What is Crawl Space Insulation, Encapsulation and RatSlab?

Though it almost always remains to be unnoticeable, a crawl space serves an important role in any building, especially in homes. The crawl space is usually built to allow easy access to ductwork, drain pipes, plumbing, and electrical wiring. The crawl space also allows better air circulation through the home. Even with a low ceiling, a crawl space can be used as an extra room where you can store some of your stuff just like how you usually do with a basement.

An exposed dirt crawl space, however, can cause different issues. And the most common issue homeowners experience with their crawl space is water vapor and excess moisture problems. If not fixed, water and moisture problem can lead to more serious issues like structural damages, health problems, and pest infestation. Thankfully, there are different ways to fix this problem.  Encapsulation, insulation, and rat slab installation are the top three most favored solutions for moisture problems in crawl spaces. 

Confused between encapsulation, insulation, and rat slab installation? While these three options seem to be similar, they are actually different from each other. And it is wise to know what exactly are these three options all about before you decide which one to pick. Knowing the individual purposes of these options will help you come up with a well-informed decision.

Crawl Space Insulation

Crawl space insulation is about covering the crawl space with insulating materials like spray foam or rigid foam insulation board from the ground up to seal off the outdoor cold air and prevent it from getting into your home.

Crawl space insulation can also help prevent the pipes from freezing and regulate better air quality in your house. It can make your floors warmer, thus helping you save on your monthly energy bills since you no longer have to run the furnace to warm up your floors constantly especially during winter. Without the dank air circulating the crawl space and inside your home, you can be able to stop the nasty smell from affecting your furnishings, home, clothes, and atmosphere and prevent moisture and mold problems.

Crawl Space Rat Slab

A rat slab is a thin layer of non-structural concrete poured over the floor or ground of an exposed dirt crawl slab. It makes the ground of the crawl space concrete.

A crawl space rat slab offers many benefits. Among these are:

  • It serves as the barrier between your structure and the ground. 
  • It stops excessive moisture and water from the ground which may damage the foundation of your house from accumulating in the crawl space.
  • It prevents the growth of molds and mildews. 
  • It avoids rats, rodents, wood-destroying organisms, small reptiles, subterranean termites, and other pests from burrowing into your crawl space from outside the foundation wall, thus preventing . 
  • It prevents the washouts of topsoil during heavy rains.
  • It promotes better indoor air quality.
  • It makes the crawl space clean, easy to manage, and quick to access.

Crawl Space Encapsulation 

Crawl Space Encapsulation is the process of waterproofing and sealing off the crawl space using an impervious material like a heavy-duty polyethylene barrier or the same material used for swimming pool liner. It includes covering the foundation walls, floors, or ground, and even the ceiling of the crawl space.

If properly sealed off, the impervious barrier can help prevent leaks and solve moisture issues in crawl spaces. However, if the edges are not properly sealed or if the area is not completely covered, the water, moisture, or vapor from the ground can still penetrate the surface. 

Encapsulation is best recommended for buildings and homes that experience water and moisture problems in the crawl space. It can as well improve air quality in the area and at the same time prevent fungus and mold growth, and other moisture-related problems. You can further reduce moisture level by using a dehumidifier after the crawl space is sealed off completely.

Insulation and encapsulation can both effectively provide solutions to specific crawl space problems. However, if you are looking for permanent solution, they may not be the best choice. Both can get rotten over the years or got eaten by pests. If you want a permanent, long-term solution, the best option is to install a rat slab.