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Best Ways to Maintain Your Crawl Space Encapsulation

Installing a vapor barrier in your crawl space is not enough to protect your home from moisture; you need to maintain it as well. Here is how you do that.

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If mold infestation and rusted pipes are a constant problem in your home, you may want to check your crawl space. So many issues in your house can be resolved with encapsulation. Cold and damp floors, moldy windows, and earthy smells are problems that should not be fixed with heaters, cleaning products, and scented candles. If you want them gone for good, you should encapsulate your crawl space. By laying down a vapor barrier, you can keep your crawl space protected from moisture, so the outside elements won’t be able to damage your home. Installing the barrier is not a big job and can be done by professionals in no time at all. 

However, after the encapsulation, you shouldn’t just sit back and relax, completely neglecting your crawl space for the next 20 years. Just like any other part of your home, the vapor barrier needs to be regularly maintained, or otherwise, it will become ineffective and prone to damage. On the other hand, if you take care of it, it will faithfully serve you for years to come. 

maintain your crawl space

Red Flags You Should Pay Attention to During the Crawl Space Inspection Checklist 

That small space underneath your house can easily become a source of large problems, so do not neglect it. Put crawl space inspection on your list of annual maintenance duties, so you wouldn’t find the problem when the damage is already huge. Some homeowners check the crawl space and the vapor barrier only when they wish to sell the house, but that is not a good strategy. Instead, do it once a year and bring a list of red flags with you so you know exactly what to look for. Some of the signs that something is wrong with the crawl space are mold and mildew, foundation cracks, rats, termites, mice, condensation, standing water, damp insulation, and warped materials. Some other problems such as electrical wiring, plumbing, and ventilation issues should also warn you that something is off. If you notice these problems in time, you will be able to fix them before they get out of hand. This way, you will minimize the damage and save a lot of money you would otherwise spend on repairs. 

When Is It a Good Time to Maintain Crawl Space Encapsulation? 

Should you take time to maintain the crawl space under your home in the spring, summer, or autumn? Since you don’t want to freeze or get a heat stroke, take care of the crawl space in the spring. That way, it won’t be too cold or hot outside and you will be able to comfortably perform maintenance tasks. However, there are some cases where you should check on the crawl space, even if it is not spring. For instance, if it has been raining for days, it is wise to get into that space and see whether it is dry or not. You should also do a quick check right before winter because something would have happened since the spring, and it is better to fix potential issues before the temperature drops. 

How to Maintain Your Encapsulation 

Just because you have installed a vapor barrier doesn’t mean your crawl space is completely secure. Seasonal changes can cause moisture buildup in the crawl space, so it is recommended that you install a crawl space dehumidifier. This way, you will be able to control humidity levels and prevent potential problems. 

You should also make an effort to check whether there are any air leaks around the crawl space door or ducts. If there are, moisture could enter the crawl space through them and turn your clean crawl area into a moldy mess. Therefore, make sure the doors and ducts are properly sealed. 

Some homeowners use the crawl space as a shed. Instead of putting their tools someplace else, they drag all of them to their clean and dry crawl space. This is a bad practice since sharp edges could easily damage the vapor barrier and make it completely ineffective. Also, ripping the vapor barrier can create an opening for pests such as mice and rats. 

The crawl space beneath your home isn’t a pantry, either. Don’t use it to store bags of flour and sugar, but instead keep them in the kitchen where they belong. If you move them down there, you will easily attract pests and end up with an infestation problem. 

Top Signs That Your Crawl Space Encapsulation Is Damaged 

Although encapsulation failure is never good news, there is one good thing about it—it is very noticeable. If your vapor barrier has been damaged, you will soon start to see moisture on your walls and floors, they will become cold and the paint will start to peel off, and your heating costs will suddenly become much higher. In addition, you will be able to see that the wood is changing its shape, and your house might become home to different types of rodents. If you notice a musty smell, it is a sign that you should check on the encapsulation, because something might be wrong. Any of these signs are good reasons to contact expert contractors in the Traverse City, MI, area and see what is happening with your encapsulation. 

Luckily, most of these problems can be easily fixed. After you have repaired the damaged encapsulation and dried up the air, they will disappear on their own. If you don’t think you would be able to properly inspect your crawl space and see whether there are any damages, call local contractors in Traverse City, MI. You should also contact experts if you are not sure what to do with damaged or moldy encapsulation. Don’t hesitate to contact the expert team at FSM to schedule a free inspection and repair quote. We will gladly help you repair the existing issues and could also help you maintain your encapsulation so it can protect your home for years to come.

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