Before beginning the process of insulating a crawl space, some questions need to be answered. For example, why is insulation needed? What materials are needed? How is insulation installed properly? Finally, who is most qualified to perform the task? Let’s tackle these questions so you are comfortable moving forward with crawl space insulation.
Crawl Space Insulation – Why?
Put simply, hot and cold air can easily escape your home without insulation. Consequently, it saves money in the long run to install it. Your heating and cooling bill will decrease dramatically after having insulation put in your crawl space. In addition, another benefit is better air quality of your home. Many benefits come from taking the time to install insulation. Therefore, it is important to find out what materials are needed to do the job correctly.
Why Have a Vapor Barrier Installed- Pros and Cons
Cons: There are a few drawbacks when considering installation of a vapor barrier. The first is the cost. Although costs vary, you will spend between $2,000 to $14,000. This, of course, will all depend on the size of your crawlspace. Another disadvantage is that vapor barriers are not a do-it-yourself job. This means you will need to hire a professional to come and install it for you. This will ensure the job is done correctly and quickly.
Pros: Despite the few downfalls, there are several advantages that come from installing a vapor barrier in your crawlspace. These advantages include:
Increased Energy Efficiency:
While not designed as insulation for a crawl space, vapor barriers can help to regulate temperatures in your home. In this way, your heating and cooling costs will be lowered and can reduce your bill up to 20%!
Improved Air Quality:
Vapor barriers are designed to keep moisture out (hence their name) but they also reduce the chances of mold growth in your home. They do this by keeping mold spores from circulating in the air of your crawl space and on into the rest of your home. This will lead to improved air quality in your home.
Vapor barriers prevent moisture seepage on your crawlspace walls and reduce the humidity levels as a result. This will prevent condensation from forming on pipes within your crawl space.
Keeps Floor Temperatures Constant:
No one likes walking on freezing hardwood floors in the winter but installing a vapor barrier can help to keep them warm during the cold months.
Increase Home Value:
Installing a vapor barrier can improve the value of your home. Since it reduces moisture issues, your home won’t have issues like wood rot and mold to worry about. These are very positive selling points.
As you can see, the positive far outweigh the negative when it comes to installation of vapor barriers. If you have a damp or moldy crawl space, it is important to get an estimate on installation of a vapor barrier.
Top 3 Types of Crawl Space Insulation
Fiberglass– When installed in crawl spaces, fiberglass is usually installed in the ceiling. This ensures to make a protective layer between the house and the crawl space.
Pros: You can cover large sections of space quickly. Additionally, it is one of the most inexpensive options.
Cons: If placed in a crawl space not cleaned and sealed properly, fiber glass can absorb moisture and loose it’s ability to insulate. It can also start to sag at this point and begin to be an environment where mold grows.
Foam Board– Similar to Styrofoam, these boards can be cut and shaped to fit wherever in your home.
Pros: Foam board has been found to generally deter water blocks the transfer of heat. Additionally, it is a less expensive option than other materials.
Cons: Although foam board resists water, there is still a drawback. Water has been found to become trapped between large sheets of foam board and walls. Obviously, mold can start to grow under these circumstances. Additionally, since large chunks of foam were cut, small cracks or holes still exist. Therefore, heat and energy can still escape.
Spray Foam– This is an expansive material that is sprayed (hence the name) and fills any cracks and openings before hardening in place.
Pros: Water resistant, mold resistant and unattractive to pests. This form of insulation can provide protection for up to 10 years, and is considered one of best insulation materials on the market.
Cons: It’s expensive. Although, many do choose to use spray foam because it pays for itself year after year by saving money on energy bills.
What Does it Cost to Install Insulation?
As we have already discussed, you have several insulation options, so the overall price of your project will depend on the materials you choose. However, the average cost per square foot is between $0.64 – $1.19. When you hire a professional, it will be an additional $300- $500 for 6 hours of labor. Call Complete Detail to get a better idea of how much your insulation project will be. We look forward to helping you!
Benefits of Properly Installed Insulation:
With insulating your crawl space, comes warmer floors. Have you noticed the floors right above your crawl space feel colder in the winter than in other rooms in your home? If so, many have had the same issue. The solution is almost always insulating to allow less drafting and keep the temperature regulated.
Improved air quality
A well-insulated crawl space will protect the walls and ductwork in your crawl space. Air will be cleaner as a result of having an insulated crawl space.
Proper insulation can also save you money on cooling and heating costs. Every time duct work leaks or condensation builds, your system must work to harder to cool or heat your home. This adds to a significant loss of energy and an overall inefficient system. Save energy by installing insulation!
By ensuring the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems, you use less energy. Of course, the less energy you use, the less you will have to pay each month. Who doesn’t want that! In addition, proper insulation can actually decrease the chances of pest infestation which will save you money also.
Should I Seal My Crawl Space?
Many wonder about sealing their crawl space. There is good reason for this. Water in a crawl space can lead to major problems. Encapsulations using vapor barriers are perfect for people who are experiencing water or moisture build-up in your crawl space. Additionally, sealing your crawl space in this way will improve the quality of air and overall home efficiency. Anyone who has duct work located in a crawl space will also benefit. Encapsulation works at protecting and partially insulating these ducts.
Improved Air Quality:
Because vapor barriers keep moisture out, they reduce the chances of mold growth in your home. This will keep mold spores from circulating through the air in your crawlspace to the rest of your home, improving the overall air quality.
Because vapor barriers are highly effective at preventing moisture seepage through the porous concrete that makes up your crawlspace walls, they can greatly reduce humidity levels in your crawlspace. This keeps condensation from forming on pipes in the crawlspace.
Keeps Floor Temperatures Constant:
Not only does increased energy efficiency in the crawlspace lead to lower energy bills, but it can also help to keep the above floors warmer during the cold months.
Increase Home Value:
Encapsulating your crawlspace will also improve the value of your home since it reduces moisture issues such as wood rot and mold in your crawlspace. This is a plus if you would ever need to consider selling your home.
While there are some drawbacks to investing in crawlspace encapsulation, they are far outweighed by the benefits. If you have a damp or moldy crawlspace, call Affordable Foundation and Home Repair today. We can clean your crawlspace with mold soda blasting and install a vapor barrier to keep moisture out. Get in touch today for a free estimate.
How to Tell When Humidity in a Crawl Space is at a Dangerous Level?
So, we know all the bad that can come from having too high humidity levels in your crawl space. However, how can you tell if the levels are too high? There is a tool called the hygrometer (yes, it’s a real thing) that measures indoor humidity. This is a great way to monitor the amount of moisture present. When using this tool, a professional will look to see if the humidity level is below 70%. However, as soon as it approaches 70%, it’s time to break out the dehumidifier. Keep in mind that properly insulating your crawl space and installing vapor barriers will help regulate the temperature and keep moisture levels down, resulting in fewer fluctuations in the air’s relative humidity. This will prevent mold, mildew, and rot in both the short-term and in the long run.
If you have further questions about your specific situation, call (937) 507-2927 or visit our Contact Us web page to make an appointment.