main downside is it doesn’t have additives, so it’s not fire-resistant.
3) Cellulose – This is an eco-friendly and fire-resistant material, but it can be hard to apply. It’s usually made from recycled paper, cardboard and other organic material. Since the material is compact, it contains almost zero oxygen.
4) Polyurethane Foam – It’s super light and has a superb R-value of approximately R-6.3 per inch. In addition, it’s low-density, meaning it can be easily sprayed into areas like rim joists that have no insulation.
5) Polystyrene (EPS) – Available in two types, polystyrene is a waterproof insulation material with excellent thermal properties and a much smoother surface than other forms of insulators. It’s often cut into blocks.
What differentiates thermal insulators from other forms of insulation is the R-value (how well an insulation barrier resists heat flow), environmental impact, flammability, sound insulation, and of course prices. Thermal insulators reflect heat back to the crawl space, and this makes them useful in energy conservation. When installing yours, consider covering the floor framing system (rim joist) for maximum savings.
You’re probably wondering whether insulation has a direct impact on moisture levels. Yes, it does. The degree of wetting and drying of buildings and homes, whether floors or walls, is affected by thermal insulation. The thermal insulator material slows down heat transfer and this helps keep the interior of your home warm when the outside is cold and cool when the exterior is hot. As well as offering thermal resistance, insulation also reduces moisture migration and this properly tends to vary among various types of insulation. Your crawl space may become warm relative to its surroundings. Because of this, it will not accumulate moisture when the surrounding gets cooler.
We strongly recommend rigid foam as it doesn’t hold water and doesn’t contain organic food sources that could encourage mold growth. ExTremeBloc is an excellent option for those considering insulation. It’s an expanded polystyrene foam that incorporates graphite improving insulation by 24%. This insulation also can be used when encapsulating a crawl space with a vapor barrier.
Thermal insulation increases the R-value of the insulation used in the home and therefore can much better reduce the electricity utilization and the costs associated with the energy you use. On top of this, it has a silver radiant heat barrier with an R-value of R-11, one of the best available for your crawl space.
When shopping, consider the R-rating per inch. Higher is better. You also want to go for a material that’s easy to install and one that’s less messy. If there are obstacles or utilities, you’ll also want to make sure you can install the materials around them. Where there are crevices and cracks, go for a material that can expand and fill up all those openings. Your crawl can get wet and damp, so the material should also be waterproof and discourage microbial growth.
Need help with choosing an insulation material for your crawl space and applying it on the walls and floor? Schedule an inspection and get a free crawl space insulation quote plus solid recommendations to seal up your Denver, CO, crawl space.