Unbeknownst to you, your crawl space makes for a rather attractive place for rodents and other pests to hang out in. And like bad house guests, pests can leave behind a number of rather unpleasant things, including fecal droppings that can trigger allergic reactions, chewed up wiring that could create a fire hazard, and missing bits and pieces of insulation.
Encapsulating your crawl space is one effective way of nipping your pest problem in the bud, especially when it is used in conjunction with other pest-control measures. The following talks about what draws pests to your crawl space in the first place and how encapsulation resolves those issues.
Why Rodents Are Attracted to Your Crawl Space
It's hard to think of a crawl space as being a damp place, but an unprotected plot of dirt or concrete can easily foster a moisture-laden environment. Although the surface seems dry as a bone, moist soil exists just a few inches underneath the surface. This moisture travels upward into the crawl-space area, setting the stage for mold and mildew growth, among other things.
As it turns out, a warm, damp place with plenty of protection from the elements is exactly what rodents and other pests are looking for. Unprotected crawl spaces are also in pretty close proximity to potential food sources (including gardens, trash cans, and compost bins). Pests can also move in and out of crawl spaces without being detected, allowing pests to multiply before you're able to discover the infestation.
What Encapsulation Does to Deter Rodents
Encapsulation addresses a number of issues that are often present when it comes to crawl-space infestations:
- Moisture from nearby groundwater sources infiltrating the crawl space area.
- Water seeping through cracks in the foundation or porous building materials, including brick.
- Hot, humid air entering the crawl space through loose doors or vents.
Your contractor will address the above issues by creating a comprehensive encapsulation solution for your home's crawl space. After making sure your crawl space is a good candidate for encapsulation, your contractor will perform the following tasks:
- Your contractor will seal all possible avenues for rodents and other pests to invade your crawl space. This includes cracks and gaps between doors and walls. Most contractors use foam insulation or caulk to close up these unwanted spaces.
- Your contractor will separate your crawl space from the ground it sits on through the use of a thick vapor barrier made from high-quality polyethylene. This will prevent moisture from seeping into the crawl space itself. The foundation walls should also be covered with a vapor barrier in addition to moisture-proof insulation.
- A drainage system will be needed to redirect accumulated water away from the crawl-space area. Your contractor may install a perimeter drain and a sump pump if your home suffers from severe drainage issues.
- Your contractor may also replace your current crawl-space vents and doors with new ones that offer an airtight seal against outdoor moisture and humidity.
Tips for Encapsulating Crawl Spaces
Although encapsulation can take care of future crawl-space pest issues, you'll still need to deal with any ongoing infestations. You should have your contractor lay down traps near areas where suspected rodent activity is taking place. These traps should be continuously inspected and replaced until the pest activity dies down. Afterward, you should have any identified entry points properly sealed against pest intrusion.
It's also a good idea to have your foundation walls lined with a metal termite shield. Made from corrosion-resistant copper or galvanized steel, metal termite shields can prevent termites and other pests from venturing into areas above the foundation wall and into your home's wooden structure.