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Crawl Space Encapsulation Cost

How Much Does Crawl Space Encapsulation Cost?

low costLow: $2,000-$4,000average costMedium: $5,000-$7,000high costHigh: $8,000-$14,000+
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Because dirt and concrete allow moisture to pass through, a crawl space beneath a house can easily become damp and moldy. Also called crawl space conditioning, crawl space encapsulation uses a basic vapor barrier (a thick plastic liner) to completely seal the space by covering the floor and all the walls (not just laying the plastic sheeting flat on the floor/ground). Any vents are sealed; if needed the crawl space door is replaced; and in some situations a dehumidifier and/or a sump pump is installed. These encapsulation systems can also be used in a basement with a dirt floor, one with uneven walls and floors, or one with a large rock or other unmovable object.

Typical costs:

  • Costs for complete installation of an encapsulation system start around $2,000-$4,000, average $5,000-$7,000 and can go as high as $8,000-$14,000 or more, depending on the size and condition of the crawlspace, local rates, and the materials used. Less expensive systems use a plastic liner of 6-mil (.006"), 8-mil, 10-mil or 12-mil thickness. More expensive systems use specially designed multi-layer 20-mil or 23-mil vapor barriers, and may also include a dehumidifier, a sump pump or drainage trenches. (See How Much Does a Dehumidifier Cost and How Much Does a Sump Pump Cost.)
  • The most common crawlspace encapsulation system is the CleanSpace Crawlspace Liner[1] by Basement Systems. This is a multi-layer 20-mil vapor barrier, with a mold retardant/fungi inhibitor on the underside. CleanSpace is only available fully installed by authorized contractors, with costs ranging from $4,000-$14,000 or more.
  • Crawlspace Concepts offers the DrySpace Vapor Barrier[2] in 8-mil, 12-mil and 20-mil thicknesses that can be professionally installed or sold directly to consumers for do-it-yourself installation (600 square feet for $330). One Southern homeowner[3] with a 1,500-square-foot crawl space was quoted $5,000 for one contractor to install CleanSpace and $3,000 for another contractor using DrySpace; another Southern homeowner was quoted $9,500-$12,000 to install CleanSpace in a 1,400-square-foot crawl space, and instead paid $1,700 for do-it-yourself DrySpace materials.
  •[4] sells 20-mil and 23-mil multi-layer poly liners, offering installation in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, and do-it-yourself materials nationwide.
Related articles: Vapor Barriers, Basement Waterproofing, Repairing and Sealing a Basement

What should be included:
  • The crawl space floor should be cleaned (no rocks or other debris to rip the plastic) and graded. When installed, the encapsulation system should be completely air tight. All seams should be overlapped by at least a foot, and sealed shut with special tape. Every potential gap or seam should be sealed, as should any vents. lists the standard installation steps.
  • In the past it was assumed that vents would take moisture out of crawl spaces, but now it's generally accepted that they actually bring in moisture, and that a closed crawl space can be more efficient. (See the research report[5] by the nonprofit energy-efficiency organization Advanced Energy.) However, some local building codes haven't caught up with the change in thinking, and still require crawl space vents; some homeowners get around this by renaming their crawlspaces as short basements.
Additional costs:
  • The Building Research Council at the University of Illinois charges $2 for an 8-page booklet on crawl spaces[6] , including ventilation and moisture control.
Shopping for crawl space encapsulation:
  • Information about encapsulation systems and do-it-yourself materials (if offered) are available from Basement Systems[7] , CrawlSpace Concepts[8] and[9] . These companies all offer installation services.
  • In general, it's best to hire a basement/crawlspace waterproofing company that's familiar with crawlspace encapsulation, although DIY materials could be installed by a reasonably skilled handyman.
  • If possible, get estimates from several companies, with specific information about the materials used and the work to be done. Make sure the company is properly insured and bonded, and check for any complaints with the Better Business Bureau[10] .
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Crawlspace Lining + Ceiling Insulation
Amount: $1,400.00
Posted by: Austin Whitman in Arlington, MA.Posted: November 22nd, 2013 10:11AM
Size of Crawl Space: 140 sfType of Material: PVC / rock wool
Product Used: PVC / rock wool
Job included removing existing fiberglass insulation + cardboard from floor joists above, removing junk and leveling dirt floor, and installing pvc liner on floor and sealing at foundation sill.
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