Chances are you encapsulated the crawl space under your Columbia, SC, home, and after some years, realize something is amiss. Maybe moisture is building up steadily, mold is growing back, or condensation is forming on the cooler surfaces. You’re wondering how this can happen within such a short period.
Depending on the type and quality of the material used, the plastic vapor barrier that encloses the crawl space isn’t necessarily damage-proof. With this understanding, you won’t assume it’s going to stay trouble-free forever. Routine care is necessary for it to perform to the expected levels.
Crawl Space Inspection Checklist
Every crawl space needs to be inspected at least once a year. Otherwise, how would you know if the encapsulation is intact? Some homeowners only go down there when they’re planning to sell their homes. We don’t advise you to do the same. Simple issues could grow into insurmountable problems, and you’ll have to go back to the drawing board.
As part of your annual visual inspection, look out for these things:
- Mold and mildew streaks
- Termites and mice
- Foundation cracks and crevices
- Moisture droplets
- Puddles of water on the floor
- Soggy insulation material
- Warped or rotted wood
- Electrical wiring issues
- Leaky pipes or ducts
When Should You Maintain the Encapsulation?
You’re probably wondering when you or a crawl space repair professional should go down there to inspect the crawl space plastic barrier and perform any maintenance work. Spring is the best time. The weather is neither cold nor hot. You can get into the crawl space and perform a visual inspection comfortably. If you suspect humidity is going up, you also check this space in summer.
You can also perform checks in fall just before the cold weather sets in. Many things could have happened between spring and fall. It pays to check whether subflooring is in good condition and that there are no leaks. If you have uninsulated ducts, this is also the time to insulate them.
Potential Signs of a Defective Encapsulation
Your plastic vapor barrier can get damaged as a result of many things. When it does, moisture might appear on the walls, ceiling, and floor. These surfaces will also feel colder than usual. Wall paint might peel off and wood can warp or rot. Because of elevated moisture, mold will also start growing. The atmosphere will turn acrid due to this mold and wood rot. If the encapsulation is torn, you may also notice increased pest activity.
Maintaining Your Plastic Vapor Barrier
Sealing the crawl space is a wise move, but it doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods yet. Weather conditions can change, the plastic barrier can get torn, and internal moisture problems can crop up. All these can roll back the gains you’ve made.
Keep checking your ducts, piping and walls for leaks that can introduce moisture-laden air into the crawl space. You want to make sure this space stays dry and mold-free.
If you have tools down there, drag them out. Keep them in your other rooms or your garage, as they might tear the encapsulation and reduce its efficiency. Even the slightest puncture can let in pests and insects.
Clear the bushes surrounding the crawl space, as they might harbor pests. Lastly, keep food and water out of this space. Why would you want to tempt pests to invade?
Annual Crawl Space Maintenance
Perhaps you moved on with your life and forgot the vapor barrier enclosing the crawl space needs some TLC. It’s not too late to turn things around. Sign up for an annual maintenance plan and protect your investment. Crawl space experts will keep checking the condition of the encapsulation. Plus, they will free you up so you can spend more time with your family doing the things you love.
Don’t neglect your crawl space encapsulation. It will cost you money. You’ll be doing yourself a big disservice by not having the condition of this area checked. If you’re not sure of what’s happening to your crawl space or want to get a professional opinion on the condition of your encapsulation, get in touch with
Mount Valley Foundation Services. Is your encapsulation falling apart? We’re happy to provide you with a free crawl space repair inspection and quote, along with recommendations to keep it intact.