Insulation is a critical component to keeping your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Without it, not only do you feel those elements but your utility bills can go beyond your budget.
Unfortunately, not all areas of the home are easy to insulate. For example, protecting an above-ceiling crawl space that has a dirt floor. To help you through the process, here are five tips for insulating a crawl space with dirt floors.
1. Forget the foam
Foam is one of the major insulation types for homes. Delivered via spraying machines, this form of insulation is a quicker alternative to laying down rolls of fiberglass. However, it doesn’t work in crawl spaces with dirt floors.
There are two reasons for this. First, despite the foam’s thickness it still mingles with the dirt. Second, the dirt has some form of bacteria. When these two elements meet each other in a humid environment it can exacerbate further bacteria growth. Thus, you and your family might experience increased exposure to various illnesses.
2. Cover with a plastic barrier
The way to prevent the mingling of any type of insulation and dirt is to tightly cover the floor with a plastic vapor barrier. This type of seal minimizes the development of moisture in the dirt and other areas of the crawl space. In turn, it stops the development of mold spores.
3. Don’t use fiberglass insulation
Even though you place a seal on the dirt floor it won’t stop moisture from accumulating in roll-out fiberglass insulation. Just like other unprotected areas in the crawl space, it can start to mold once it encounters moisture. At the point this happens it will cost more to both clean the area and replace the insulation.
4. Use rigid foam insulation
This type of insulation is different than the roll-out. Its rigidity helps to form an encapsulation of the crawl space that isn’t affected by moisture in the dirt or the air. In addition, rigid foam insulation doesn’t absorb moisture.
5. Use a dehumidifier
To ensure all moisture remnants are removed from the crawl space, place a dehumidifier in the area. It will collect all remaining moisture from the air so the space remains dry and clean through all types of weather.
In the end, protecting a crawl space with a dirt floor is very similar to doing the same with a wood surface. The extra steps involve covering the dirt to stop it from accumulating moisture and spreading bacteria. However, after the plastic barrier and rigid foam are added, the crawl space will be dry and clean. The result is a comfortable home with lower utility costs and a minimized risk of mold spores.