Crawl Space Encapsulation Raleigh
1 Tips For a DIY Crawl Space Encapsulation Raleigh NC
Tired of that funky, unidentifiable smell wafting from your floors?
The scratching sounds of uninvited four-legged guests from below? The sense that no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to heat or cool your home to your preferred temperature?
Encapsulating your crawl space is a straightforward way to deal with many of these problems. A clean, sealed crawl space with a high-performance vapor barrier can eliminate odors by impeding mold growth and improving indoor air quality, blocking entry to rodents and insects, and helping ease the latent load on your HVAC system – improving its efficiency. The resulting space can also provide additional room for storage beneath your home.
TOOL: The crawl space Encapsulation Best Practices DIY Guide
This step-by-step guide for those of you who want to attempt your own crawl space encapsulation DIY Project. We will identify the materials, techniques and shortcuts to properly encapsulate your crawl space.
Let’s Go Over What A Crawl Space Encapsulation entails
START TO FINISH: 8-10 hours for two people to complete 1,000 square feet
DIFFICULTY: Moderate to High (Difficulty is partially dependent on the amount of clearance your crawl space has. The tighter the work area, the more difficult)
INVOLVES: Cutting, drilling, taping, working in tight spaces
What you Are Going To Need For your Crawl Space Encapsulation Project.
- Plenty of lighting: flashlight, headlamps and/or utility lamps
- Utility Knife
- Drill with masonry bits
- Measuring tape
- Work gloves
- Protective eyewear
- Trash bags
- Disposable breathing mask
- Knee pads
- Rubber paint roller (optional – refer to *Pro Tip below)
- Crawl space vapor barrier or retarder
- Vapor barrier seam tape
- Double-sided construction tape
- Termination bars or other mechanical fasteners
- Concrete Screws
Watch our video for a step-by-step guide on how to encapsulate your crawl space using StegoCrawl products.
The installation methods summarized in this video are not intended to replace the complete installation instructions available here.
Step #1: Crawl Space Preparation
This might be the hardest part of the job, depending on the age of your home and its previous owners: cleaning out the crawl space to prepare it for encapsulation.
Chances are, your crawl space is not an area of your home where you spend a lot of time – at least we hope not. You may discover, however, that many other living things have found the area beneath your home to be ideal for acorn storage, breeding or eternal rest.
We also cannot help you find a new home for the very old, rusted-out equipment abandoned there for the past several decades by a previous owner. Don’t dismiss that junk too quickly, though; sometimes crawl spaces are full of treasure.
While, sometimes arduous, cleaning and clearing the crawl space will provide a good “wellness check” for your home.
🔧TOOL: 10 Helpful Tips to Help You Prepare for Your Crawl Space Project
Prep Step #1: Avoid Standing Water
The first thing you’ll need to look for is standing water – you don’t want to risk electrocution when you bring power and/or lighting into the area to get the job done. If you have standing water, you’ll want to consult a professional before entering the crawl space.
Prep Step #2: Clean and Clear the Crawl Space
Once it’s safe to enter, get that crawl space clean and clear of old poly, old/wet insulation, sharp rocks or other debris. Most building codes require the crawl space vapor barrier to be used on the ground. This even applies where you plan to use rigid insulation – install the vapor barrier on the ground first. For your own safety and comfort while working, get this surface as smooth as you can.
Prep Step #3: Crawl Space Wellness Check
You’re almost ready to start, but it’s best to finish that “wellness check” before you move forward. This includes things like loose wiring – do you need to call an electrician to check anything out? How are the pipes – do you need a plumber? What about wood rot and/or termite damage? Always best to engage the professionals first, now that you’ve provided them a clear path to get to any problem spots.
Prep Step #4: Conditioned Air
One final step before getting started: you’ll need to determine how the air in your crawl space will be conditioned. Whether you need items like a dehumidifier in the space may determine how and where you locate your insulation and drainage.
With a clean and clear crawl space, you’re ready to begin your crawl space DIY encapsulation project!
Step #2: Getting Started with the Walls First!
So that you’re most efficient with your material, you want to address the vertical surfaces first. The wall liner, which will be in a fixed position, will eventually tie into the horizontal ground cover.
So, the foundation walls are the best place to start to ensure excess material from your wall liner that turns onto the horizontal plane is overlapped with the ground vapor barrier at 6” (further explanation below).
Note, it’s important to leave a small gap at the top of your masonry walls to comply with your local building code. If your local building code does not specify the size of the gap to leave at the top of your masonry walls, leave three inches exposed for your termite inspector to do their job.
Start by applying the double-sided construction tape to the masonry wall. This super-sticky double-sided tape will effectively hang your installation in place until you can secure it with a mechanical fastener, such as a termination bar.
Remove one side of the release liner a little bit at a time – move slowly along the wall, pressing the adhesive down firmly to ensure you’re moving in a straight line and to avoid a sticky mess.
*Pro Tip: Before removing the second release liner, to make sure the double-sided tape is really pressed into the wall, go back and forth over the double-sided tape with a rubber paint roller.
Once you’ve applied the double-sided construction tape to your masonry wall, remove the exposed release liner to get ready to apply the vapor barrier.
Pro Tip: Find a lightweight vapor barrier roll intended for vertical surface application. When looking for a vapor barrier manufacturer, it’s best to choose a product offered in a variety of rolls sizes and dimensions for ease of installation.
Unroll the vapor barrier along the vertical wall and apply it to the exposed, double-sided tape. Remember, this tape is sealing your crawl space from harmful moisture and odors, so apply it firmly and evenly around your masonry walls.
Make sure the vapor barrier extends higher than the double-sided tape. Once the vapor barrier is stuck to the walls, you’ll want to secure it to the concrete with a mechanical fastener like termination bars.
Most masonry screws require you to pre-drill a hole into the concrete wall. If your termination bar has specific holes to hit, hold the term bar in place as a template to mark your holes with a marker.
Pro Tip: Drilling through masonry can be difficult and time-consuming, so consider renting a powder-actuated gun from your local tool rental or home improvement store to speed up your project!
Step #3: Pipes and Penetrations – Keep it Simple.
Don’t roll out that vapor barrier yet! Again, the most efficient way to encapsulate your crawl space is to address all the fixed position areas first so that holds true for any pipes or other utility penetrations going from the ground into your house.
It’s best to work around these tricky spots with small detail patches of material. By sizing the vapor barrier to each penetration and cutting slits in the material to fit around tight spots, you’ll save a lot of time and effort trying to roll out material in these areas.
Then tape everything down with seaming tape. Remember, your completed installation will create a monolithic seal of your crawl space from vapor and soil gases. This includes your pipes and other penetrations, so seal the vapor barrier tightly around each pipe or penetration with the seam tape.
Step #4: Columns – You’ve Got This
If your crawl space includes columns – typically masonry – you’ll want to prepare these next.
Good news: you already know how to do this. Prepare the columns the same way you prepared the foundation walls, using double-sided construction tape first, the same lightweight/smaller vapor barrier used on the vertical walls, and termination bars.
Pro Tip: While your foundation walls probably included enough vapor barrier material to lay flat on the ground, this excess material can make columns a little trickier. At each corner of the column, cut a relief slit into the material so it lays flat. This will allow for a tight, four-sided encapsulation of the column while also providing you a nice seaming target to use when you roll out the material on the ground.
Step #5: Almost There – Time for the Roll Out
If you’ve followed these steps, now it’s time to roll out the vapor barrier to completely cover the surface of your crawl space.
Pro Tip: Some manufacturers provide a range of roll dimensions and a wider roll dimension for the ground cover could save you time, effort, and materials like seaming tape.
Whether you’re overlapping two seams of material, running up against your walls or other detail work, be sure to overlap every seam by at least six inches.
Tape down all seams with seaming tape and you’ve done it!
Just in Case: Some Other Variables to Consider
This step-by-step encapsulation guide covers most crawl spaces we’ve encountered. There are, however, other scenarios you may encounter, like crawl space vents. Don’t despair, we have a guide for that, too!
TOOL: 10-Point Checklist for Common Crawl Space Building Codes
Congratulations! You’re on your way to turning your dank crawl space, replete with smells, junk and critters into a healthier environment that will benefit the entire home above it. An encapsulated crawl space can do wonders for your indoor air quality, pest control and energy efficiency. While you still won’t be hanging out down there (we hope), enjoy!
Are you wanting to take your inefficient, dirty, and possibly unhealthy Crawl Space below your home? and save energy, protect your family against mold causing moisture,
soil gases, and contaminants, and provide a clean space to store materials beneath are home?
first ensure that your crawl space is free of all standing water,
clear the crawl space of any trash that can cause orders.
Remove any sharp rocks or debris in-order create a smooth surface.
Plan to encapsulate your crawl space up to the interior foundation wall
leaving a 3-inch gap from the top of the masonry wall
or in compliance with your local building code.
I recommend that you use a 5-foot-wide roll for easier vertical application,
the crawl wrap role is folded in half therefore, making it easier to maneuver in the tight spaces of your crawl space.
to completely seal the wall first apply double sided tack tape to the foundation wall.
then, release the wrap on the exposed side to a fixed crawl wrap
in corners, continue the wrap along the vertical wall so that there’s no interruption in the seal of the liner to the vertical wall
on the horizontal plane.
This should create an excess of material.
Neatly fold the excess material into a triangle
lay it down on the horizontal plane.
There should be no ground exposed but tape the seams down with your seam tape anyway, so you can have a nice clean and professional look.
next install the termination bar over the top and wrapped in-line with the tack tape.
place the termination bar along the wall where you intend to attach it and mark the areas with your marker where you need to pre drill your holes into the foundation
then, set the term bar aside.
with your a masonry bits drill your holes,
fasten the termination bar in place with masonry screws to ensure a solid connection.
Then, address the columns in your crawl space the same way
then, apply tack tape at the desired height of the column then, wrap around the column,
sealing it tight against the tack tape.
Cut relief slits in the material at the bottom so the material can lay flat on the ground.
After the walls and columns are done focus on any places where there will be a permanent penetration of the vapor barrier, like pipes.
cut your crawl space wrap to snugly fit around each penetration
then use the seam tape to seal the vapor barrier to the penetration.
Making sure to also close any gaps between the earth and the crawl space above.
Horizontal penetrations can be tricky,
with a square of crawl space wrap cut a hole in the middle about the size of pipe penetration.
Extend a slit from the hole you created to the perimeter of the wrap.
place this pipe boot you created snugly around the penetration
and seal the slit you made with a piece of tape
to secure a 6-inch overlap around that split
slide a separate apiece of vapor barrier under the horizontal pipe
secured the second piece of vaper barrier in place with the seam tape on both sides of the penetration
tape the top and sides of the penetration completely
to take the bottom side of the penetration.
fold the seam tape into U shape,
slide that tape beneath the penetration into the void space as far as possible
and uncurl the tape and press e flat Tonto the pipe in the other strips of tape
once you finish this detailed work line the entire foundation of your crawl space with the crawl wrap
keep the right flat on the surface and overlap each scene by at least 6 inches and then seal with seam tape
the result is a clean dry and seal area
that can improve the indoor air quality of your home
and make your heating and cooling system more efficient.