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How Long Does Crawl Space Encapsulation Last?

Crawl space encapsulation can protect your crawl space for years to come, especially when it is properly cared for. Here are the best steps to take.

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Crawl space foundations can easily become rotten, moldy, and humid areas. No one wants a dirty environment festering below their home.  

Thankfully, crawl space encapsulation barriers, also called vapor barriers, exist to combat this problem. At Foundation Repair of Western Colorado, our encapsulation system is a permanent and effective solution that will keep your crawl space well-maintained. 

However, despite their hardiness, vapor barriers still benefit from maintenance and attention. In this article, we will explore different ways to support your encapsulation system so that it can last for years to come. Let’s dive in! 

Why Does Someone Need Encapsulation? 

You may have heard about encapsulation before, or maybe this is the first time you’re learning about this process. Either way, it’s a good idea to understand why encapsulation becomes necessary for many homeowners.  

Basically, encapsulation is used to control moisture levels within a crawl space. Moisture levels most commonly rise within a crawl space for two reasons: dirt floors and open vents.  

Dirt Floors 

Crawl space foundations are often built right on top of soil. For that reason, most crawl spaces have floors made from the dirt around your property. Groundwater from storms, sprinklers, or gutters can be absorbed into the dirt below your home and eventually evaporate within your crawl space.  

Water vapor can cause many issues in your crawl space. Wood rot, mold, and efflorescence are just a few. Furthermore, unprotected dirt floors can allow bugs or other animals to burrow beneath outside soil and potentially reemerge under your home. 

Open Vents 

vented crawl space and bad insulation

Most crawl spaces are built with open vents along their walls. Those who designed these crawl space vents thought that increased air flow would circumvent many moisture issues. Unfortunately, vents have the opposite effect – they allow outside air to influence the air within a crawl space.  

When outside air is humid and hot, it travels through crawl space vents and does the same to your crawl space. When outside air is cold and dry, the same will be true in your crawl space. Encapsulation covers up these vents and keeps your crawl space controlled.  

Colorado tends to maintain a relatively dry climate, but it only takes a few instances of humid weather or a heavy storm to cause problems within your crawl space. As you can see, crawl space encapsulation allows your home to stay protected even during the harshest conditions.  

Factors That Determine Lifespan  

Now that we’ve reviewed why encapsulation is needed, we can address what determines a vapor barrier’s lifespan. We want you to be as prepared as possible when it comes to encapsulation, so we’ll outline a few different dos and don’ts for vapor barriers.  

DIY Projects 

One of the biggest things that can cause encapsulation to fail is a DIY project. While we know handy homeowners can solve many problems around their home, encapsulation requires specific tools and experience to get the job done properly. 

You might see vapor barriers at home improvement stores and be tempted to install it in your crawl space on your own. However, these store-bought barriers are often too thin to be effective. Usually, DIY barriers come in 6-mil or 10-mil options. In order to be effective, vapor barriers need to have a thickness of 20-mil to provide adequate protection against moisture.  

Another issue with DIY options comes with installation. Encapsulation only works if the vapor barrier is installed properly. Any misstep during the process can render your barrier useless as moisture continues to collect and damages the crawl space and the encapsulation system.  

Environment 

Climate and weather patterns can greatly impact the lifespan of an encapsulation system. Wet environments will cause an encapsulation system to work harder. Dry environments like Colorado may be easier on a vapor barrier, but they still provide some wear and tear. 

Even though Colorado may be on the drier side, encapsulation is still recommended. It only takes one heavy storm to wreak havoc on a crawl space, and the barrier will help deter pests from nesting under your home.  

Additional Tools 

Encapsulation isn’t necessarily the endgame when it comes to controlling moisture in your crawl space. In fact, there are plenty of tools that can support your encapsulation system and bolster moisture protection in your crawl space. Here’s a list of possible tools and our associated products: 

  • AquaStop™ Dehumidifier system 
  • SettleStop™ IntelliJack Stabilizing system 
  • AquaStop™ Sump Pump system 
  • CrawlSeal™ vent covers 

Our team is available to install any of these options for you. Not only will these ensure that your encapsulation system stays well-maintained, but they’ll also defend against moisture build-up in your crawl space.  

The Bottom Line 

While DIY options fail and environmental factors remain out of your control, Foundation Repair of Western Colorado uses the CrawlSeal™ 20-mil vapor barrier to protect your crawl space from moisture. Our encapsulation system is a permanent solution, but provide regular maintenance to the vapor barrier in case of emergencies. If you want to experience the benefits of a moisture-free crawl space, don’t hesitate to contact us.  

Plus, our team can provide regular check-ups on your encapsulation system. To find out more about our products, or if you have any additional questions regarding foundation repair solutions, explore more of our online resources

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