Crawl space insulation is an important aspect of home improvement. If you’re thinking about insulating a crawl space under your home, there might be tons of questions running through your mind – Why is it necessary? What to do? How much insulation do you need?
Let’s cover all the basics.
Is Crawl Space Insulation Important?
Crawl space insulation is important because it helps maintain the energy efficiency of the entire home. Otherwise, heat in winter and cool air in warmer months would be tricky to maintain. You’d lose them through the floor.
With insulation, you maintain the temperature in your home and air quality noticeably improves, along with helping you save on energy bills.
Insulation is a necessary step to prevent or manage moisture and condensation. Crawl spaces tend to be humid, and too much condensation may lead to the growth of mold and mildew. As insulation counteracts this problem, you get to protect the foundation of your home from rotting.
Other benefits of crawl space insulation include improved structural integrity, decreased pest infestation, improved comfort, and higher home value.
Basics of Crawl Space Insulation
Insulation of crawl space requires some preparation and adherence to a few steps. Keep in mind that although it may seem simple and easy, crawl space insulation can be quite challenging. Here are some basics of what is necessary to do to insulate the crawl space under your home:
- Clean the area and cover the ground: remove all items, wood, debris, and other objects located under your house. If the dirt under the crawl space is uneven, make sure to even it out and correct all other irregularities you see there. Then, take a plastic sheet and cover the area under your house. Ideally, you should overlap the sheets and use tape to attach them to one another.
- Insulate under the floor: the most convenient option for the DIY approach is fiberglass insulation batts or rolls. Set up insulation so that the paper vapor barrier is facing up toward the floor of your house. Support wires will help hold insulation in place. Once you do that, it’s necessary to ventilate the area, but you may need a crawl space professional to calculate the ventilation your crawl space requires. Also, use spray foam insulation to seal plumbing and electrical wiring.
- Enclose foundation: use bricks, lattice panels, and concrete blocks to enclose the foundation. This may be necessary for areas with colder temperatures. Keep in mind enclosing isn’t a good idea for people who live in humid areas and flood zones.
Determine How Much Insulation You Need
How much insulation you need depends on where you live. Homeowners who live in warmer areas need R-11 (3 ½”) insulation. Colder areas require R-25 (6” to 8”) insulation. Here, R represents the resistance of the insulating material to conductive heat flow. The greater insulating effectiveness corresponds to a higher R-value.
Determine Which Materials You Need
The materials you need depend on which type of insulation you choose.
- Fiberglass batt insulation: readily available, easy to install, inexpensive
- Closed-cell spray foam insulation: fast and effective, high R-value per inch, creates a vapor barrier on surfaces, not damaged by moisture and water
- Open-cell spray foam insulation: quick to install, can be used around obstacles and fills gaps
- Rigid foam insulation: high R-value per inch, forms a vapor barrier, lower cost, waterproof, not messy to install
The ideal option is the one that suits your budget and the needs of the crawl space area. Bear in mind you will need other tools and materials as well, including a caulking gun, utility knife, rake and shovel, flashlight, construction adhesive, and poly PVC tape, just to name a few.
Hire a Crawl Space Professional
Crawl space insulation is a demanding job. While the DIY approach may seem easy, the reality is that the whole process is challenging, and its success depends entirely on making the right choices. If you choose a type of insulation that doesn’t suit the needs of your crawl space area, the whole effort is jeopardized.
For that reason, the best thing to do is to hire a crawl space professional such as Crawlspace Doctor. Professionals can determine the best type of insulation, prepare the area properly, and set up materials easily. They know exactly the challenges of the task and are trained to overcome all of them.
Insulating crawl space is necessary for increasing home value and saving energy, and it has many other benefits. While you can insulate the crawl space on your own, professional assistance is incredibly useful. That way, you can be confident that the crawl space under your house has the exact type of insulation material it needs.