Crawl Space Drying >> Structural Drying

For many years, the standard building practice has always been to insulate the underneath of your floor over a ventilated, unconditioned Structural Drying. A better method is to construct a well sealed, unventilated crawlspace, in other words build the crawlspace like a regular basement by sealing and insulating your foundation walls rather than your house's subfloor. The advantages to insulating the exterior crawlspace walls are avoiding the problems associated with ventilating the crawlspace.

  1. There will be less insulation that is required, around 400 square feet for a 1,000-square-foot Structural Drying with 3-foot high walls. Your plumbing piping and HVAC ductwork are all within the conditioned area of your house so they will not require any additional insulation for energy efficiency or protection against freezing. By air sealing between your home and the crawlspace is less critical. The disadvantages to insulating the Structural Drying walls are, the insulation could be damaged by rodents, pests, or water. Install some drainage plane material or gravel up against the exterior home's foundation wall to relieve any hydrostatic pressure and channel the rain water to the foundation's exterior drain.
  2. Provide a foundation drainage system around the exterior at the bottom of the footing and not on top, when the foundation floor when the inside grade is below the outside ground level. Take and surround a perforated 4-inch drain pipe with half-inch gravel and cover it with filter fabric. Then install 6-mil polyethylene plastic across the Structural Drying floor to prevent any soil moisture from seeping back into the crawlspace. Overlap and seal all of the seams by at least 12 inches, and tape the polyethylene about 6 inches up the crawlspace walls. A radon remediation system will need ventilation in the crawlspace to the outside of your home.
  3. By not planning for a radon-resistant construction could necessitate the air sealing the of the floor in order to remove the radon through normal ventilation. The Structural Drying needs to be built airtight and the air barrier has to be maintained. An access door to the crawlspace needs to be positioned inside your home through the inside subfloor unless an airtight, waterproof, insulated access door in the exterior wall is built and maintained. Go over all of your plans for this type of foundation insulation with your pest control and local building code officials to make sure you abide by all code compliance.
  4. Eliminate or seal your foundation vents, make sure that your combustion furnace and your water heater that is located in the crawlspace are sealed against combustion and equipped with an external powered combustion system. Seal all of the air leaks through the outside wall during and after the homebuilding, including the band joist. Position the [ ME] access door inside your home or install an access door through the exterior that will remain airtight after repeated use. Select the insulation levels to coincide with the International Energy Conservation Code or the DOE Insulation Fact Sheet. This Insulation Fact Sheet (DOE/CE-0180) could be ordered from the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse or accessed from the Internet.

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