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How to Insulate a Crawl Space

crawl space insulation

How to Insulate a Crawl Space Blog Feature
Amanda Ringler

By: Amanda Ringler on August 10th, 2017

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You’ve finally had enough of cold floors and done the research on insulation, now you just need to know how to insulate a crawl space.

Little to no insulation in your crawl space is always the culprit that leads to your floors being cold and your home being an uncomfortable space. Other problems you may be experiencing include frozen pipes, high monthly energy bills, excess moisture, as well as mold and rot issues.

RetroFoam of Michigan has more than 15 years of experience insulating thousands of crawl spaces across the lower peninsula, so we know exactly how to get the job done no matter what the insulation material is.

As part of our ongoing efforts to educate homeowners, we will discuss the most popular options to insulate a crawl space in Michigan, including using fiberglass or spray foam insulation. We will also discuss the cost to insulate the crawl space, as well as the pros and cons of each material.

Fiberglass Crawl Space Insulation

Crawl space fiberglass insulation

Fiberglass insulation is a material made of plastic that is reinforced with extremely fine glass fibers. This composition gives the plastic additional strength while improving its insulation capacity.

Pros vs Cons of Fiberglass Crawl Space Insulation

When handling and installing fiberglass insulation there are several pros and cons associated with the material. It is a less expensive insulation material and can be installed by the homeowner, but safety precautions must be taken when handling fiberglass.

Fiberglass insulation doesn’t provide an air barrier, which means it will still allow that cold uncomfortable air into your home. The material also retains moisture that will lead to mildew and mold growth.

Fiberglass Crawl Space Insulation Installation Process

Fiberglass insulation can be installed by a contractor or a handy homeowner.

When installing fiberglass, the installer must wear protective gear including goggles, pants, long-sleeved shirts, masks, and gloves. The small fiberglass materials can come into contact with the skin, lodging in the pores. It can also get into the eyes, as well as be inhaled causing serious illness.

Any old insulation in the crawl space must first be removed before new insulation can be installed.

Fiberglass batts are typically stapled into place in the crawl space. The batts must be cut to perfectly fit into the space or there will be gaps that will still allow for air movement into the crawl space.

Fiberglass Insulation Cost

Not every crawl space is created equal, meaning the cost to insulate the crawl space with fiberglass insulation varies depending on the size of the area. The cost to hire an experienced contractor is higher than if the homeowner installs the material themselves.

Making the fiberglass insulation installation a DIY project is a cheaper option, but the homeowner must also take into consideration the cost of materials like goggles, gloves, and masks. It is also important to note that if there are any problems with the DIY installation, the project could end up costing the homeowner even more money.

Spray Foam Crawl Space Insulation

spray foam insulation in the crawl space

Spray foam insulation is a water-blown and organic chemical compound derived from petroleum extracts.

In most cases an open cell spray foam is used in the crawl space. Open cell spray foam can expand up to 100 times its original size to fill every nook and cranny in the crawl space area.

Pros vs Cons of Spray Foam Crawl Space Insulation

Open cell spray foam creates an air seal that will eliminate cold floors and high energy bills. It doesn’t retain water, which means it doesn’t promote mold and mildew growth in the crawl space.

While fiberglass can be installed as a DIY project, that’s not the case with spray foam insulation. Because the material is so complex, it is highly recommended the material be installed by an experienced contractor.

Spray Foam Insulation Installation Process

Crawl spaces can be insulated with spray foam one of two ways – either the crawl space walls or the underside of the floor of the house can be insulated. The determination is made on which area to insulate based on if there is any duct work or a furnace in the crawl space.

If there are heat ducts in the crawl space, then the exterior walls would be sprayed and plastic would be laid on the ground. If there are no ducts, then the underside of the floor is a better option.

Crews first must remove any old insulation in the crawl space giving them a bare canvas to install the spray foam.

The following day another crew comes and runs a hose to the crawl space and spray the foam either on the walls or floor bottom.

Spray Foam Insulation Cost

Much like fiberglass, the cost to insulate a crawl space with spray foam insulation depends on the size of the area.

Another major factor is whether the exterior walls or the underside of the floor are being insulated.

Choosing the Best Insulation for Your Crawl Space

Now that you know the best insulation materials for the crawl space and how to install them, it’s time to make a decision. If you’re leaning more towards spray foam insulation and want to learn more about the benefits, check out our learning center.

If you have made the decision to use spray foam insulation in the crawl space and live in Michigan’s lower peninsula, give us a call at 866-900-3626 for a free estimate, or fill out the form on our website.

Home Insulation

About Amanda Ringler

Amanda previously has worked as a breaking news and crime reporter, TV news producer, and editor in Flint and Detroit. Throughout her career as a journalist, she has won several awards from The Society of Professional Journalists - Detroit Chapter and the Michigan Press Association. As part of the RetroFoam of Michigan family, Amanda uses her experience as a journalist to write content that will help educate homeowners on the benefits of foam insulation. When Amanda isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and rescued huskies. She also loves knitting, making art, cooking, and hosting dinner and a movie night for friends and family.