Crawl Space Encapsulation Under Sunroom

“Should I perform crawl space encapsulation under my sunroom? My front room on my home was a separate sunroom addition but we closed it in and added HVAC and now it is open to the rest of the living space. The crawl space under that room doesn’t really connect to the main space. I’m thinking to insulate and put a moisture barrier down. As well as add vents; making this its own area that is separate from the main crawl space. Will this be okay and am I on the right thought track? Thank you.” – Michele Czarnecki, Trevor, WI

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Michele that is a great question. Many homeowners will convert an open deck or sunroom to a conditioned space to add more living space. Most fail to recognize the crawl space will need attention as well, so great job recognizing this up front.

Insulating the Encapsulated Sunroom

I would recommend you perform a full encapsulation of the sunroom crawl space just like the living space. If you do not, the temperature of that room may be different than the rest of the home. Many times sunrooms are poorly insulated already, so you will want to insulate the sunroom crawl space in the same way.

I would do foundation wall insulation to meet code in your area, as well as air seal major penetrations in the sub-floor with spray foam. You could also add sub-floor insulation as some extra protection from the elements since you live in Wisconsin. Making sure you properly insulate the crawl space during encapsulation will keep the sunroom more comfortable.

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Ventilating the Encapsulated Sunroom

Crawl space ventilation with encapsulation is key to removing soil gases and odors from the crawl space. Here are some options to connect your sunroom to the rest of the crawl space to make sure it is properly ventilated.

  1. Create an opening between the main crawl space and the sunroom crawl space to allow air to transfer between the spaces. This can be done by removing a block or core drilling a hole and is sometimes difficult to do.
  2. Add a foundation vent fan like the Lomanco PCV1 to the sunroom crawl space and the living room crawl space. Both will blow out in order to ventilate both areas separately.
  3. Do option 1 and add a PCV1 fan blowing into the living space crawl space from the sunroom crawl space or vice versa. If you blow into the sunroom crawl space, you will need a fan in the sunroom exterior foundation wall blowing out. This will allow proper airflow into the sunroom crawl space. If you blow into the living space crawl space from the sunroom you will need a foundation fan blowing out of the living space crawl space as well.

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Dehumidifying the Encapsulated Sunroom

Crawl space dehumidification with encapsulation is a similar approach as ventilation. Typically the ventilation will carry dry air to or from the sunroom’s crawl space depending on the setup you choose. We recommend installing the dehumidifier in the main crawl space and ducting dry air into the sunroom. If you do this, ventilation options 1 and 2 above would be the best choice. If you cannot properly share air between the two crawl spaces then you will need a dehumidifier for each area.

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Sunroom Vapor Barrier

Install the crawl space vapor barrier the exact same way in the sunroom as you do in the main crawl space. This will ensure any moisture building up in the foundation walls and the soil are being held back and the dehumidifier can work more efficiently. Controlling humidity in the sunroom is as important as the living space. The crawl space plastic and proper dehumidification are needed to accomplish this.

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What Next?

Do you need help with controlling humidity in your home and you live in Alabama, Georgia, Delaware, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, or South Carolina? If so, please contact us to schedule your assessment. Also, let us know in the comments below if you’d like to suggest a future blog post.

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