A crawl space is essentially a basement of limited height. It provides access to wiring and plumbing and can also be designed to improve cooling and heating of the home. Experts recommend that crawl spaces be insulated, and there are nine tricks that everyone should know about that process.
#1. Ventilated and Unventilated Crawl Spaces Have Different Requirements.
Your crawl space can either be unventilated or ventilated. That situation will determine the best way to insulate the area, the ideal materials to use and so forth.
#2. Closed-Cell Spray Foam is Multi-Purpose.
Closed-cell spray foam is often then material of choice for unventilated crawl spaces. It is an excellent insulator, but it also serves as a highly effective moisture barrier. Better yet, you generally only need about 2 inches of foam.
#3. Moisture Downstairs Means Trouble Upstairs.
The reasons that experts recommend ventilating, insulating and, in some cases, both is because excessive moisture in a crawl space means excessive moisture in the home. This can lead wear on paint, mildew, higher energy costs and more.
#4. Vapor Barriers Block Moisture.
Vapor barriers are a solid design choice for both ventilated and unventilated crawl spaces because they prevent moisture from rising through the crawl space and into the home.
#5. Vapor Barriers Are Generally Just Plastic and Sand.
Vapor barrier may sound high-tech, but they really aren’t. Often, the barrier is just a heavy-duty plastic laid on the ground. Sand is used to keep that plastic in place, and the plastic prevents moisture from getting into the crawl space and beyond.
#6. Only 60-Percent Humidity Is Need for Mold Growth.
Mold can occur within a crawl space with just 60-percent humidity, so that’s the target. Keep it below that level and you are good to go.
#7. Repair Cracks in Foundation Walls.
If you have cracks in your foundation walls, water will get in. That moisture will compromise your crawl space no matter how effective the barriers are elsewhere within it.
#8. Don’t Overlook Your Downspouts.
When insulting, don’t just look down. Look up and make sure that your gutters and downspouts are channeling water away from the home. If not, an investment here can make your crawl space much more cost-effective to maintain.
#9. Make Sure Dryer Vents Terminate Outside the Home.
We know better now but didn’t always. If your dryer vent terminates in the crawl space, it is worth the cost to move them.
Scenarios where crawl space insulation are not required are uncommon. Homeowners who have never insulated their crawl spaces may want to seek a professional consultation. Regular inspections are also a sound idea so that the insulation can be maintained and replaced as necessary.