Looking for accurate cost information related to crawl space encapsulation?
Perfect, you’re in the right spot. In this guide, you’ll learn:
- What does it mean to encapsulate your crawl space?
- How much does encapsulation cost?
- What is the price dependent on?
- Is crawl space encapsulation worth it?
- Is DIY installation possible?
- How do you save money when installing encapsulation?
Crawl spaces can be useful for storage and easy access to plumbing or HVAC equipment for repair, but they’re also prone to moisture buildup because of their location underground.
Your foundation walls help protect against water intrusion, but porous concrete can’t always keep water vapor or large amounts of liquid water out of your home.
Many homeowners turn to crawl space encapsulation to protect the space under their homes from water damage and moisture problems. Encapsulation can be a useful tool to keep water outside where it belongs.
Below, we’re going to discuss what encapsulation is, how much it costs, and how it can be installed in your crawl space. We’ll also go over why it may not be the best DIY project and how you can save money when encapsulating a crawl space.
Table of Contents
- What Is Crawl Space Encapsulation?
- What Is The Average Cost For Crawl Space Encapsulation?
- What Can Increase Your Costs?
- What Can Decrease Your Costs?
- Should You Invest In A Crawl Space Encapsulation?
- What Are the Installation Factors To Consider For Crawl Space Encapsulation?
- DIY Encapsulation vs. Hiring Contractor Cost
- How to Save Money on Crawl Space Encapsulation?
What Is Crawl Space Encapsulation?
Crawl space encapsulation is the process of covering the ground or slab floor and the concrete block walls in a crawl space.
The covering looks similar to a tarp and is made of waterproof material. It acts as a vapor barrier and can stop liquid water that seeps through your walls from damaging your home. It can also transform a dirty and musty area into a comfortable and clean space.
What Is The Average Cost For Crawl Space Encapsulation?
The national average cost for crawl space encapsulation is around $6,000. This price reflects an average-sized home with no bump-outs or additions and a regular number of support beams around which the waterproofing material must be placed.
The total price of encapsulation can range quite a bit, so your particular home can cost as low as $2,000 and might be up to about $15,000 depending on several factors.
We’ll discuss the most significant price factors below to help you estimate what encapsulation will cost for your crawl space.
What Can Increase Your Costs?
The most significant factor that can increase the cost of encapsulation is your home’s size. Larger crawl spaces require more material and longer installation times that bump up labor costs.
If your home is located on expansive soil like clay, it most likely requires more supports or footings in the crawl space. Installing a plastic vapor barrier around supports can be challenging and time-consuming, so extra supports will increase your total cost as well.
If you don’t already have a vented crawl space, installing a ventilation system will be helpful but pricier. Closed crawl spaces are more likely to suffer from high moisture levels.
What Can Decrease Your Costs?
Of course, the inverse of the above situations will decrease your costs. The smaller your home and the fewer supports that need to be worked around, the less costly your encapsulation will be.
Having an easily accessible crawl space that is several feet in depth will make the job easier and decrease labor costs.
When installing waterproof plastic sheeting under your home, you can opt to cover the underside of your house with encapsulation for additional protection against water damage on your floor joists or living space above.
Choosing not to install on the upper portion of your crawl space will decrease your cost of material and labor.
Should You Invest In A Crawl Space Encapsulation?
Crawl space encapsulation is an excellent waterproofing method that can keep the area under your home dry. It can also reduce water damage and the warping or bowing of construction material in response to high humidity and prevent mildew and mold growth.
If you commonly have moisture issues under your home, getting your crawl space encapsulated is likely a great option for you.
The upfront cost can be relatively high, but it can save you thousands of dollars on future repairs and prevent damage to your living space. It can also reduce the chance of termites or other pest infestation.
Additionally, encapsulation can make your home more comfortable by reducing drafts and heat transfer in and out of your home through the crawl space.
You could also enjoy increased energy efficiency and lower energy bills due to less of a need for air conditioning and heating.
Lastly, encapsulation can improve the air quality below your home, which can improve the air inside your home as well.
What Are the Installation Factors To Consider For Crawl Space Encapsulation?
Encapsulation might be the best solution to your moisture problems, but there are many factors to consider even once you’ve decided on encapsulating your crawl space.
We’ll go over some additional things to think about to help guide you to the best waterproofing solution possible.
Since you’ll have a professional waterproofing company in your crawl space anyway to install the waterproof sheets, it may be a good time to have fiberglass insulation or spray foam insulation installed on the underside of your home. Insulation cost will increase your total price, but installing both simultaneously can reduce total labor costs a bit.
Insulation under your home can help reduce air leaks into your living space and regulate the temperature of your home, making your home more comfortable in both the summer and the winter.
Vapor Barrier Prices
Next, you’ll want to consider what thickness your vapor barrier should be. A professional installer can help you decide what’s best, but you can get an idea before even calling a company for encapsulation.
Vapor barriers should be at least 6mm thick, but thicker sheets can resist tearing more readily. A thicker sheet will cost more but may be best for you if your crawl space is used for storage or will have any foot traffic for utility repair or other home improvements.
Sheets that are 6mm thick with a low permeability can also stop radon gas from entering your home. Thicker sheets are generally better for radon blockage but are significantly more expensive than thinner options.
Crawl spaces should be adequately ventilated to help reduce moisture and temperature fluctuations.
Crawl space vents with vent covers are commonly used to ventilate otherwise sealed crawl spaces, but ventilation systems that include powered fans to control the influx of outside air are better for maintaining healthy conditions in the area under your home.
Installing Drainage Systems
Crawl space encapsulation is excellent for reducing humidity levels and water damage, but you should also treat the underlying moisture problem. Installing a French drain or another exterior drainage system can help reduce the amount of water in the soil around your home.
Proper drainage outside can move groundwater and runoff from heavy rain away from your concrete walls and stop it from getting into your home altogether.
Adequate drainage coupled with encapsulation can solve your moisture problems permanently.
Another line of defense you may want to install in your home is a dehumidifier. These devices remove excess moisture from the air and often port it to a sump pump for safe disposal to improve the condition of the crawl space.
When considering the total cost of encapsulation, you should plan to add between $300 and $500 for a dehumidifier, depending on the size of your crawl space.
Cleaning and Repair Costs
Lastly, you should consider ongoing costs for cleaning and repairing your crawl space vapor barrier.
While the price on ongoing maintenance will likely be significantly less than repair costs if you don’t install encapsulation, it’s still something you should factor into your cost analysis.
Cleaning and repair can cost under $250 or up to $1,000, depending on the extent of the damage.
DIY Encapsulation vs. Hiring Contractor Cost
Waterproofing sheets used for encapsulation can be purchased from a home improvement store along with sealing tape, which means encapsulating your crawl space can be a DIY project.
You can expect to pay about $0.60 per square foot of a 6mm barrier and around $200 total for the sealing tape needed for a standard-sized crawl space.
Your total cost for a DIY installation for a 1,000 square foot home will be approximately $2,000, or around $3,000 if you plan to cover the underside of your home as well.
This DIY cost is about half of the professional installation cost, which averages $6,000.
Given how difficult it can be to get a proper installation that actually protects your home from moisture in the surrounding soil, we strongly recommend having a professional installation done.
How to Save Money on Crawl Space Encapsulation?
The cost of a crawl space encapsulation system can be somewhat high, so many homeowners look for ways to save money in the process.
The best way to reduce your costs is to have a professional install your waterproof sheets. The sheets can be challenging to work with and can tear somewhat easily on the ground or cement slab or when being installed around support posts in your crawl space.
Failing to install the encapsulation properly can render the material useless, which means your encapsulation will need to be repaired or replaced, leading to additional costs down the road.
Spending the extra money upfront for a professional installation can provide you with peace of mind that the job was done correctly and save you on future repairs. Additionally, a professional installer can offer you a warranty and may cover additional work that may be needed.
You can also save money on potential future moisture issues and encapsulation repairs by limiting the amount of moisture your vapor barrier comes in contact with.
Implementing adequate drainage outside by installing a gutter system and French drain or footing drain will increase the efficacy of your encapsulation, potentially eliminating costly damage to your home and the need for additional crawl space repairs.