Are crawl space vents necessary? Here’s what you need to know
Crawl space vents have traditionally been designed to have an industrial look and, as a result, tend to look like an eyesore on a home’s exterior. They are necessary and you want to look at a crawl space vent that offers the controls you need based on your weather and geographic location. . The good news is there are excellent foundation vent cover choices available today to maintain the important function of crawl space vents while beautifying your home.
What are crawl space vents?
Crawl space vents are vented openings that provide air flow to a home’s crawl space. The-y serve an important purpose, to create ventilation for homes without a basement. The only way to reduce moisture under a crawl space is by allowing air to freely blow into and out of the foundation, or encapsulate the entire area and install a powerful self draining dehumidifier. Most States require 100 square inches of ventilation space per 100 square feet of foundation space. In the case of a home with a crawl space 40 feet x 50 feet (1,000 square feet) would need 1,0000 square inches of ventilation. Vents must be located on three out of the four sides to allow cross-ventilation.
Are crawl space vents necessary?
As a primary function, crawl space vents allow air to circulate, which is vital to the well-being of any home. Good air circulation goes a long way in preventing mold, mildew, rot, and unpleasant odors, especially in the warmer months when humidity can result in moisture buildup.
During the winter months, crawl space vents can be closed to ensure pipes don’t freeze, another scenario that you positively don’t want to occur.
Over time, any moisture buildup in crawl spaces ultimately rises into living spaces, bringing with it any moisture, mold spores, and musty odors. This is a scenario you definitely want to avoid because it can spread mold, causing structural damage to your home and potentially harming the health of people living in it. Furthermore, excess moisture is a strong invitation to pests and critters. Installing quality crawl space vents that can be opened and closed eliminates many of the problems.
Stylish crawl space vents boost curb appeal
Finally, there are decorative options for crawl space vent covers. Beaux-Arts Classic Products has designed a Functional Work of Art decorative grille foundation vent cover combination that offers a blocking plate to seal the crawl space in cold months and screen mesh that will allow ventilation and prevent unwanted varmints from accessing your home’s foundation.
How to choose the right crawl space vents
In the Southern States where Freezing Cold is Rare
In the Southern part of the United States, sub-zero temperatures are rare occurrences, and freezing pipes in crawl spaces are rare. In these areas homeowners don’t really need the blocking plate and removable grille included in Beaux-Arts’s Standard Foundation Vents. They just need one of our decorative grilles with the “fiberglass mesh screen” on the back to keep out insects and varmints. The grille can be permanently attached to the foundation. In this case any of our decorative grilles can be used for foundation vents, since they are all made with an industrial strength exterior grade Urethane resin.
We have noticed however that many homeowners down South, still purchase Beaux-Arts’ more expensive standard foundation vents, because they want “the look” that the base plate frame with the grille inside gives their house. It is true that attractive foundation vents enhance the look of the home.
In Northern States where Winters and Long and Cold
In Northern climates it is important to seal off your foundation vents in the coldest months, with a blocking plate. Blocking the cold air in December thru March helps prevent your pipes from freezing in sub-zero temperatures. Generally, the standard size port to install these type of vents is 16” X 8”, If you are looking for a decorative crawl space cover Beaux-Arts Classic Products offers 3 styles and 10 Finishes crawl space vent covers come with the decorative frame, blocking plate and screen mesh.
A good vent comes in two parts: a frame that is attached to the home’s foundation and a removable grille. Look for a vent cover that is cast from a material, such as exterior grade urethane resin. This will ensure your cover won’t rust, corrode, rot, or grow mold. It should also come with a fiberglass screen mesh to allow airflow along with a sealing plate to be inserted behind the grille during times the vent should be closed off.
Homes with Encapsulated Foundations
Many older homes are updating their foundations by encapsulating the crawl spaces. This is a very expensive process, which seals off the entire crawl space with plastic sheeting and relies on a powerful dehumidifier to remove the moisture. Once the process is finished however the homeowners may be shocked to find that the old foundation ports are left uncovered or (gasp!) are covered with a cheap cover (see photo below). Imagine just spending the average cost of a new car on encapsulation your crawl space but then finding that the contractors has no good solution for covering the dozen scars left by the old foundation ports. These homeowners only have two solutions. They can hire a brick mason to try to match the brick and seal of the old port with brick, or they search the internet for high quality and attractive foundation vents. Currently there is only one such company, Beaux-Arts Classic Products.
Add a splash of style to your home today!
At Beaux-Arts Classic Products, we offer three timeless crawl space vent styles – Louis XIV, Empire, and Arts and Crafts Styles – that are exclusively designed and made by us. These vents, which are made to order, can be opened and sealed as necessary based on weather and temperature conditions.
To learn more about our crawl space vents and other types of covers, please visit our website to learn how our products can help to beautify your exterior and interior living spaces.