Many people don’t like to go down into their crawl space because it can be cramped, dirty, and sometimes even full of bugs. These types of crawl spaces have been neglected for years. A properly maintained crawl space will be a lot more hospitable and comfortable to enter. However, entering your crawl space will give you a good idea not only of the conditions down there, but the conditions in the house above as well.
One of the main benefits of a crawl space is how it affects the air quality and temperature within your home. Crawl space insulation is a great way to give the area its best chance at properly regulating temperatures and maintaining quality air conditions within your home.
Here’s what you need to know about crawl space insulation.
Recognizing Your Need
Insulation helps keep the outside temperature from coming into your home. It might be more common to think about the insulation in our walls or even in our attic. But insulating the crawl space of your home is equally important.
There are many signs that your crawl space needs to be insulated, or perhaps that the insulation needs to be replaced.
High Energy Bills
Your heater and air conditioner will have to work overtime if your home is directly subjected to outside air. This will become apparent when you get your monthly energy bill.
Fluctuating Indoor Temperatures
An open crawl space invites cold drafts in the winter and warm, humid air in the summer. And as we know, air that enters our crawl space comes through the floor into our home. Proper insulation will help keep a home at a consistent temperature.
Mice love old insulation. The fluffy fiberglass center makes a perfect place to build a nest. Snakes, spiders, and squirrels have also been known to enter crawl spaces that have degraded insulation. And once the animals are in your crawl space, they are only one step away from entering your living space.
Insulation that is wet, damaged, or hanging from the ceiling isn’t doing its job. Insulation should be airtight against the surface on which it is installed. Damaged insulation can actually harm more than it helps.
Types of Insulation
This is also known as fiberglass insulation. It is probably the most well-known type of insulation. These are rolled sections meant to fit between studs in walls, or in the case of a crawl space, the joists supporting the floor of the house. They typically have a layer of paper on one side and fluffy, pink fiberglass insulation on the other side.
This is a fairly inexpensive option, but it has some drawbacks. The spongy material tends to soak up moist air, which is unfortunately fairly common in crawl spaces. It is also a popular home for rodents.
Spray Foam Insulation
As the name implies, this type of insulation is applied with the use of a sprayer. The chemicals combine to create a substance that expands upon contact. It is great for filling cracks or any awkwardly-positioned areas that are in need of insulation.
It is water-resistant, mold-resistant, and can provide insulation for over ten years. Spray foam has many great advantages, but it is somewhat expensive to install over large areas.
Foam Board Insulation
Foam board insulation is attached directly to the exterior structure walls of the crawlspace. This effectively insulates the crawl space itself as opposed to insulating the home from the air in the crawl space. The boards provide protection against the intrusion of water at the same time as protecting against the transfer of hot and cold temperatures.
It is another less-expensive option. However, these large foam boards are not suitable for insulating small, tight areas such as cracks or holes.
Crawl space encapsulation is the best way to control the environment underneath your home. It offers the added benefit of protecting your home from moisture, mold, and standing water. These factors can have drastically negative effects on the structure of your home.
Insulation does a great job of regulating the temperature. This helps with the quality of life inside your home as well as protecting you against frozen pipes in the winter.
However, encapsulation does have insulating qualities. The barriers that are placed throughout your crawl space will block some of the outside air from coming in and making your floors cold, or affecting your energy costs.
Your particular needs are going to be based on the environment in which you live. If you don’t live in an area that experiences a lot of moisture, crawl space insulation is the way to go. However, if water in your crawl space can be a worry, consider upgrading to full encapsulation to keep your structure safe.