Most central Texas homes that have crawlspaces underneath do have mold. Dirt crawl spaces have high humidity naturally. This creates a structural issues and health problems.
Did you know, 40% of the air you breath in your home comes up from your crawlspace under the house? So whatever nastiness is hidden down there, is up in your home as well.
How? Moisture is wicked up from dirt in your crawlspace. This makes the ground appear dry. The dirt can be dry for two inches, then moist further down.
A vented crawlspace fosters moisture problems even after remediation. Vented crawlspaces enable structural wood framing to be damp. This leads to mold, rot, and is loved by all kinds of critters.
How does an encapsulated crawlspace solve problems?
Creating an encapsulated crawlspace addresses the major problems with pier and beam homes, their moisture problems, rodents, and much more. Watch this 2:19 minute video for the inside scoop.
At Stellrr we cleanse crawlspaces. Get rid of the nastiness. Then transform them into clean spaces.
If we foresee groundwater issues, we also recommend a solution for that. Groundwater entering the space should be managed by installing an inside perimeter SmartPipe and drains to the SmartSump.
We separate the ground from the house by blocking out the vapor with the CleanSpace liner. It is kinda like a pool liner. The CleanSpace liner is a 20-mill thick, 7-layer polyethylene composition with polyester cord reinforced strands. The bottom side of the CleanSpace has an anti-microbial coating.
Stellrr creates a monolithic barrier between the dirt floor and the home with CleanSpace seam & seal tape. CleanSpace liner runs to all skirting walls & piers. Then it is bonded to those surfaces with closed cell spray polyurethane foam. The skirting walls are also covered & sealed with closed cell foam at R-13 nominal fill.
What does the COMPLETE CleanSpace System look like?
What is INCLUDED in B7-2 CleanSpace Encapsulation?
There are several parts to the crawlspace encapsulation system. The foundation of the system is B7-2. This is the 20-mil polyethylene stranded vapor barrier. The white liner is blue on the underside and has an UltraFresh antimicrobial coating. The liner goes on the dirt floor of your crawlspace, and 2 inches up the skirting walls. The liner seams are bonded together.
Then at the skirting wall, we install Icynene Closed Cell Spray Foam to create a complete seal of the crawlspace, eliminating outside air from leaking in. Some Dr Energy Saver / Basement System Dealers use SilverGlo on the walls, when they don’t own a $150k foam rig. But since we have a high pressure spray foam rig, we use spray foam. The closed cell spray foam is also sprayed to seal up around the other penetrations including piers, plumbing, and any other area where the needed.
B1-1 – Rim Joist Insulation
When we install Icynene closed cell spray foam on the walls, we also fix the Rim Joist leakage by spraying closed cell there as well. Now you have a complete seal from the ground, all the way up to your bottom plate and floor decking. Rim Joist insulation is included. Learn more here.
What happens to the vents in my crawlspace?
We have two options for sealing up the vents to encapsulate the crawlspace.
1. INCOGNITO – We can cover the vents (from inside the crawlspace) with a material, and then spray closed cell foam over the material. This eliminates the vents, without changing the aesthetics of the vents from the outside. So the vents still appear to be there, but are no longer functional. This is the standard, included option.
2. COVERS – [PHOTO ABOVE] We can install gray vent covers on the outside of the crawlspace that can be removed. They are gasket seal insulated. This upgrade is a nice way to eliminate the look of the vents. This option adds $30 – $50 per vent, depending on size and obstructions. This option is always a separate line item.
How is this different from spraying closed cell foam to the underside of the floor decking?
Installing closed cell foam under the floor is a better solution than fiberglass batts, and better than open cell foam. Neither of those options are ever okay because they are not vapor barriers.
Closed cell foam under the floor decking keeps your feet warm. It can reduce the vapor inside the house. But the crawlspace will continue to have serious moisture. It does not to prevent rot on the wood beams. Plus every 12 – 16 inches there is a cold gap of 2 inches where the joist runs.
Closed cell foam to the under side of the floor is only okay when there is no option to have skirting walls built around the crawlspace. One caveat is when used in conjunction with a CleanSpace encapsulation. When used together, then you have the option to open the vents in the crawlspace if desired.
What happens if I have a plumbing leak?
First, if you ever need work done down there, your technician will LOVE YOU for having the CleanSpace installed. It makes their job incredibly better, easier, and faster. They have a bright clean area where they can see what is going on and problem solve.
The second advantage of the encapsulated crawlspace verses insulation on the underside of the floor decking is that it provides clean visual and open access to all plumbing and electrical coming through the floor. But if you had batts secured between the joists, or closed cell foam, then it would get ruined with repairs or leaks. However, with CleanSpace, nothing is ruined.
If you are super concerned about having a leak, then we could always install a SmartSump or SmartDrain. Both solutions have a WaterWatch Alarm that goes off if anything happens down there.
What if I need to have foundation work done?
This is easy. If the liner needs to be cut, it can easily be repaired and seamed back together with a new section of Cleanspace. Second, we also have some foundation support options like the SmartJack here.
How messy is the process?
The installation process is a lot less messy than your current crawlspace situation. Overall the process is very clean, when we install the closed cell foam on the skirting and rim joist, that produces some vapor. Also the foam can have overspray, but that is unlikely.
Can I stay in the house during the install?
For most of the process, there is zero concern about staying in the house. There may be an odor in the house if we use MoldX or Shockwave Sanitation. And there may be an odor in the house when spraying foam on the skirting/rim joist. There is no odor when installing the CleanSpace liner on the dirt floor.
It is always best to be out of the house when we are spraying the MoldX, Shockwave, or foam. But we also realize leaving is not always an option. We do ventilate the crawlspace with fans to suck out vapors. And of course the house is a separate space from the crawlspace. So we suggest you have a plan of where to go if needed to get out for a few hours or a night. But most people stay in the house and simply turn the fans on and open the windows to help air it out.
The installing dealer, Stellrr, warrants the CleanSpace crawl space liner to be free from holes and tears for 25 years, or the dealer will repair at no charge. The CleanSpace system is warranted to reduce humidity in a dirt crawl space, with an installed SaniDry System.
When Installed with a Complete Drainage System, the Cleanspace will be free from groundwater on top of the liner. The complete drainage system requires: DimpleMatting, SmartPipe Drain, and SmartSump).
Warranty does not include damage from abuse or moisture from condensation. Warranty does not include water coming from client plumbing pipes. (*Does not include pump failure or acts of God.) There are no other warranties expressed or implied.
ADDITIONAL OPTIONS – Separate Line Items
B7-4 – Sanidry Crawlspace Dehumidifier
The SaniDry is recommended in every Austin area crawlspace to help manage humidity not only in the crawlspace, but in the home above as well. SaniDry is specifically engineered for cooler temperatures found in crawlspaces (which helps prevent it from freezing over).
The Sanidry can remove 95 pints of water per day while only requiring 5.9 amps of electricity. Plus it is turnkey, automatically draining to the outside. In some cases we will drain it to the sump, if the grading is right we can drain naturally outside, or we can also install a condensate pump.
Sanidry has a powerful 310 cfm blower to circulate the dry air completely around the dry crawlspace, piers, beams and floor decking. With Sanidry, mold doesn’t stand a chance. It is easy to set the dehumidifier to 50% relative humidity and forget it. SaniDry is always a separate line item. Learn more and get photos here.
B7-12 – Everlast Crawlspace Door
It was acceptable to have loose fitting crawlspace access doors on old vented crawlspaces. But since we are sealing up the crawlspace to keep the outside air out, we need a air tight door.
The Everlast door is 1/2 thick solid, durable polyethylene. This is the same stuff car bumpers are made out of, super strong, and will never warp or rot.
Each door is custom cut to size on site and installed with a U track on the bottom with special threaded knobs for securing the door, or opening it. The knob anchors are installed into the foundation wall to hold the door tight against the weather stripping. The result is an air tight door that lasts forever. Everlast is always a separate line item. See more details and photos here.
B7-10 Smart Sump Pump
If ground water leaks into your crawlspace, we want to get it out. With the SmartSump designed for crawlspaces, we can manage the water. The sump is designed to fit in tight crawls with the CleanSpace liner on the floor. It has a 1/3 hp cast iron Zoeller pump with an auto float switch, pump stand, and air tight lid that keeps moisture from evaporating out of the sump hole.
What makes it smart? Well it has an alarm that sounds in the event of a pump failure OR a plumbing leak. There is a discharge line that safely pumps the water outside, away from the crawl. SmartSump is always a separate line item. Learn more here.
B7-1A Smart Pipe Perimeter Drain to SmartSump Pump
The Smart Pipe won’t clog and is specifically designed for dirt crawlspaces. The pipe goes next to the skirting walls on the inside of the crawlspace. It collects water from outside that is coming in, as well as water from inside the crawlspace. Then the Smart Pipe moves the water to the SmartSump. The SmartSump pumps the water out of the crawlspace (SmartSump is a separate line item).
B7-15 – Removal of Insulation or Debris
Having a cleaned out area to install the liner is important. If there is existing insulation to remove, or a bunch of junk/debris that needs to be cleaned out of the crawlspace, that is always a separate line item.
Who am I and why am I sharing this?
My name is Shawn Mansur, I’m the founder of Stellrr. Stellrr started as an insulation contractor, much like the rest of them. We had Mold Remediation Professionals who advised homeowners to have the floor decking sealed.
Stellrr preformed work at the recommendation of these inspectors. I didn’t realize I was only putting a bandaid on the problem.
Over the years, I found out that insulating the floor decking was not enough. Ground water still crept under the house and was unmanaged. Humidity levels remained uncontrolled in the home. Insulating the underside of the floor made plumbing and electrical work challenging.
My mission is to change lives and I was failing.
I was frustrated and felt hopeless. Until one day I was introduced to my friend Larry Janesky. He taught me a lot of building science and helped me realize what homes needed was to be cleansed and turned into CleanSpaces. Once we started creating CleanSpaces under homes we started getting dramatic results.
Life changing results for Stellrr clients.
Stellrr stopped putting a bandaid on it. We still accept referrals from Inspectors and Mold Remediation professionals. We collaborate with them to ensure we address any Protocols they recommend, while still delivering the absolute best solution for the homeowner.
Here is what to do next.
Approve the Project and the Pay Deposit. Or request a change to the estimate your received from your Solutions Specialist.
Don’t make the mistake I did. Let’s create a safe and healthy indoor environment for you and your family.
Changing Lives, Cleansing Homes. Stellrr