How Much Does Crawl Space Encapsulation Cost?
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Also known as a crawl space conditioning, crawl space encapsulation is the process of using a basic vapor barrier, similar to a liner, that will seal the entire space by covering both the walls and the floor. When sealed, this is going to protect this space from any mold or mildew in the future.
A vapor barrier in the crawl space is a system installed to stop or prevent ground moisture from evaporating into the crawl space air and damaging the home. With crawl space encapsulation provided by a vapor barrier, the underside of the house is protected from moisture damage that usually affects homes located in primarily cold climates.
How much is it?
- For a complete crawl space encapsulation, be prepared to spend anywhere from $3,000 to as much as $8,000 for just the liner installation. However, some systems can be as high as $15,000 if a sump pump and dehumidifier is needed.
- The cost of a crawl space encapsulation will depend on the condition, the size, geographical location and the type of materials that are used. A plastic liner that is less than 12-mil thick will cost a lot less than a multi-layer liner that is up to 23-mil thick.
- To get an exact quote for your particular job, consider getting multiple quotes for free from HomeAdvisor.com.
- A user on Gardenweb.com stated that they received a quote for $12,450 for their 1,500 square foot crawl space. This particular job included a 20-mil liner, two sump pumps and a dehumidifier.
- Another forum member on Doityourself.com stated that they received a quote for $12,500 to lay down 1,700 square feet of a 20-mil vapor barrier.
What is going to be included?
- A vapor barrier is a high-density material that resists the passage of air so that the crawl space becomes a semi-conditioned area. It can be made of plastic or foil sheet and can have a 6-mil, 8-mil, 10-mil, 12-mil, 20-mil, or 23-mil thickness. Some vapor barriers are made of high- and low-density polyethylene and treated with a finish that provides protection against mold and mildew growth on the vapor barrier liner.
- There are brands that enhance their vapor barriers with reinforced material and UV-resistant features.
- Depending on the service provider, installing a vapor barrier in the crawl space involves a series of steps, which are: installing airtight doors and vent covers; removing any standing water source; repairing the area; encapsulating and insulating the crawl space; and, installing a dehumidifier to keep the space dry.
- Before the work begins, the crawl space will be cleaned of any rocks or debris that can potentially ruin the liner. During the process, a liner will be sealed among the walls and floor to prevent any moisture from getting through. If installed properly, the liner should be air tight sealed and with a special tape.
- Most jobs are typically going to take one to three days.
- Reputable brands can include warranties that protect the liner from rip and tears.
What are the extra costs?
- If any doors or vents have to be replaced during the job, it could result in additional fees.
- In extreme cases, a dehumidifier or sump pump may be required to get rid of any excess water. A dehumidifier can cost $500 to $1,200. This will often be recommended for those who live in humid areas.
- A special drainage system, such as a trench being dug around the crawlspace, can cost in the thousands.
- Excessive cleanup efforts can lead to additional charges. SEE: “How much does cleaning a crawl space cost?“
- If the floor is already moist and muddy, the issue will have to be remedied before any work can begin. This can often be done by using a sump pump and running a dehumidifier.
- If you are going to do the crawl space encapsulation yourself, you will need to purchase more than just the plastic material itself. Other items may include fasteners, seam tape, and drainage matting.
Tips to know:
- Installing a vapor barrier in a crawl space is usually more expensive when a sump pump needs to be installed. The installation of a sump pump occurs when the crawl space is beneath the water table, which causes water to accumulate. Putting a sump pump ensures that there is no water accumulation in the area.
- When choosing a contractor, ask them how they will perform the job. A good contractor will seal both the floors and the walls with a thick plastic liner.
- A liner is going to help you save on utility bills and future repairs that may have occurred if you had not installed the liner.
- A clear liner is recommended for those in termite infested areas. This allows inspectors to see if any termites are present.
- The U.S. Energy Star program estimates that a knowledgeable contractor can save a homeowner 20% on energy costs by thoroughly sealing leaks in attics, crawl spaces and other hard-to-reach places.
How can I save money?
- If you do not mind doing the job yourself, consider buying a kit that you can put together on your own.
- With any professional service, always try to get at least three quotes. Most companies will be more than happy to offer you a free estimate on site.
- Do not be cheap with your liner, even if it saves you a thousand dollars. Cheaper liners are thinner and are prone to wearing down more quickly over time. Experts recommend a liner that is at least 10-mil thick.