I have had my crawl space encapsulated. It has made a big difference in the air quality inside the home (80 years old). However, I am now seeing cracks throughout my home in the walls closer to the top half of the walls and also on my fireplace brick. It has been approximately two - three months since having the encapsulation done. My concern is the cracks seen in my fireplace - the walls I can fix but the fireplace is pretty much a 'fixture'. Is the age of my home so old that the encapsulation is doing more damage then good? Do I need to be concerned, especially with the fireplace now having a 'Z' crack going on? Also, when will the 'cracking' stop...lol. I appreciate all those who can help me with these questions. Asking someone in the 'foundation' business around where I live brings all kinds of 'issues' that may or may not be true issues. Thanks!
Encapsulated? I assume you had rigid insulation boards added to the interior side of the foundation walls. If there were foundation vents, did you have them sealed? If not, water could blow in and get trapped between the inside of the foundation wall and the new rigid insulation. It could then freeze and expand. I doubt if it could "move" the foundation wall, unless it could run down and get under the footing. (Some footings are "L" shaped not "T" shaped.) Water may have blown in the crawl space in the past, but it was dried out with the crawl space vents.
By the way, we always design walls so that the bricks are stronger than the mortar. That way, when the wall settles, the mortar cracks, not the bricks. The mortar can be repointed (scraped back a bit and refilled with mortar.)
I realize this is an older question, but the "community" bumped it back to active. Sorry Robin, but encapsulation is only a good idea for crawlspaces in the arctic and only a bad idea anywhere else.
The encapsulation problem is that it suffocates the ground and forces all moisture to the perimeter...where the building's structure is. I believe it should've never been done and has greatly increased the humidity within the walls (including foundation) as long as the encapsulation remains.
What should've been done is to simply insulate and vapor barrier the bottom of the floor joists. This, seals out the moisture and temperature changes while still letting the crawlspace breath and dry. The only thing that should've been done to the crawlspace itself is the addition of more venting for improved breathing and drying.