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Ronald McDonald House Winston-Salem Crawl Space Encapsulation

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Thursday, March 13th, 2014


The Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem has a 550 sq. ft. crawl space below the main building, which contained the kitchen, dining area, offices and some guest rooms. This crawl space was in pretty bad condition; showing signs of moisture, mold and structural issues. The earth has very high humidity in the soil. This water vapor moves easily into the crawl space and upwards into the house environment, which is why many crawl spaces have some sort of a vapor barrier. The plastic that lined the floor at the Ronald McDonald House was thin, worn and did very little to keep the humidity levels low and moisture out of the crawl space. Because the crawl space was damp and humid, it cause condensation in the space, which in part cause the insulation to fall or sag. One of the main concerns was keeping the House warm in the winter and here is no point in floor insulation if air can easily pass through. Additionally, there were signs of settlement or insufficient structural support, as some of the floors above the crawl space were not level.  Lastly, the dampness and humidity in the crawl space was causing mold growth on some of the floor joists. All of these are symptoms of a vented dirt crawl space.


Tar Heel Basement Systems’ System Design Specialist, Kent Dunn, did a complete interior and exterior inspection of the crawl space and was able to diagnose the problems and offer a solution for repair. First, a trench was dug around the interior perimeter of the crawl space and EZ-Flow, a gravel-free filter fabric drainage system engineered for improved water flow rates, greater storage capacity and structural integrity to resist compaction, was buried in that trench. Next, drainage matting was installed over the exposed dirt to create a drainage space under the CrawlSeal for water to flow beneath. It also adds durability, puncture resistance and a thermal break. X-Grade Crawl Space Insulation was secured to the walls of the crawl space and in the band to keep this space warm in the winter and cool in the summer. X-Grade Crawl Space Insulation panels have tiny graphite particles that permeate its foam insulation to reflect heat and lower the material’s conductivity for superior R value per inch. In addition to resisting heat conduction, X-Grade Crawl Space Insulation boasts a radiant barrier, which reflects heat back into your crawl space for ultimate energy savings. Next, Tar Heel installed a SafeDri triple sump pump to remove any water from the crawl space. The SafeDri triple sump pump system has 3 pumps to give complete protection. If the first pump fails, the second one takes over. If the first pump can’t keep up, then the primary (and more powerful) secondary pump run at the same time- more than doubling capacity. And if the power goes out, an SafeDri battery back-up pump takes over- and it’s automatic. Next, the crew installed the 20 mil thick CrawlSeal vapor barrier along the floor, piers and walls of the crawl space to isolate the Ronald McDonald House from the earth below. The liner seals outside air and dramatically reduces the humidity level in the space. By installing the Tar Heel dehumidifier in the crawl space, it eliminates mold growth and rot, and makes the whole house healthier.

Project Summary

Installing Contractor: Tar Heel Basement Systems

Certified System Design Specialist: Kent Dunn

Products Installed: X-Grade Crawl Space Insulation, CrawlSeal Liner, Delta Drainage Matting, EZ-Flow Drain Pirpes, SafeDri Triple Sump Pump, Tar Heel Dehumidifier, (2) IntelliJack Crawl Space Supports

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