When encapsulating a crawlspace, a lot of people leave out using spray foam. However, it is an important part of any crawlspace encapsulation. You can’t have a full encapsulation if you have cracks and voids that water and pests can exploit. Spray foam insulation in a crawlspace seals off cracks and spaces around pipes, vents, and conduits to make the space airtight.
What Is It?
Spray foam is created when isocyanate and polyol resin react after being mixed. As it is sprayed in expands to as much as 60 times its liquid volume. The expanded foam may have an R-value as high as R-6.7 per inch. In contrast, blown fiberglass insulation may only go as high as R-4. It blocks conductive, radiant, and convective heat transfer and is virtually an airtight seal wherever it’s used.
Is it Safe?
Older “blowing agents” or propellants for spray foam used hydrofluorocarbons that offset the benefits of energy savings. However, with HFCs due to be phased out in the next few years, a new blowing agent called hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) is already on the market and being phased-in until HFCs sunset in 2021.
Spray foam does it need to be applied by a professional or someone with the proper breathing and safety equipment. Isocyanates can irritate the eyes and respiratory tracts, while direct contact with the skin may cause an inflammatory reaction. Once cured and hardened, the spray foam insulation in a crawlspace is stable and safe.
Working with Professionals
A crawlspace encapsulation is not a job for beginner DIYers, and should never be undertaken without the correct personal protection equipment. Depending on the situation it can either be an intermediate level job or require serious professional intervention. Have your crawlspace evaluated by professionals before you take on more than you can handle?.