Crawl Space Insulation
A well-conditioned, properly sealed crawl space will increase comfort, save energy, preserve your home’s foundation, and reduce the risk of moisture and other potential irritants from entering your home. In essence, the keys to having an effective crawl space include:
- Controlling Moisture
- Making sure construction is airtight
- Complete insulation coverage
Why Should I Insulate My Crawl Space?
Crawl spaces are dark and damp spaces that many homeowners tend to forget. Because they are below the ground, crawl spaces contain many unwanted elements that can become hazardous when proper maintenance and care are neglected.
A problem that is especially common in older Colorado homes is that of moisture penetration. This problem is seen mostly in homes that feature a vented crawl space rather than a sealed one. With this setup, if there is not a moisture barrier in place, hot and humid air will enter the crawl space rather easily. When this air comes into contact with the floorboards and other surfaces that are cooler, the humid air will condense and turn wet.
This accumulation of moisture can be detrimental to your home’s structure. If the moisture becomes excessive, the wood structural elements of your home can become rotten and weakened.
Mold, Mildew, and Fungus
If the moisture in your crawl space isn’t addressed, it will soon produce conditions that are just right for mold, mildew and other harmful microorganisms. If the air within your crawl space enters your home, these harmful organisms will come along with it. Exposure to mold or fungal spores can irritate those in your home who suffer from asthma and allergies. They can also cause infections, rashes, and other serious medical conditions.
If your crawl space is not properly sealed, intrusion by unwanted pests such as rodents, insects, and others could become an issue. The warmth and moisture that comes with a ventilated, uninsulated crawl space can prove to especially attractive for pests.
Animals, in particular, can cause problems to the air quality in your crawl space due to their feces. Insects and animals such as raccoons and termites can both effectively destroy the structural elements. This could include important systems such as your HVAC or electrical wiring.
Poorly Installed Crawl Space Insulation
The energy efficiency of homes with poorly insulated or unfinished crawl spaces can be significantly impacted. The only way to take care of this problem would be to install a vapor barrier with insulation and seal all ventilation that allows outside air to creep into the area. As a result, you will be able to significantly reduce energy deficiencies in the space.
Benefits of Insulating Your Crawl Space
It is crucial that you not write off the importance of your crawl space. It contributes greatly to your home’s overall comfort an energy efficiency. At REenergizeCO, we have a solution to your crawl space problems. Some of the benefits of improving your crawl space insulation include:
Improved Home Comfort
If you are experiencing an issue with the rooms above your crawl space feeling much warmer or cooler than the other rooms around your home, the culprit is likely your crawl space. Insulating your crawl space will help temperature regulation, reduce drafts, and eliminate cold spots in the rooms above it.
Improved Air Quality
Earlier, we mentioned that poorly insulated crawl spaces could lead to poor air quality throughout the rest of the home. Well, with new insulation in your crawl space, you won’t have to worry about breathing in harmful spores and pollutants. Insulation will also protect the walls and ductwork throughout your home, keeping bad air out of your lungs.
Each time that air leaks from ducts or when condensation builds in your crawl space, your HVAC system is forced to work extra hard to regulate the air throughout your home. This leads to a significant loss of energy and renders your system virtually useless. Your crawl space is the second largest opportunity to save energy in your home aside from your attic, so it is important to have it adequately insulated by REenergizeCO’s insulation experts.
Insulating your crawl space with help ensure that the efficiency of your HVAC system is sustainable. As a result, your energy bills will decrease significantly because your system does not have to work as hard.
Having proper vapor barriers and insulation in your crawl space will create a virtually impenetrable defense against harmful bacteria and pesky rodents from entering your home. This will help you save money on expensive extermination jobs.
First, the thermal barrier (insulation) shouldn’t be in direct contact with the crawl space ceiling or the trusses of the floor above. We want the crawl space ceiling to be warm, so warm air must be able to move through it. We want to block the cool air at the point of infiltration from outside (the concrete exterior walls). Thus, we’d like to move the thermal barrier (insulation) to the exterior concrete foundation walls. If done correctly, we can insulate from the wooden rim joists above the concrete walls down to the vapor barrier.
This is reinforced poly plastic. We lay this seamless barrier over the exposed earth and tape it around all pylons and footers so no water, vapor, or gasses can enter the home. If you have a musty or earthy smell in your home, a vapor barrier will solve this problem.
Above your crawl space foundation walls, you’ll find the framing for the floor above. These trusses are supported by a rim joist that sits directly on top of the foundation. These wooden squares are usually 1 square foot each and 12-16″ apart. We can foam these with 3″ to stop cool air from infiltrating into the crawlspace above the foundation walls. These rim joists are a big reason why in-floor insulation doesn’t work. This is because the insulation is attacked from the side rendering the insulation useless because air moves through the insulation that was hung in the ceiling trusses. Spray foam will stop air infiltration.
This video shows how Casey installs crawl space insulation in a Denver home
Types of Insulation We Use
R19 ramset to the foundation
Can’t get wet, hard to maneuver in tight spaces, lots of labor to install.
Low pressure closed cell 2 component spray foam.
It’s a vapor barrier itself so water doesn’t affect it, only need 2 guys to run it, guaranteed great install as the foam does all of the work.
Need to be out of the house for 2 hours after the install for vapors to clear out. More expensive than R19.
At REenergizeCO, we have insulated countless crawl spaces in homes across Colorado. Our goal is to ensure that you and your family remain comfortable throughout the year, and a great first step is by insulating your crawl space. We pride ourselves and giving you the highest quality of service throughout the entire process.
Commonly Asked Questions About Crawl Space Insulation
Why is my crawl space wet?
There are many ways that water and moisture can find there way into your crawl space. Most commonly, it leaks through cracks in your home’s foundation and walls in the crawl space. Other common issues that can dampen your crawl space include improper ventilation, poorly constructed drainage systems and poorly sealed floors of the space.
Can vents keep my crawl space dry?
Many homeowners are mistaken in their thinking that vents help keep their crawl space dry. The thought vents allow for enough ventilation and breezes to keep moisture levels low is simply not true. These vents can be blocked by outside plants restricting airflow, and over time, cracks and holes can develop in the sealing around them. This damage will eventually allow water to collect and drip into your crawl space. This will cause severe damage to your wood, foundation, and insulation.
Is gravel or a vapor barrier enough to protect my crawl space from moisture?
Not exactly. If the dirt floor in your crawl space is covered with a layer of gravel or sand, moisture will still be able to find a way into your crawl space. A vapor barrier by itself will not protect your crawl space from moisture because it does not effectively seal cracks and holes by itself. To fully protect your crawl space, a combination of proper insulation and a vapor barrier is necessary.
Can the air in my crawl space get into my home?
Yes, it can with relative ease. Believe it or not, nearly 40% of the air that is in your home comes from your crawl space. If your crawl space is experiencing growth of mold, mildew and other harmful bacteria, spores can leak into your home and cause health issues to those within.