What is a Basement Encapsulation?
Originally posted 7/30/19; revised by Kelly Kater on 7/23/20
Your home is an investment, your refuge, your place of belonging. It should be a safe, healthy space when you and your family can flourish, while also being a place where you can express yourself and your personal style. If you have a basement, you should be able to use it in a way that works best for you. Is that for storage, a laundry room, a personal gym, a fully furnished apartment? That’s up to you.
Or it should be, anyway! Sometimes basements can be troublesome, with cracking walls, water seepage, or musty odors. That’s when you need a knowledgeable and experienced contractor to remedy the situation.
Acculevel is a family-owned and operated business that waterproofs and repairs foundations. Started in 1996 by Andy Beery, we’ve helped tens of thousands of homeowners restore their basements to a healthy functioning space. Encapsulation is an excellent choice for homeowners who want a clean, dry, odor-free basement.
What is Encapsulation?
Encapsulating a basement means sealing it against moisture leaks, after a water drainage system is installed. Keeping water out of your basement is only part of the solution; you also need to get it away from your foundation. For more information about the damage water can do to a foundation, we have an article that explains hydrostatic pressure.
Encap itself is a heavy-duty polyethylene liner, designed to prevent leaks and water vapor intrusion. Acculevel installs an encap that contains an antimicrobial coating; this coating inhibits mold growth and preserves the material against decay. Our encapsulation includes a 25 year warranty.
When it’s installed, sections of the liner are sized to cover the affected parts of the basement. The liner is trimmed to fit around obstacles, and the seams are overlapped and secured to eliminate any gaps.
This photo was taken by an Acculevel crew member after encapsulation was completed.
Which Homeowners Benefit from Basement Encapsulation?
I mentioned at the beginning that encapsulation is a good option for anyone who wants a clean and dry basement free of odors. And this is absolutely true. But we strongly recommend encapsulation to two types of homeowners.
- If you live in an older home that has a foundation built out of brick or stone. These building materials are highly permeable and offer less resistance to water seepage (when compared to modern concrete or concrete block). Water can have a damaging effect on the mortar joints between bricks and stones, which increases the likelihood of water seepage. Water seepage leads to foundation decay, mold growth, and provides an ideal home for invasive pests like termites. We review the benefits to a waterproof basement in another blog.
- If you plan to fully finish all or a part of your basement. Even when you have a properly functioning drainage system to control water seepage, the foundation itself can become damp. That humidity alone can be enough to allow mold to develop in the insulation. By the time you’ve detected it, it will have spread to your drywall and wooden framing. At that point, you have to remove the affected section, treat the problem, and re-do the finishes. Imagine how frustrating that would be! You install a shiny new home theater in your basement, develop mold along one wall, then tear a portion of it apart, clean up and start over. No thank you!
Are You Ready to Encapsulate Your Basement?
Or are you still debating? If you would like more information, we have articles that explain the benefits of waterproofing, the costs of waterproofing, and the dangers of mold.
If you’re ready to get a quote on the process? Look for an experienced and qualified contractor. Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations, then do your research. We advise that you verify the company is reputable, insured, and accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
If you live in Indiana or the surrounding states, contact Acculevel! We provide free written estimates that are valid for 12 months. You will meet with an experienced project manager who will evaluate your basement and foundation. They will then recommend the best course of action for you, to keep your home strong and healthy for years to come.