Insulating Crawlspaces

Published on: Jan 09 2014 by

Crawl-space-insideFew homeowners want to spend time in the crawlspace under their house. Mold, fungus, and bacteria often thrive there. Some crawlspaces are so damp and humid that mushrooms grow. In short, you have good reason to avoid your crawlspace.

 

Surprisingly, crawlspaces were not always dark and damp places we think of today. In the past, they were more like small basements — dry and easy to access. Like basements of today, they allowed builders to easily access pipes and ducts that needed repairs.

 

Why are so many crawlspaces today damp instead of dry? The answer is in our construction materials.

Crawlspaces were originally used in homes with wood floors. The open, breathable wood floor allowed moisture to escape easily and prevent mold from growing in the crawlspace.

 

Today, when non-porous building materials like tile and linoleum are used on floors, moisture evaporates from the soil and become trapped in the crawlspace below. Heat from the house turns these crawlspaces into humid breeding grounds for mold and fungus.

 

Many home builders are unhappy with the status quo of damp, humid crawlspaces. These builders have found two methods that can solve these problems.

 

Vented Crawlspaces

Vented crawlspaces are common today. Many homebuilders tried to improve crawlspace conditions by adding vents. By allowing outside air to circulate within the space, homebuilders hoped that they could dry the area and prevent fungus and mold.

 

In some regions, vented crawl spaces were a success. Vented crawl spaces in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas rarely grow mold or fungus. The hot, dry climate in the Southwest means that moisture rarely gets trapped in a crawl space.

 

But vented crawl spaces are not a good solution everywhere. In the South, venting a crawl space actually made the problem worse: vented crawlspaces here are more humid and breed more bacteria than closed, conditioned spaces.

 

Conditioned Crawlspaces

Other builders advocate for conditioned crawlspaces. These areas have no vents and are sealed and insulated to prevent outside moisture from entering the crawlspace. Conditioned crawl spaces prevent mold and fungus growth in humid climates like the South and in damp climates like the Pacific Northwest.

 

Home builders that use the conditioned method believe that the crawlspace area should be treated as part of the building envelope. Instead of insulating underneath the floor and on top of the crawlspace, builders insulate around the perimeter of the crawl space. Installing a protective barrier on the ground or slab prevents moisture from seeping into the crawl space. An added bonus: conditioned crawl spaces can also cut down on energy leaks because heat does not escape through an un-insulated crawl space.

 

EcoFoil’s double bubble insulation is an excellent choice for insulating crawlspaces because, unlike fiberglass insulation, EcoFoil is not affected by moisture and resists growth of mold and other fungi. When installed on the bottom of 9.5″ floor joists you will benefit from an impressive R-17 of insulation value while simultaneously blocking moisture and other harmful vapor barriers.  Keep your floors warm and free of moisture by installing EcoFoil in your crawlspace.

 

To learn more about crawlspaces or order your crawlspace insulation visit www.ecofoil.com or call 1-888-349-3645.

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