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Cold Floors Over Crawl Spaces?

Overhead view of a basement window well filled with dirt, plants, and even a seedling maple tree.

In the winter, cold air will pour into your crawl space through the vents.

Along with cooling your floor, it will also cool any utilities, pipes, and heating ducts located in the space.

Cold floors can have a big impact on the quality of life of a household. These floors can feel cold underfoot even when the residents are wearing socks, and they also lead to a drafty, chilly environment on the first floor.

When a home has a crawl space installed, the floors above are infamous for being cold, as they continue to be chilled by the cold climate below.

For decades, the accepted method for dealing with cold floors over crawl spaces has been to insulate the floor joists (the crawl space ceiling). This protects the floor from the chill of the space below.

However, there are significant flaws to insulating the floor joist that prevent it from being a long-term, effective solution.

Basement Systems would like to share some of the reasons that we don't recommend installing fiberglass insulation on the crawl space ceiling, as well as which other crawl space solutions are available.

Get a Free EstimateDo you have cold, uncomfortable floors over your basement or crawl space? We have solutions for cold floors, crawl space humidity, and much more!

Call us today for a free, no-obligation crawl space insulation estimate!

Why Should You Fix Your Cold Floors?

View of a damp, rotting crawl space with insulation dripping off the ceiling.

Fiberglass insulation on the floor joists in a crawl space will help keep the floor above warm. It will also help to stop that "echo" that can be heard when you walk on the floors suspended over a crawl space.

However, in a moist, ventilated crawl space, this insulation will eventually rot and become soaked with moisture. This will cause it to fall off the ceiling and on to the floor.

Homeowners are in direct contact with the floors of their house more often than any other surface in the home. When the flooring is cold, it becomes a continuing source of discomfort for all who live there.

A cold floor also leads to a drafty, uncomfortable living space. As the cold air rises upwards from the crawl space due to the stack effect, your home will become a much less desirable place to live in.

As the cold from your crawl space permeates the house, your heating system will have to work extra hard to fight its effects, leading to higher utility bills. And in the summer, the humidity rising from a damp crawl space will force your home's cooling system to work harder as well.

Insulating under the floor will keep it warmer, but this solution also ignores the larger problem of a cold crawl space.

While you're not likely to enter your crawl space, there are many things down there that you don't want cold -- including your furnace, water heater, hot water pipes, and heating ducts.

You pay a lot for these utilities to warm your home -- if they're cold, they'll need much more energy (and more of your money) just to do their job.

Crawl Space Humidity & Mold

If your crawl space has open vents or bare concrete walls made of concrete or dirt, the space is vulnerable to high levels of moisture and humidity. Even if the crawl space does not experience groundwater flooding, water vapor will continually be released into the space through the soil and porous concrete.

If your crawl space has open vents, these will also bring in the summer humidity. As it cools in the crawl space, it will condensate on all surfaces, leaving them moist and ready for mold. Crawl space vents are also a poor way to dry your home during rain, snow, fog, and other damp conditions of all types.

Along with ruining your insulation, this moisture will encourage the growth of mold, rot, and mildew. Odors will build in the crawl space and move upstairs, while the rot will damage your floor joists and structural wood. Your floors may begin to sag, and expensive repairs will eventually be necessary.

Three Steps To Solving Problems With Cold Floors Over Crawl Spaces

While cold floors are a major inconvenience, they're a warning of much larger issues in your crawl space. Instead of simply pushing the problem aside by insulating the crawl space ceiling with fiberglass, we at Basement Systems recommend taking care of the problem once and for all.

By following three simple steps, you can make your crawl space floors warmer, save energy in your home, and prevent a potentially expensive repair project in the future. A crew of crawl space experts from Basement Systems can complete all three steps quickly -- usually within a day.

A crawl space vent cover installed on a crawl space opening.

Seal All Crawl Space Vents

Cold air and moisture will literally pour into your home through the crawl space vents. Open crawl space vents will also allow unwanted pests into your home, including termites, carpenter ants, and mice.

Insulating your crawl space is a great idea, but it's only part of the solution. Before your crawl space can be made into a warmer, more energy efficient space, all vents should be sealed off entirely.

Where applicable, an airtight crawl space door should also be installed, so there is no point of air intrusion in the space.

More about Crawl Space Vent Covers

A crawl space contractor installing foam insulation boards on a crawl space wall.

Insulate & Seal Your Crawl Space Walls

Once you've stopped cold air from pouring into your crawl space, we recommend that you insulate the crawl space walls.

Our SilverGlo™™ Insulated Panels will both seal and insulate the walls, giving them an industry-leading R-11 insulation. The shiny surface on each panel acts as a radiant heat barrier, reflecting heat back into your home.

Unlike fiberglass insulation, SilverGlo™™ is made with closed-cell foam insulation, meaning that they won't soak up moisture. Additionally, SilverGlo™™ does not contain organic materials like fiberglass does, so they will not support mold growth.

More about our Crawl Space Wall Insulation

A crawl space contractor installing basement floor insulation

Insulate Your Crawl Space Floor

Once you've insulated your crawl space walls, you should consider insulating your crawl space floor as well. While the benefits of crawl space floor insulation are smaller than insulating the walls, this is still well worth the investment.

Once your walls and floors are insulated and sealed, your crawl space will be ready to use as a storage space for your home. By installing a durable crawl space liner on top of the insulation, you and service workers will be able to comfortably enter the space in the future.

If your crawl space is experiencing flooding, your local Basement Systems expert can install drainage matting underneath the insulation, which will direct water to your sump pump system.

More about our Crawl Space Floor Insulation

Upgrade Your Crawl Space For Money Savings And A Comfortable Home!

Insulating and sealing your crawl space has many advantages for a homeowner, including energy savings, added storage space, a better preserved home -- and, of course, warmer floors.

If you have cold crawl space floors, we'd like to show you how you can turn this into an opportunity to save money while adding value and comfort to your home. We invite you to call or e-mail us today for a basement or crawl space insulation estimate from your local Basement Systems dealer.

Each of our no-obligation estimates includes an on-site inspection, written estimate, and a free copy of our full-color crawl space book. If you live in Canada or the United States, we have a trained, authorized Basement Systems dealer in your neighborhood!

Looking for a price? Get a no cost, no obligation free estimate.

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Our innovative and forward-thinking approach to designing products has solved wet basement problems that the basement waterproofing and crawl space industry has faced for decades, and our patented sump pump systems are the smartest and most reliable. Plus we listen to our customers and respond accordingly! Basement Systems Inc. has been awarded 24 Patents and 19 Innovation Prizes on waterproofing products we use every day, including a battery back up sump pump system. This approach ensures the best waterproofing systems and solutions available.