The crawl space has an integral role towards a home’s overall value as well as the living space above. Most homeowners in Piney Woods Chattanooga don’t think twice about their crawl space unless they have to make repairs to plumbing, heating ducts or house wiring. While often thought of as no more than a storage area, it also has a tremendous impact on the overall indoor air quality of the entire home.
The Best Crawl Space Waterproofing In Piney Woods TN
By default, the air quality of a crawl space is typically poor. Mold, mildew, radon gas and poor energy efficiency all create several problems. The air that circulates within it eventually makes its way up through the living space. Scientific studies show that up to 50% of living space air originates from the lowest level of the home. With homeowners more concerned about their home’s indoor air quality, the encapsulating of crawl spaces has become a popular solution for such problems.
A damp crawl space creates a safe harbor for harmful molds, in addition to dust mites, termites and other bugs that can infest the home. The presence of excessive moisture will also create a serious problem with the probability for the wooden structure of a home to deteriorate. Crawl space vents pose a further problem. While believed to be a solution to moisture problems, they, unfortunately, make the problem worse. As it turns out, the vents allow cold air and moisture in, which rises into the living area and therefore decreases the heating efficiency of the entire home.
Another all-too-common problem associated with crawl spaces is radon gas. Though it cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, radon is a radioactive gas that can contribute to poor health, including cancer. Radon gas makes its way through the earth, into the crawl space and the home’s living space. According to the U.S.E.P.A., radon gas is the number one leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
Ignoring these various conditions is not recommended for both long-term health and energy usage. Fully encapsulating a crawl space – by both sealing and insulating – is a fully efficient measure in addressing such problems. It makes sense to maintain and improve the lower level area in order to maximize healthy living conditions and home resale value.
While there are several systems for encapsulating, a zero perm liner system that also insulates and reflects heat provides the most benefits. With a proper floor and wall liner, the area will not only be well insulated but will seal out moisture, bug infestation, and radon gas. Other components to look for in a system include a radon gas-dispersing drain fabric, a radon gas ventilation pipe, and a ceiling heat shield.
A complete system with all of the above components will allow any soil gasses – including radon gas – that naturally occur under the liner system, to wick through the drain fabric and escape out through the ventilation pipe. While improved indoor air quality is the primary benefit of a sealed and insulated crawl space, the homeowner will also appreciate a bright, clean, and dry storage area; the ridding of musty smells; less energy usage; and tax credits. Contractors encapsulating crawl spaces will have more to offer to their clients when they can assure the peace of mind with improved indoor air quality.
The Three Basic Types of Home Foundations
Installing a crawlspace vapor barrier is not rocket science. It is not physically difficult. Whether installing a quality vapor barrier in a vented crawlspace or doing a complete crawlspace encapsulation, it only takes a little time, a little patience and a willingness to crawl around on your hands and knees for a couple of days.
Where to Buy a Crawlspace Vapor Barrier
There are many places to purchase a crawlspace vapor barrier. An on-line search will provide contact information many retailers. And the products they offer vary from inexpensive clear plastic to woven and coated fabrics much like swimming pool liners. The inexpensive liners can also be purchased from many hardware stores and home centers.
What Vapor Barriers Are Available
The inexpensive vapor barriers will do the job but it's been our experience that they tear easily, don't stay in place, and become brittle and crack after four to five years. But they are inexpensive.
The alternative is to spend a couple times more initially and purchase a product with a twenty five year warranty. The reinforced or woven products require no more time to install than the inexpensive shorter-lived products.
The real question is whether an installer wants to spend a couple of days crawling around in a damp crawlspace every four or five years, or wants to spend a little more initially and have an installation that is maintenance-free and will last for decades. Personally, it makes more sense to me to do it right the first time and be done with it.
Installing the Vapor Barrier
Whether doing a full crawlspace encapsulation or simply installing a vapor barrier in a vented crawl space, the installation of all products have a lot in common.
First, the floor needs to be completely covered, with all seams overlapped 6" to 12" and sealed with tape. While duct tape is a wonderful product with countless uses, it does not do a good job sealing the seams of a vapor barrier. A quality, water-proof vinyl tape designed specifically for sealing the seams is recommended.
Wrapping the Crawlspace Piers
Second, the floor material needs to be sealed around all the foundation supports. Whether steel posts or concrete block piers, it is necessary to prevent the migration of water vapor from around the foundation supports. This is usually done by wrapping the piers - sealing the piers with the vapor barrier 6" to 12" up from the floor. This provides a sealed pier to which the floor material can be sealed to using seam tape.
Wrapping the piers can be a little problematic. No safe, nonflammable, nontoxic construction adhesive is effective with the available materials except for a newly developed, patented proprietary wall and pier liner. The vapor barrier is typically applied to the piers using a combination of tape, mastic, caulk, and mechanical fasteners. The mechanical fasteners require that holes be drilled into the piers using a masonry bit and hammer drill. This adds exponentially to the installation labor.
The patented wall and pier liner can be applied to most any surface using a low VOC and nontoxic construction adhesive. Being low VOC and nontoxic, it is nonflammable and safe to use in the confined area of a crawlspace. It can be safely installed in a fraction of the time. It is the only material of its kind and can be ordered from it manufacturer.
Sealing the Crawlspace Walls
Finally, regardless of whether you're installing a vapor barrier in a vented crawlspace or doing a full encapsulation, it is necessary to seal the floor material to the crawlspace walls. Most experts agree that this is a vital step for a well installed barrier or encapsulation.
If installing a vapor barrier, the floor material should be sealed to the wall 6" to 12" above the outside grade. Like wrapping the piers, most companies recommend the tape-caulk-mechanical fastener combination. The mechanical fasteners should be placed every two to three feet long the perimeter of the crawlspace. If taking this approach, be sure to use a respirator as concrete dust can cause severe respiratory problems.
If doing a full encapsulation, the entire wall, a minimum of three inches down from the sill plate to allow for a pest control inspection, should be sealed. Enough floor material can be purchased to extend up the walls or, the method we've found easiest, the wall is covered and sealed with a wall liner and the floor material is sealed to the wall liner using seam tape. Regardless of which method you use, the vapor barrier must be securely attached and sealed to the wall.
The manufacturer of the pier wrap also makes a patented wall liner that attaches to and seals the wall in one simple step. It reduces installation time by several hours. Like the pier wrap, it is available from the manufacturer.
Crawlspace Moisture Control - The Case for Encapsulation
Most new home owners consider converting the basement into another living space such as a playroom for the kids or a bar for entertaining guests, but never get around to actually bringing their basement finishing ideas to fruition.
This is mainly because the basement is a space that's not immediately accessible or visible to guests, and that is why basement finishing ideas are always placed in the backburner and are looked into only after the major rooms in the house have been taken care of.
However, renovating a basement space doesn't have to be additional expense, especially if the home owner plans to turn it into a useful space. A home office, for instance, would be perfect for the basement. You can draw up basement finishing ideas together with an interior designer on how to maximize the available space and make it conducive for working.
It's also ideal for home office use because it's detached from the noise and the activity that goes on in the rest of the house. Whatever you plan to do with your basement, though, you have to keep in mind some important basement finishing ideas that will save you lots of time, money, and effort.
When working on basement space, or any area to be renovated, for that matter, try to plan your renovation backwards. That is, before you start sketching and asking your interior decorator to look for this and that furniture, draw up a budget that you know you would feel good about.
You can't possibly relish using your newly renovated basement when your basement finishing ideas will cost you an arm and a leg. This is why you need to determine your budget first prior to starting work on anything.
Once you have your budget, you can sit down with your contractor and designer to discuss what you want to get out of the renovation. Let them know what elements you want in that space and let them tell you if it's feasible or not. For instance, adding a toilet and bath is a fantastic basement finishing idea, but it can make a big dent on your budget.
Keep in mind that the things or fixtures you add should be necessary, not just added on a whim. Another practical baseent finishing idea is to create storage spaces. Remember that if you are to use the basement for some other purpose, then you are going to be displacing all the stuff that has been sitting in your basement through the years.
Where would you transfer them? The answer is, in most cases they'll still have to be kept in the basement, so the only great solution would be to construct some ingeniously designed storage spaces. Cabinets and overhead shelves are a must.
Next, go over the basement's electrical wiring, waterproofing, and plumbing. Don't attempt to do these yourself as they can only be handed by experts in the field. Make sure that the team you are getting is dependable and not just some fly-by-night moonlighter. Check their references or ask your friends and relatives to recommend names.
Discuss your basement finishing ideas with the contractor to know if your current heating or cooling setup is adequate to include the basement. If not, you may have to install a cooler or a heater exclusively for your basement space.
Once you have your basement finishing ideas [http://www.homeimprovementbliss.com/basement/basement-waterproofing-a-practical-way-to-save-on-basement-repairs-49] pat down, make sure the place is safe for everyone. Make provisions for fire escapes and see to it that all the doors and door locks are working.
Crawl Space Masters Specializes In Crawl Space Encapsulation in Piney Woods TN.