Your crawl space
is one of the most important areas of your home. It is vital to the long term health and structural integrity of your home that your crawl space area be maintained. At the same time it is probably the most neglected area of your home. The crawl space is generally avoided by most homeowners and thus is not inspected and maintained as it should be. Hot summer temperatures, high humidities and limited airflow create the perfect environment for moist conditions ripe for mold and mildew growth. Heating and Air ducts and equipment are put under tremendous stress in these conditions. Mold, mildew, rotting wood, poor air quality in the living space, odors, and cupping or buckling flooring are just a few of the issues that may arise in a poorly maintained crawl space.
We at Carolina foam pros are here to help. It’s really a simple solution that is unfortunately not understood by many current contractors – by sealing the crawl space, changing the thermal envelope, and creating semi-conditioned space in that area of your home, you gain control of the moisture. This is generally referred to as an Encapsulated Crawl space. We see many crawl spaces that are said to be “encapsulated”, but rarely are. Plastic sheeting rolled across the ground under a home is entirely inadequate to protect against moisture in the humid coastal climate of South Carolina. The only way to truly control your crawl space environment is to eliminate all outside influences, and that requires an unvented, completely sealed, semi-conditioned crawl space.
Encapsulation is a multi step process and can generally be finished within 1-3 days depending on the size and scope of the job. While every job is different, a general outline of our process is listed below.
- Free visual inspection of home site. Visual inspection of drainage outside of the home. Elevation changes, poorly maintained gutters (or lack thereof), and even vegetation can lead to homes being inundated with moisture in the crawl space.
- Free crawl space inspection. Visual inspection of the crawl space to include the condition of the insulation, floor joists and subfloor, HVAC equipment, and general topography of the ground under your home. In addition, we test current conditions under your home (Temp, RH%, Moisture Content of Wood).
- Design a plan that fits your home and budget. We have several products and grades of materials to choose from and will work to find a solution that solves your problem while meeting your budget at the same time.
- Clean out. The crawl space is put under negative pressure using exhaust fans to minimize dust, mold spores, and insulation particles from entering your home. Existing fiberglass insulation in the subfloor of the home is removed and disposed of. By encapsulating we are moving the thermal envelope of the home down the foundation walls instead under the subfloor as is traditionally done. The ground under your home is then cleaned of debris, raked, leveled, and graded.
- Mold treatment and cleaning. We have several locally made non-toxic, low odor mold and mildew cleaners to choose from depending on the severity of the problem. This generally only requires spraying cleaner on the subfloor and floor joists, but may require scrubbing in extreme conditions.
- Walls and Piers. A poly-vapor barrier is attached to the foundation walls and support piers using a local proprietary adhesive, completely sealing them to the block or brick. WE DO NOT use mechanical fasteners. Not only does our method make a complete airtight seal, it doesn’t weaken your foundation with unnecessary holes in the blocks or bricks.
- Floor liner. The floor area is covered with a poly-vinyl liner, overlapped with the wall and pier curtains, and taped with high strength tape for a complete airtight seal We have several different floor liners to choose from depending on the application and your budget.
- Insulation and sealing of perimeter walls: All gaps and penetrations to the outside not already sealed behind the wall curtain are caulked or hand foamed. A 2” average (R13) of FEMA approved closed cell spray polyurethane foam is applied to the exterior foundation walls leaving room at the top and bottom for future termite inspection. Removable R-13 batt insulation is installed into the rim joist area, again for future termite inspection.
- Dehumidifier installation: Install an industrial grade Aprilaire dehumidifier backed by a full 5 year warranty. We use several drain methods depending on the application and area. We provide an remote temperature and humidity sensor for you to periodically monitor the environmental conditions of this newly improved space.
- Crawl space door. We offer weather resistant PVC crawl space doors with stainless steel hardware that won’t rot or rust!
- Final Inspection. Upon completion of the encapsulation one of our trained technicians will perform a visual inspection of all seams and attachment areas and complete a “dark test” looking for daylight or penetrations in the sealed space.
- Homeowner Debriefing. Each homeowner is provided a binder with warranties, owners manuals, technical data sheets, and other pertinent information related to the work completed on the home and given an overview of what to expect from their new high performance crawl space.
- Unvented crawl spaces in flood zones. We install FEMA approved engineered sealed crawl space vents. These vents provide a complete air seal while still providing the hydraulic pressure relief that is required of foundations built in FEMA designated flood zones. Don’t know if you’re in a flood zone? We can help you with that as well!
- Sump Pump. We install industrial grade Liberty sump pumps. The pump is installed in an engineered below grade basin and will remove water that collects under or on top of the floor liner.
- Service Contract. We offer an extensive annual service contract providing two site visits and and a multi-point check up. We inspect your crawl space for breaches or moisture in the sealed area, take readings of environmental conditions, inspect your HVAC system for signs of moisture or rodent damage, service and clean the dehumidifier filter cartridge and replace the batteries in the remote monitoring system.
Carolina Foam Pros is dedicated to customer satisfaction. All of our work is permitted and inspected. A contractor doing unpermitted work could cost you thousands of dollars down the road, and it is illegal. All of our work is backed by a full one year warranty and all of our mechanical equipment comes with the full manufacturers warranty. There are many companies to choose from for crawl space work, but it is our attention to detail that sets us apart from the competition. Give us a call today for a free estimate.