Is crawl space encapsulation worth it? Absolutely, and this short article is going to tell you why.
When it comes to crawl spaces, it’s out of sight, out of mind for many homeowners. That might be because most homeowners probably don’t want to think about what’s going on their crawl space. We get it. Crawl spaces are dark, damp, moldy, and often full of pests. Not the most inviting of places. However, a certain percentage of the air in the crawl space makes its way into your home’s living area and that means you’re breathing it in. If your crawl space is full of mold, the air will be full of allergens and this could negatively impact the health of anyone living in the home.
So, you shouldn’t neglect your crawl space. You want it to be both clean and dry. Fortunately, you can achieve this with crawl space encapsulation. In fact, this is just one of the reasons you’ll want to encapsulate your home’s crawl space. We’ll talk more about these reasons below.
What is crawl space encapsulation?
Crawl space encapsulation involves sealing the crawl space vents and using a thick vapor barrier to cover the dirt floor and walls. This seals off the crawl space from the dirt floor. Finally, a dehumidifier is added to make sure the space stays both clean, dry, and inhospitable to mold and mildew.
For more information see Don’t Install A Crawl Space Dehumidifier Without Encapsulation.
Is crawl space encapsulation worth it?
As we pointed out above, a certain amount of air from your crawl space enters your home’s living area. If it’s filled with mold and other allergens, that could cause health problems for anyone living in the house.
- Encapsulation, along with a dehumidifier, keeps moisture out, inhibits mold growth, and improves the air quality both in your crawl space and your home. The air flowing into your home from the crawl space will not only be cleaner, but will smell better as well.
- Crawl space encapsulation preserves your home’s structural integrity by making it much harder for wood-eating pests to hang around and gnaw away at structural elements in the crawl space. A clean, dry crawl space also prevents wood decay. It costs less to encapsulate than it does to repair foundation damage.
- Some people report lower energy costs after encapsulating their home’s crawl space. This is because humid area is harder to heat and cool. After encapsulation, the air entering your home’s living area from the crawl space is drier.
- Lower humidity means your home will be more comfortable.
- Crawl space encapsulation along with insulation will mean warmer floors in the winter.
- You gain valuable storage space.
Does crawl space encapsulation add value to a home?
Yes, encapsulating your home’s crawl space will increase the value of your property. This is one reason why encapsulation has become more common in recent years.
Are there any downsides to crawl space encapsulation?
If you opt to install a dehumidifier or a drainage system in your crawl space, they will need regular maintenance.
Encapsulating a crawl space
The general crawl space encapsulation procedure is as follows:
- The first step is to clean the crawl space and get rid of any debris, etc.
- Next, a vapor barrier is installed over the floor and the walls all the way up to the ceiling. All gaps are sealed.
Some homeowners also choose to install a dehumidifier. (At Epp Foundation Repair, a dehumidifier is not included in the cost of encapsulation. This would be an add-on for an additional cost.)
Homeowners may also opt for a humidity monitor that allows them to check the humidity in the crawl space without having to physically go inside.
For more information see Thinking About A Crawl Space Vapor Barrier? Read This First.
How long does it take to encapsulate a crawl space?
Most crawl space encapsulation jobs can be completed in 1-3 days. Of course, if depends on the size of the crawl space and if we’re also doing a drain tile installation. Usually, even a large job doesn’t take more than a week.
What’s the difference between encapsulating a crawl space and insulating a crawl space?
Crawl space encapsulation keeps moisture out and humidity down. Crawl space insulation helps keep your floors warm by keeping cooler air from coming into contact with your floor.
While encapsulating the crawl space will control moisture, it won’t make your home’s floors warmer during the winter. You would need to add insulation for that. You could also condition the air in the crawl space by adding heating and air conditioning.
At Epp Foundation Repair, our encapsulation jobs come with a regular vapor barrier. If you want an insulation vapor barrier, there’s an extra charge.
How much does crawl space encapsulation cost?
As of February 2022, in our service area, a typical crawl space encapsulation job starts from about $5000 and goes up from there. Costs are generally about $7-9 per square foot.
What about DIY crawl space encapsulation?
We don’t recommend anyone try to encapsulate a crawl space as a DIY project. It’s not easy to move around in a crawl space and before you even start the encapsulation job, you’ll need to clean the area well.
Putting down a vapor barrier correctly, sealing it, and then installing a dehumidifier with a drain line is a difficult job for one person. We use a crew of 2-3 when we encapsulate a crawl space and we can typically get the job done in 1-3 days.
When you hire a professional to encapsulate your crawl space you get an experienced crew and a warranty. Here at Epp Foundation Repair, we offer a 25 year warranty on crawl space encapsulation when it’s installed along with a drainage system. Realistically, crawl space encapsulation should last a lifetime.
If you’re interested in learning more about crawl space encapsulation and you live in our service area in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, or Missouri, contact us today for a repair estimate.