An unsealed crawl space is rather like having an open wound in one of the most critical areas of your home. Vulnerable to dampness, flooding, mold, and pest infestation, an unsealed crawl space can be the cause of a lot of damage and grief for homeowners. Thankfully, it is relatively easy to seal your crawl space with professional intervention, even in winter. In fact, waterproofing your crawl space before the spring could be one of the best things you do for your home this year.
“You Can’t Waterproof in Winter” and Other Myths
The most common myth that we hear about waterproofing is that it can’t be completed in winter. This is just not true.
There’s no reason you should avoid waterproofing your crawl space in winter. In fact, when you want to hire someone to do it for you, this time of year can be better, since contractors tend to have more availability. The only things that will really stop you from sealing your crawl space in winter are pre-existing damage and adverse weather conditions. In Florida, seasonal rains are the most likely thing to prevent you from effective encapsulation.
A second myth is that this is a one-and-done procedure. You see, while professional waterproofing will protect your home in the long-term, these products still need to be properly maintained and they do have a lifespan to consider. So, waterproofing your crawl space is more of a semi-permanent solution than a silver bullet, so to speak. Nonetheless, you will notice a sharp decrease in dampness, humidity, and odors in your crawl space when you invest in these solutions.
How Cold Weather Affects Your Crawl Space
While winter in Florida generally doesn’t get too cold (it’s rare to see snow, for example), the humidity can make winter dangerous for an unsealed crawl space due to an increased likelihood of condensation. When you start using your heating systems in winter will create an imbalance that results in condensation in certain areas of your crawl space. This can cause many issues, such as mold formation and an increased risk of wooden struts and supports beginning to rot. Furthermore, this can actually mean that your HVAC systems need to work harder to control and condition the climate in your home, causing a spike in your energy bills.
Get Your Crawl Space Waterproofed in Four Simple Steps
If you’re ready to take the plunge and seal your crawl space this winter, we recommend that you start with an inspection from Alpha Foundations. A thorough inspection of your crawl space will highlight any damage or structural issues you should be aware of before work begins.
After all, it’s better to know what issues you’re dealing with before you cover up any signs; if a serious problem goes ignored, the consequences could be dire.
If your inspection turns up nothing of consequence, there are four basic things you can do to ensure your crawl space stays dry and safe this winter.
- Vent Covers. You need high-quality, well-fitting crawl space vent covers. Good vent covers will keep dirt, debris, water, and pests out, and professional installation is both quick and effective.
- Interior drainage. If you have a problem with crawl space leakage, you need an interior drainage system to intercept this water and direct it to a sump pump system so it can be removed from the space.
- Foam Insulation. Once you have vent covers and drainage measures in place, you should get your contractor to install hard foam insulation. This wall panel insulation is cost-effective, durable, and easy to cut to size for installation as well as being water-resistant.
- Vapor Barrier. Finally, have a durable vapor barrier installed to complete the encapsulation. Like foam insulation, these are durable and relatively easy for a professional to install. Once this is done, you will find that your crawl space is dry and clean with a more controlled environment that will retain the heat or cold produced by your home HVAC system.
As a result, you will enjoy lower energy bills and you could even start using your crawl space as a storage space for seasonal items. Don’t wait until spring. Contact Alpha Foundations and ensure your crawl space is up to snuff this winter. It all starts with a free crawl space inspection and repair quote.