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Vented crawl spaces have been growing mold and encouraging rot for decades now, and many homeowners are finally coming around to encapsulation as a way to decrease heating and cooling bills while enjoying less moisture-related damage under the house. However, wrapping the entire crawlspace with plastic moisture barriers can make it a little harder to watch for signs of termites and treat them when they do arrive. You simply need to make one adjustment on how the encapsulation material is installed and find a termite company with the right equipment to protect your home without giving up on enclosing your crawlspace.
Leaving a Gap
When the encapsulation professionals are covering the walls of the crawlspace, request that they stop 3 inches below where the concrete meets the wood underside of your first story. This three-inch strip leaves plenty of space for pest control inspection, and it won't change how well the encapsulation works at controlling moisture and rot.
As long as there's a termite viewing strip left bare below the wood, encapsulation will actually help discourage termites from moving into your home. The pests will still walk over the plastic vapor barriers to get to the wood, but they'll find the entire home less attractive due to the reduction in moisture. Termites and other home-damaging pests like powderpost beetles love damp wood, and crawlspace encapsulation is the best way to dry out the underside of your home.
Treating Through the Barrier
If termites do show up and start making nests in your floor joists, a skilled pest control company can still treat the exposed wood and inject chemicals into the ground without having to disturb the layers of plastic. Look for a pest control company that is experienced in injecting chemicals through a basement slab. Short four-way nozzles soak the soil below while leaving only the tiniest holes in the encapsulation material, and it's easy for the pest control company to check that they've covered the entire area through the thin sheet of plastic. The minuscule penetrations points won't let enough moisture through to cause any issues.
Choosing Preventive Treatments
Does your home have a history of termites, or are your neighbors all currently infested? You can take extra precautions by having long-term preventive chemicals applied in and around the crawlspace before the encapsulation is completed. Make sure the pest control company knows you're going to have more work done in the crawlspace so they can let you know how long to wait so the chemicals don't affect the health of the encapsulation specialists.
For more tips, check with companies like Atlantic Heating and Cooling.