It's not always easy to make the right decision. Especially when you're trying to decide whether or not a crawl space encapsulation is suitable for your home, some people say it's worth it, while others are convinced that they will regret their choice in the future.
The truth is that this type of project can be both rewarding and frustrating, depending on your specific circumstances. Here are some potential negatives to consider before making your final decision.
What Is Crawl Space Encapsulation?
Before we dive into the negatives, let's first take a step back and define what crawl space encapsulation is.
This type of project usually involves surrounding the perimeter of your crawl space with a thick layer of polyethylene plastic. The goal is to create a barrier to prevent moisture, pests, and other outside elements from entering the area.
Some homeowners choose to go a step further and install a dehumidifier to help control the humidity levels in the space. This can be especially helpful if you live in an area with high humidity levels or if your home is prone to flooding.
Now that we've clarified what crawl space encapsulation is let's look at some potential negatives before starting this home improvement project.
Cons of Crawl Space Encapsulation
Cost of Foundation Wall Insulation May Increase
One of the potential negatives of crawl space encapsulation is that it could increase the cost of foundation wall insulation. This is because you would need to add an extra layer of polyethylene plastic to the exterior of your crawl space walls in order to create a complete barrier.
This added expense may not be worth it if you're on a tight budget. However, it's essential to keep in mind that foundation wall insulation can also help improve your home's energy efficiency.
It usually costs $3 per roll of polyethylene plastic. So, if you need to purchase 10 rolls to complete the project, the total cost would be $30. For larger homes, the cost could be significantly higher.
The cost of materials and the cost of labor if you hire a professional can add up quickly.
This type of project is also not typically covered by homeowners insurance. So, if you experience any problems after the project is completed, you will be responsible for the repairs.
This is not to say that crawl space encapsulation is not worth the investment. But, it's important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before making your final decision.
You might Need To Upgrade Your HVAC System
If you live in an area with high humidity levels, you might need to upgrade your HVAC system after encapsulating your crawl space. This is because the added humidity can strain your AC unit and cause it to work less efficiently.
Upgrading your HVAC system can be a significant expense. So, this is something you'll need to consider before starting the project.
Once your crawl space is encapsulated, you'll need to be extra diligent about maintaining the area. This means regularly checking for leaks or cracks in the polyethylene plastic and repairing them promptly.
However, if you live in an area with high humidity levels, you might need to check the space more frequently. This is because moisture can cause polyethylene plastic to degrade over time.
Alternatives to Crawl Space Encapsulation
One of the most popular alternatives to crawl space encapsulation is a vapor barrier. A crawl space vapor barrier is a sheet of polyethylene plastic placed on the ground in your crawl space.
A plastic vapor barrier aims to prevent moisture from evaporating into the air and causing mold and mildew growth.
Vapor barriers are not as effective as crawl space encapsulation in energy efficiency or pest control. But, they're much less expensive and easier to install.
Does a crawl space dehumidifier work without encapsulation?
A crawl space dehumidifier can help control the humidity levels in your crawl space. However, it will not eliminate the problem. Crawl space encapsulation is the only way to create a complete barrier against moisture, pests, and other outside elements.
Does crawl space encapsulation add value?
Crawl space encapsulation can add value to your home. But, it's essential to keep in mind that the return on investment will vary depending on the market conditions in your area.
Does crawl space encapsulation save energy?
An encapsulated crawl space can help improve your home's energy efficiency by creating a barrier against outside elements. This prevents heat from escaping through the floor and keeps your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
In short, there are several negatives to crawl space encapsulation. These include the increased costs, the risk of moisture and mold growth, and the potential for pest infestations.
However, these negatives should be considered in light of the positives of the crawl space encapsulation system, including improved indoor air quality, reduced energy costs, and protection from water damage.
When deciding to encapsulate crawl space, carefully weigh all of the pros and cons to ensure that it is the right decision for your home.
David is the lead content editor at RVA Paving Pros, a service for Richmond VA residents. In his spare time, David likes to travel, read about business and visit the finest italian restaurants in town!
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