An encapsulated crawl space will help make your home more energy efficient and healthier if done properly. Crawl space encapsulation is the process of protecting your crawl space from moisture by using vapor barriers to cover your crawl space floors and foundation walls. Crawl space liners are used to cover the floor, foundation walls and then sealed to the wall. The term originated from companies that offered basement waterproofing. Today, companies and contractors that provide crawl space repair often use the term.
Crawl Space Vapor Barrier Sizes
There’s a wide range of crawl space vapor barriers that can be used for your encapsulated crawl space project. The good news, there’s several quality guides and DIY videos on the topic, just take to Google and start searching. The 20 mil crawl space vapor barrier is one of the most commonly used. The 20 mil vapor barrier is used to cover crawl space floors. Usually, to use this size, the crawl space floor may have sharp objects that can’t be moved or even rocks that can’t be removed. With a quality 20 mil liner, you’d be able to store heavy objects on it and it would be safe for heavy traffic, as long as it’s a true quality crawl space vapor barrier.
The 12 mil crawl space vapor barrier is another liner that’s commonly used for an encapsulated crawl space. Unlike the 20 mil vapor barrier, the 12 mil vapor barrier is used on crawl space floors and crawl space foundation walls. While the 12 mil is smaller and less durable than the 20 mil, the 12 mil does fine with flooring that has few objects embedded in the floor. You can use light to medium storage on the 12 mil and you can have moderate traffic on it also.
Two other common sizes used are the 6 mil vapor barrier and the 8 mil liner. While both of these vapor barriers can be used on the floor (and some use it on the floor), most homeowners use this on the foundation walls.
The Purpose Of Encapsulation
The main purpose of encapsulation is to create a crawl space environment that can be controlled. Although this is true, an encapsulated crawl space transforms the crawl space into a conditioned area and your crawl space will be a much more healthier.
We get a lot of homeowners that believe crawl spaces and basements are the same. Sure, in some ways, yes. However, in other ways, the answer is no. Crawl spaces and basements do share some things, but they differ on other things. Check out our article on crawl space insulation to note some of those differences