People don’t think about their crawlspace until it becomes a problem, until the insulation fails to keep out the chill or until mold starts crawling up their walls. But properly insulating your crawlspace is important. Not only will proper insulation keep bad stuff out, it can also save you energy by sealing in the warmth.
What does your crawlspace look like? What kind of insulation do you have now? If your energy bills seem excessive yet your home remains cold, give us a call.
If you’ve been considering insulating your crawlspace, there are some things you’ll need to decide.
What Material Should You Use?
Fiberglass: It’s the most common insulation and thus is widely available and easily affordable. Some benefits are that it’s not flammable and that it can reduce your energy costs by up to 40% according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. Unfortunately, it can also release particles when disturbed. You should cover your legs and arms when touching it and use gloves, goggles, and a mask or even a respirator with a particulate filter. It also doesn’t insulate as well as some other options on this list.
Celulose: This material is more environmentally friendly as it’s made from chemically treated recycled newspapers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work as well when it absorbs moisture, so you need to replace it every 5 years or so. You’ll want to protect your skin and lungs when handling it, though, because it can potentially burn or produce harmful gas. It’s also fairly inexpensive.
Mineral Wool: This is fire and noise resistant but also more expensive than some other options. It’s also commonly made from recycled material.
Loose Fill: As one site summarizes it: “If your attic has a lot of nooks and crannies, your best bet may be to use loose-fill insulation made of fiberglass or cellulose. Blown in place using a special machine, the material does a great job of filling gaps, although there are some reports that it can compress over time, losing effectiveness. Also bear in mind that for some attics or roof structures, cellulose may be too heavy.”
Spray Foam: This liquid can be sprayed into tight areas and will dry into a hard barrier. Unfortunately, it’s expensive, and it isn’t thick and can contract with age.
Radiant Barriers: These reflect heat away from the house and are used in warmer climates.
Structural Insulated Panels: These are prefabricated panels that reduce noise and can save you energy. Unfortunately, they’re also expensive. They’re usually used when building new homes, not installed into older ones.
Rigid Foam Panels: These panels are sold and must be cut to fit between beams. They insulate temperature better than fiberglass and are waterproof.
How to Insulate Your Crawlspace
One of the most important parts of insulation is keeping your crawlspace dry. Otherwise, who knows what might start growing. Make sure your gutters stay in good shape and your sidewalks slope away from the house. You can also use a sump pump which pumps water away from the home to prevent it from building up. Make sure you insulate the walls (although you don’t have to insulate the ceiling).
The main question to ask is whether you want to hire a professional to insulate your crawlspace, or whether you want to do it yourself.
Insulating your crawlspace yourself will save you money in the short term but may cost you in the long term if done improperly. Our company has been insulating crawlspaces since 2002. We have locations in Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Alabama.
We also offer many other services such as mold prevention, humidity control, drainage control, vapor barrier work, floor support services, debris removal, and more. If you don’t want to tackle a long and exhausting DIY project, then let us take care of your crawlspace for you. We can fix it before it even becomes a problem. We’ll keep it sealed, dry, and free from mold so that it doesn’t affect the rest of the house.
Just don’t encapsulate your crawlspace. As we discuss here, that’s never a good idea. Instead, insulate your crawlspace.