Should a Crawlspace Be Ventilated or Sealed?

finished crawlspace

Did you know that up to 40% of the air in your home is swept upwards from your crawlspace? When we think of our crawlspace, we don’t really think much of it aside from it creating a space between the earth and our home. It should be fine the way it is, right? That’s how it was designed, right? Unfortunately, it is not quite the case. When left alone, crawlspaces can become damp with outside moisture, which in turn can lead to further complications within your crawlspace and the rest of your home.

But what’s a little humidity or outside moisture? If that doesn’t bother you, you might want to consider what else comes with that crawlspace air. When a crawlspace becomes dirty, damp, and musty with mold, all of that is being carried up into your home by that upward draft.

So how can you solve this problem? What can you do to preserve the quality of your home’s air? People may have once thought that crawlspace vents should be kept open during the summer and closed during the winter, but new wisdom says that crawlspace vents ought to be kept shut all year round to prevent the outside elements from getting into your home.

Let’s take a look into whether you should ventilate your crawlspace or have it sealed!

The Benefits and Problems with Ventilating Your Crawlspace

Depending on the size of your home, your crawlspace may have a few or a fair number of vents. These vents often look like small windows, and usually they’re not very good at seeing through. Their main purpose is to supposedly help fight back against mold growth by allowing the air to circulate and ventilate. The concept goes: the fresh air comes in through one way, and the fresh air pushes the stale air out through another vent, usually on the other side of your home.

Benefits of Ventilating Your Crawlspace

This kind of crawlspace ventilating is designed to go along with many building codes and is also the more affordable option to have when building a house. Also, if you’re in an area with a dry climate, there’s little to worry about moisture getting trapped in your crawlspace.

Problems with Ventilating Your Crawlspace

‘58 Foundations president, Todd Prosan, states that “Depending on the state and area that you live, especially if you live in areas with higher humidity, ventilating can do little good for your crawlspace and the rest of your home. That’s because the humid air in your home is simply being replaced by more humid air from outside. With the consistent humidity, mold growth can occur in your crawlspace whether or not it’s ventilated.”

The Benefits and Problems with Sealing Your Crawlspace

The signs are now pointing to building codes moving in favor of sealing your crawlspaces to protect them. In order to seal your crawlspace, you’ll first need to get rid of the existing moisture in there. Any standing water needs to be removed, and the space should be dehumidified before sealing measures are installed. Once ready, a vapor barrier will be installed and placed across the ground of your crawlspace, the support beams, and even the walls. You may also want to have your crawlspace insulated, waterproofed with drainage channels, and equipped with a sump pump. Ultimately, sealing your crawlspace is meant to help maintain a desirable environment in your house using a closed system approach.

Benefits of Sealing Your Crawlspace

With a sealed crawlspace, your house can begin to benefit from a more closed system. If the air in your crawlspace is kept consistently dry, the air in your house will remain that much more comfortable and healthier for you and your loved ones.

If your crawlspace is insulated as well, it can help you save on energy costs for your heating and cooling. When your crawlspace is filled with humidity and moisture, it can place more stress on your home to properly cool and heat itself.

Keeping your crawlspace sealed and dry also creates an environment that has a greatly reduced risk for mold growth. Mold requires moisture to thrive, and without that moisture your wooden structures will be able to last for much longer and retain their structural integrity.

Problems with Sealing Your Crawlspace

Most homes don’t start with a sealed crawlspace—this means that you will usually have to seal your crawlspace yourself, which means costs. The encapsulation and sealing process can be on the expensive side, so it requires some financial preparation. What’s more, you will want to consider having maintenance done on your new crawlspace encapsulation once it’s in place, to ensure that it’s working throughout the years.

Keep Your Crawlspace Dry and Healthy with ’58 Foundations

Sealing your crawlspace can be costly, but for the health and safety of you and your loved ones, it’s a more-than-worthwhile investment. A sealed crawlspace can spare you from the repairs that would be required when your home’s wooden structures become affected by moisture and mold. Mold spores can also aggravate existing allergies and health problems that you or a loved one may have—preventing mold from gaining a foothold in your crawlspace should be a priority.

’58 Foundations has over 60 years of experience in encapsulating crawlspaces and keeping homes safe from the dangers of mold and moisture invasion. Give us a call today and let our experts provide you with a free inspection and a detailed estimate!