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The Main Difference between Waterproofing and Encapsulation

Posted on February 23, 2023

Using conventional methods for waterproofing your basement is not as effective as crawlspace encapsulation which protects your basement from high humidity and water leakages. Read the ins and outs of basement function, usage, and care. Learn the underestimated difference between waterproofing and encapsulation.

The Primary Function of Your Basement

Basements can provide several significant benefits for homeowners in the form of additional space for various purposes, including a home office, entertainment area, or guest suite. They also provide ample storage space for homeowners, which can help keep clutter out of living areas and make it easier to keep the home organized. 

Water Threats to Your Basement

Basements lie below ground level, so they can help regulate a home’s temperature and improve energy efficiency. In the summer, the cold ground can help keep the basement and upper levels of the home cooler, while in the winter, the warmth of the home can be retained in the basement, reducing heating costs. However, basements can only benefit you for a long if encapsulated from water and moisture. They are particularly vulnerable to water threats due to their below-ground location. Some common water threats to basements include:

  1. Flooding
  2. Moisture intrusion
  3. Leaky plumbing
  4. Poor drainage
  5. Sewer backups

Basement waterproofing

Construction companies and contractors often offer Basement waterproofing, which prevents water from penetrating a basement or underground space. Waterproofing uses various techniques and products, such as sealants, drainage systems, and waterproof membranes. There are several reasons why basement waterproofing is essential. First and foremost, it can prevent water damage to your home and its foundation. Water intrusion can cause structural damage, promote the growth of mold and mildew, and damage

personal belongings stored in the basement. It can also create a damp and musty environment that can be unpleasant. 

Types of Basement Waterproofing

Some standard techniques for basement waterproofing include:

1. Interior waterproofing: This involves installing a waterproof membrane or sealant inside the basement walls to prevent water from entering.

2. Exterior waterproofing: Foundation companies install a waterproof membrane or sealant outside the basement walls to prevent water from penetrating the foundation.

3. Drainage systems: A sump pump supplies a drainage tile system to collect and remove water that seeps into the basement.

4. Repairs: Any cracks or holes in the foundation need repairs to prevent water from entering.

A Reputable Contractor

If you are considering basement waterproofing, working with a reputable contractor with experience in this area is essential. They can assess your specific situation and recommend the best solution for your needs. Look for a local contractor who is familiar with your neighborhood.

Crawlspace encapsulation: the Ideal Way to Waterproof your Basement

Crawlspace encapsulation involves sealing the crawlspace area beneath a home to prevent moisture, pests, and other elements from entering the space. The process involves:

  • Covering the ground with a vapor barrier.
  • Sealing off any vents or openings to the outside.
  • Insulating the walls of the crawlspace.

The vapor barrier is a heavy-duty plastic sheeting installed over the ground to create a barrier between the crawlspace and the outside. It is typically made of polyethylene and prevents moisture from entering the crawlspace. Sealing off any vents or openings to the outside helps to prevent air from entering the crawlspace, which allows moisture accumulation. Trapped moisture leads to problems like mold, mildew, and pest infestations. Insulating the crawlspace walls helps improve energy efficiency by preventing heat gain in summers and heat loss in winters. 

The Right Company

Seek out a contractor who specializes in crawlspace encapsulation. The contractor will assess the condition of the crawlspace, determine the best materials to use, and perform the installation process to ensure the correct encapsulation.

What to Expect When Getting your Crawlspace Encapsulated

The process of crawlspace encapsulation can vary depending on the specific needs of your home, but here are some procedures that are typically involved:

Before Encapsulation

  • Inspection: A professional contractor will inspect the crawlspace to determine the condition of the space. They resolve any issues before encapsulation.
  • Cleanup: If debris or standing water is in the crawlspace, the contractor will remove it to create a clean, dry surface for encapsulation.
  • Repairs: Any damage or defects in the crawlspace will be repaired before encapsulation to prevent further damage.

The Installation

  • Vapor Barrier Installation: A heavy-duty plastic sheeting, typically made of polyethylene, will be installed over the ground of the crawlspace to create a barrier between the space and the outside environment.
  • Sealing the Vents: Vents in the crawlspace that connect to the outside receive sealing to prevent air and moisture from entering.
  • Insulation: If needed, the contractor will install insulation on the crawlspace walls to improve energy efficiency further.

After the Installation

  • Dehumidifier installation: A dehumidifier may be installed in the crawlspace to remove excess moisture from the air and maintain a dry environment.
  • Final inspection: Once the encapsulation process is complete, your contractor checks to ensure the crawlspace is sealed off and adequately protected. 

The Difference

Crawlspace encapsulation and basement waterproofing are both methods for protecting your home from moisture intrusion, but they differ in several ways:

Waterproofing Versus Crawlspace Encapsulation

  1. Location: The most apparent difference between crawlspace encapsulation and basement waterproofing is the space location. Crawlspace encapsulation is focused on sealing off the crawlspace beneath a home, while basement waterproofing focuses on preventing water intrusion in a basement or below-ground-level space.
  2. Purpose: The primary purpose of crawlspace encapsulation is to prevent moisture and air from entering the room, which can lead to issues like mold, mildew, and pest infestations. Basement waterproofing focuses on preventing water intrusion, which can cause damage to the foundation, structural damage, and mold growth.
  3. Methods: The methods used for crawlspace encapsulation and basement waterproofing, such as vapor barriers and sealants, can be similar. However, they may differ in the specific materials and techniques used.
  4. Cost: The cost of crawlspace encapsulation and basement waterproofing can vary depending on the needs of your home, but in general, crawlspace encapsulation tends to be less expensive than basement waterproofing.
  5. Accessibility: Crawlspace encapsulation is typically easier to access than a basement, making installation and maintenance easier. However, this also means that a crawlspace may be more prone to pest infestations.

Benefits of crawlspace encapsulation

Crawlspace encapsulation means sealing off a crawlspace to prevent moisture and air from entering. A covering lies on the ground with a vapor barrier, sealing off any vents or openings to the outside. Here are some benefits of crawlspace encapsulation:

  1. Improved indoor air quality: Crawlspace encapsulation can improve indoor air quality by preventing the buildup of mold, mildew, and other allergens that can thrive in a damp environment. What a benefit for people with allergies or respiratory issues!
  2. Energy savings: By sealing off the crawlspace, encapsulation can help to reduce air leakage and improve the overall energy efficiency of your home. Lower your energy bills and enjoy a more comfortable living environment.
  3. Protection against pests: Sealing off the crawlspace can also help to prevent wildlife or insects from entering your home. It reduces the risk of damage to your home and the spread of disease.
  4. Protection against water damage: Crawlspace encapsulation can also help to prevent water damage by keeping moisture out of the space. Locations prone to flooding or humidity benefit from encapsulation.
  5. Increased home value: Crawlspace encapsulation can be seen as a valuable home improvement, as it can improve indoor air quality, energy efficiency, and protection against pests and water damage. It helps to increase the value of your property.

Why Crawlspace Encapsulation?

Crawlspace encapsulation is a more modern and efficient method of securing your basement from water leakages and high humidity. It protects your basement by encapsulating it, preventing any water problems in the ground below or the roof above from affecting your basement. However, hiring professionals to do this job is highly recommended if you want to reap the full benefits. Look for a certified, registered, and experienced construction company specializing in these services. Atlantic Foundation offers crawlspace encapsulation and waterproofing services. We offer free foundation repair evaluations for homeowners. 






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