The crawl space in your home should be treated like a miniature basement. According to Wikipedia, the definition of a crawl space is an area of your home that you can not stand up in. It is often used a storage space for items that are not used often or for access to pipes and other underground structures. However, it is generally better to seal this area off from the rest of the house. There are several advantages to insulating and sealing your crawl space with spray insulation or rigid foam. A sealed crawl space is far healthier and more energy-efficient than those with regular dirt floors or those that are vented. Two common materials used to seal crawl spaces are concrete slabs or polymer liner for the walls and floor. The list that follows summarizes five advantages of using a wall and floor liner in a crawl space to seal it.
Keeps It Drier
Because a crawl space is a smaller version of a basement, it’s prone to the same moisture issues that ordinary basements are. It is a generally wet area that’s prone to mold growth, so sealing it off prevents these moisture problems from occurring. This means your home’s living space will be less humid as well. Look for products that are treated for mold and mildew resistance.
Save Money on Energy Costs
By sealing off your home’s crawl space, it prevents home heating from escaping in the winter and prevents moisture buildup in the summer when hot, humid air comes in contact with the cool floor above it. Having your crawl space lined will also help prevent frozen pipes in extremely cold temperatures.
Easier to Install and More Effective Than Concrete
While concrete can sometimes be a viable option, in such a tight, small space it’s hard to work with and pour so that it’s perfectly level with the ground. And, there are some experts who believe concrete crawl spaces will only add to a home’s moisture problems because moisture can pass through concrete. Therefore, it is preferred for homeowners to use vapor barriers or polymer liners on the walls and floor of a crawl space to seal it effectively. Many versions of wall and floor liners are easy to cut and shape around any pillars or pipes that may be in the space.
Plastic liners are usually made of heavy-duty polyethylene that must be at least 6 mils thick. That’s the minimum thickness required for creating an effective moisture barrier. Installing it makes your crawl space aesthetically pleasing, even if you’re not going to use it that often. It cleans up the area and makes it more likely that you’ll store items down there if you need to, especially if you can access the crawl space from outside.
Prevents Radon and Gas Buildup
Radon and other gasses that build up in the soil can make their way into your home without a sufficient wall and floor liner in your crawlspace. The polyethylene boards you use can stop radon and other gasses from entering the space.