Is Crawl Space Insulation Required?

Is crawl space insulation required? Many homeowners are confused because contractors are telling them it is not necessary. Why would a contractor say something is not required when building code says it is?

International residential building code requires a crawl space to be insulated. If the crawl space is open or vented, it needs to be insulated. If the crawl space is encapsulated, it needs to be insulated.

We take the crawl space insulation a step further. Crawl spaces are great sources of drafts into the living space. Because of the indoor air quality and drafts, we recommend the crawl space be air sealed too. Air sealing and insulating your crawl space properly will improve the health of your home. It will also improve the energy efficiency, thereby lowering your utility bills.

Crawl Space Insulation R-Value

What is R-value? R-Value is the rating system used to grade insulation products or a material's insulating properties. The “R” stands for “resistance” and refers to the resistance a material has to heat flow, or temperature conduction. The R-value required in your crawl space will depend on your climate and local codes. In East Tennessee and much of the south, R-10 is used on foundation walls of crawl spaces. R-19 is used between floor joists of crawl spaces.

Crawl space insulation is required which is why homebuilders install insulation in the crawl space. If the home is built without crawl space insulation, the code enforcement officer would not give the home a pass on the inspection. If code enforcement requires insulation, why do crawl space contractors remove it and not reinstall insulation? Check your local code enforcement for the R-value requirement in your area.

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About Michael Church

Michael Church has been involved with indoor air quality since 2005 and feels the unhealthy crawl space is one of the major problems causing poor indoor air quality.

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