The crawl space is often the most overlooked space in the home. However, properly maintaining the crawl space of your home is vital to the longevity of your homes foundation and provides additional storage space.
To properly maintain the crawl space of your home, consider these 5 insulation tips:
1. Remove Ground Moisture
Spring and Fall often produce significant amounts of rain. Moisture from rain will seep into an unconditioned crawl spaces. If left unattended, the moisture will weaken your foundation and rot your floor boards.
Installing a simple French drain system in your crawl space, which will collect the water and direct it elsewhere, will solve this problem. If you have excessive amounts of water in your crawl space, you may consider installing a sump pump.
2. Install a Vapor Barrier
Most moisture in crawl spaces emerges from the ground. A storm may pass through the area, saturate the ground, and then evaporate in the heat of the day dampening the walls and floor joists.
Installing a vapor barrier over the ground will solve this problem. You will want to install a 20 mil polyethylene barrier. Anything less than 12 mil will tear easily.
3. Seal Around Vents
If you have moisture issues in your crawl space and have already properly cared for ground moisture, chances are the culprit is cracks around vents. Seal cracks around vents using an exterior grade caulking material.
If there are holes larger than a quarter around these vents or anywhere else in the crawl space, then you need to patch these holes with plywood. You can simply cut a strip that will fit from stud-to-stud over the hole, and then caulk the seams of the plywood.
4. Spray Foam
Spray foam is recommended for insulating the walls and overhead. Not only will the R-Value of spray foam applications (typically R-30 and above) protect your floor joists and foundational studs from rot and properly condition the space for storage of household items, but spray foam is impervious to mold.
5. Batt Insulation and Plastic
If spray foam is outside of your budget and you do not have the time to save up, then a cheaper option is to use Cellulose batt insulation with plastic over top. The reason for cellulose batt insulation is so it does not mold. You will want something that gives you an R-Value of at least 13.
Every homes crawl space is different. Depending on the moisture conditions and integrity of the space today, different solutions may be required. These 5 methods, however, are the most common.