This design is referred to by many different names; encapsulated crawl space, closed crawl space, conditioned crawl space. All of these names refer to essentially the same thing but may have a different process. The vents are permanently closed.
The crawl space is completely sealed off from any moisture infiltration by using a heavy duty vapor barrier like SilverBack™. In a conditioned crawl space the foundation walls need to be insulated with a rigid foam to keep any cold air from entering the crawl space from this area. Then the crawl space vapor barrier is draped down the foundation walls and the entire floor is covered.
All the seams are lapped by at least 8” and taped with a Waterproof Seam Tape and the supports are wrapped and sealed. The vapor barrier is sealed to the foundation wall with either a polyurethane caulk, butyl caulk or Foundation Seal Tape™ to keep the moisture from escaping from under the barrier. The next step is using Foundation Pins™ to permanently fasten the SilverBack™ to the foundation.
R-19 insulation is installed in the rim joist cavity to keep the outside air outside. Once this has been completed you can successfully condition the crawl space air. Conditioning the air is controlling the temperature, humidity or both. Now that the vents are permanently closed and the perimeter is insulated, heat ducts are opened into the crawl space along with an air return (if needed). This is not about heating the crawl space, it is about introducing heat to the home one level lower than it is now.
Heat naturally rises so it will “leak” through the floors and keep them warm. The heat is not lost as it would be if the vents were open. This process will save you between 10 – 30% or more on your heating cost because you have eliminated cold air from entering the homes envelope. In an open crawl space design your home is being attack from all six sides but in a closed crawl space you have eliminated the largest exposed square footage of the home and created a new clean environment that is only inches from where you live, eat and sleep.
A conditioned crawl space can be created by most able bodied homeowners with the right products, guidance and information. Contrary to what some large franchise companies offer, you don’t have to mortgage the house to be able to afford this home improvement.For more information on how the SilverBack™ vapor barrier is installed take a look at our “How To” video.
If you have any question please feel free to contact us or call 877.379.7658