As a homeowner faced with a damp crawl space, it is obvious that waterproofing it would be a good solution. It would ensure that space is kept dry. It is a no-brainer.
However, having decided to waterproof the crawl space, you’ll now be faced with the decision of how to keep the moisture out. Two common choices are installing a concrete floor or using crawl space encapsulation.
Both methods result in a dry crawl space. However, there are also significant differences between the two options.
Concrete floors are a hard surface. They are solid and therefore cannot be punctured by sharp objects. They are also immune to other damage that may occur in a small enclosure such as the crawl space presents. The poured concrete forms a floor that is seamless. This means that water cannot penetrate through to the surface.
However, there are several disadvantages of using concrete in your crawl space. Concrete, though seamless, is still a porous material. Moisture from the ground can therefore still make it through the floor and into the crawl space.
It can also take quite a long time for the concrete slab to cure when it is poured into the crawl space. This is because of the humidity within the crawl space. You may still have to deal with moisture problems as you wait for the concrete slab to cure.
Lastly, crawl spaces are not easy to access. It isn’t easy to pour concrete in such a constricted space. It can be messy as well as expensive to get it right.
Encapsulation involves using a vapor barrier in the crawl space. The entire crawl space is closed off. The process involves leveling the ground and laying down the vapor barrier that will insulate the space. This usually takes the form of a polyethylene liner.
The walls of the crawl space and the underside of the floor of the house are also covered with insulation. The result is a white space that is both stable and dry. This space can be used to store items that you don’t need to use often.
The barrier used is impervious to water. However, if the edges are not sealed properly, moisture can make it into the space.
It is vital to talk to a basement waterproofing professional who will explain the pros and cons of the different methods of waterproofing to you. You can then make an informed choice.