Vapor barrier installation by Neil Kelly

Home Fixes



Home Remodeling In The Crawlspace

Okay, it’s not the “sexiest” part of your home, but if your crawlspace isn’t performing well you will feel it in every room.  What good is a $50,000 home remodeling project if you’re chilly and uncomfortable? Here’s a statistic that should get your attention: “Studies have shown that up to 50% of the air we breathe in hour homes comes from the crawlspace,” says Neil Kelly Home Performance Manager, Chad Ruhoff. “The condition of your crawlspace should be of concern to you and it’s a good idea to seal the boundary between your home and your crawl space,” he says.

Home Remodeling Questions About Crawlspaces

The most common question about crawlspaces is whether or not they should be vented.  Technical Expert for Portland General Electric, Mark Whitney, says the difficulty in answering that question is that crawlspaces are like snowflakes:  No two are the same.  “Some (crawlspaces) are vented, some are not,” he says. “Most times you can insulate the floor, but other times it makes sense to insulate the foundation walls instead.

Crawlspace Checklist for Home Remodeling

There are a number of issues to address to determine just how your crawlspace should be sealed:

  1.  Is there water in the crawlspace?
  2.  Are there ductwork or pipes that run through the crawlspace?
  3.  If the crawlspace has a dirt floor is there an appropriate vapor barrier?

To Get Started: Check the “Big Daddy”

The single most important home remodeling test you need to make before considering how to seal your crawlspace is to test for radon.  Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that is the second-largest contributor to lung cancer–second only to cigarette smoking.  Neil Kelly’s Home Improvement division can perform this test — affordably and quickly.

Don’t Do It Yourself

“I would never recommend insulating crawlspaces as a do-it-yourself project, “Whitney says. “There are too many variables, and if the job is done Incorrectly you could end up with mold or other serious problems.”  Besides the obvious health implications, managing your crawlspace incorrectly could cost you thousands of dollars of home remodeling repairs down the road. “I grew up in the 1980’s”, says Chad Ruhoff. “When winter came we would block the vents to keep warm in inside. The problem was is that we were creating situations where mold could grow,” he says. “We ended up having to fix a lot of dry rot on those buildings.”

Free is a Very Good Price

Neil Kelly Home Performance offers a free energy audit that will give you a better idea not only how to best seal your crawlspace, but it will identify other areas of your home where you’re wasting energy.  Not only will these performance-related home remodeling projects save you money on your utility bills, but it will make your home a much more comfy place!