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Category:  Utilities

A Guide To Crawl Space Insulation

By Jerry Blackburn

Crawl space insulation keeps your house warmer in the winter time. Insulating under the kitchen floor helps prevent cold feet in the morning. An added benefit is a lower bill for heating your home. The method and materials used depends on the construction of the space and if it is ventilated. Installing insulation isn't difficult. In most cases, for a homeowner with a little knowledge, this is a good DIY job. The typical space can be insulated over a weekend.

Types of Crawl Space Insulation

  Several materials can be used for insulating your crawl space . Typical materials are fiberglass, wood fibers, foams and paper fibers. Insulating materials come in blanket form, in rigid sheets or loose. The type you choose will depend on whether you are insulating the exterior walls or under the floor of your home.

Regardless of the material used, the basic concept is the same. The insulating materials work like the blankets on your bed on a cold night. The blankets trap air near the source of heat and prevent the warm air from escaping. Heat normally radiates out and away from its source. Insulating materials prevent this from happening.

Products are rated based on their efficiency. More effective insulating materials will be more expensive. The rating is known as the R value, which stands for flow resistance. The higher the rating, the more energy efficient the product. You will generally find this information on the package. If it's not there, ask the salesperson.

Where to Install Crawl Space Insulation

There are generally two choices for insulating a crawl space. You can either insulate the exterior walls of the space or the ceiling of the crawl space under the floor of your home. A main consideration in deciding is whether or not the space is ventilated. You should only insulate the walls of an unventilated crawl space.

In most cases, it's better to insulate the exterior walls. The typical material used is fiberglass bat. This will need to be cut to fit the wall from the top, all the way down and extending onto the ground a few feet. You may need to attach wood strips to the wall and staple the insulation to the wood. Another option is to nail into the wood at the top of the wall and drape the insulation.

When you insulate the exterior walls, you need to put a vapor barrier on the ground. This will prevent moisture from seeping from the ground into your crawl space. This moisture can cause mildew to grow in the space. The exterior walls should only be insulated if the space remains dry all year. There should be no ventilation to the outside and any ventilation should be blocked.

If your crawl space is vented, you will need to insulate under the floor. When you do this, be sure to insulate any water pipes and ducts in the space. If you don't do this, your pipes may freeze and burst in the winter. Several materials can be used for this job. You can use unfaced bats or fiberglass with a foil vapor barrier if moisture is an issue. Reflective materials are available and are excellent for keeping the floor warm in the winter.

Insulating the floor can also reduce the noise level in your home. It acts as a soundproofing material. This results in less noise when the kids run across the carpet or the tile floor.

When working with any type of materials, safety is important. Always wear long sleeves and pants, as fiberglass and other materials are irritating to the skin. Wear gloves on your hands. A dust mask and eye protection are also needed.


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Category:  Utilities

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