High moisture and humidity levels in crawl spaces can damage structural elements and increase the risk of mold growth. Crawl space encapsulation costs $1,500 to $15,000, with a national average of $5,500.
- Typical Range:$1,500 to $15,000
- National Average:$5,500
Crawl spaces used to be ventilated so they could help prevent moisture buildup inside homes. However, that doesn't always work well for homes in humid climates where the outside temperature is similar to the indoor temperature. In these cases, crawl spaces aren't needed because the outside temperature equals the inside temperature.
Crawlspace encapsulation aims to protect your house's floors from moisture damage. Encapsulated crawlspaces can cost anywhere from about $1,500 to upwards of $15,000. The national average price tag for crawl space encapsulation is approximately $5,500. Your house is only as strong as its foundation, so crawlspace encapsulation should be considered an investment in your house's longevity.
What Is Crawl Space Encapsulation?
Crawl space encapsulation seals the house's underside to keep moisture away from the floor joists and the subflooring. Closing a foundation and crawl space encapsulation is that traditional foundation sealing is done outside the foundation walls. In contrast, encapsulation takes place on the interior of the crawl space. It can be accomplished using several methods and materials.
While the national average costs of encapsulating a basement can run anywhere from $4,000-$6,000, these figures will vary depending on the size of the covered area. This is important because if your home is small, you may not require as much work as in larger homes. For example, if you live in a townhouse, you might only need a single layer of insulation. On the other hand, if you live in an apartment building, you'll probably require two layers of insulation.
When calculating crawl space encapsulation cost, there are several factors to consider.
Crawling under houses may not sound appealing, but it's pretty easy if you know what you're doing. You'll start by digging out an area about four feet deep and eight feet wide. Next, you'll dig another six inches and install a moisture barrier. Then, you'll fill the hole with gravel and compacted soil. Finally, you'll add a layer of insulation and seal off the walls. A professional contractor can do all of these steps for around $2,000.
Materials and Labor
The overall cost of materials and installation varies widely depending on the size of your crawl space, the type of insulation installed, and whether you install a drain system.
Crawl Space Size and Condition
Before a crawl space can be sealed, it must be free from debris and be in good structural condition. Repairs can cost anywhere between $1,500 and $15,000, depending on the extent of the fix required.
Many cities and counties charge homeowners fees when contractors take out permits for crawl space encapsulation jobs. These fees vary depending on the city or county but typically range between $100 and $250. If a contractor takes out a building improvement job, the information is recorded in the property owner's file so the city or county can keep track of any changes made to the house.
If a permit is required to do the job, then the government usually schedules a date for an inspection to ensure that the work was done correctly. The costs associated with this kind of inspection are typically included in the total price of obtaining the permit.
Even if people aren't sure whether their house needs an inspection for a leaky roof, they can ask a contractor to check it out. These inspections are usually free.
There are different types of waterproofing. It depends on the kind of foundation whether waterproofers charge more than $600 or less than $10,000. If the foundation is already damaged, the waterproofer might suggest repairing it instead of waterproofing it.
In some areas, installing fiberglass or cellulose batts into the basement walls may make sense if you live in an area where temperatures fluctuate widely between seasons. However, these materials do not provide much protection against moisture problems such as condensation or mold growth. They also require periodic maintenance to prevent them from deteriorating. Spray insulation in crawl space is a good choice because it provides excellent thermal performance and resistance to water intrusion. It does not require special skills or tools to install and requires little maintenance.
Vapor Barrier Installation
With crawl space encapsulation, the critical component is the vapor sealant used at the bottom of the crawl space. It prevents water from entering the crawl space through cracks and holes in the foundation wall. The price for this material varies between $0.50 and $0.70 per sq ft, depending on its thickness.
All current ventilation systems should be sealed to ensure dry conditions in an encapsulating structure. Any remaining openings and leaks should be repaired. Crawling spaces typically require two vents per 100 square feet of interior area. These covers can cost anywhere between $20-$30 each.
Encapsulation of the crawl space will keep humidity from the underside of the house. Still, water pooling around the bottom of the foundation could eventually cause the foundation walls to shift. A sump pump may need to be installed if it's necessary to collect the water and pump it away. The average cost of installing a sump ranges from $650 to $1,800, with most homeowners paying about $1,300.
Adding a dehumidifier may be necessary if you live in a region where humidity levels are high. The best dehumidifier for crawl space adds between $800 and $1,200 to your total costs. If a dehumidifier is needed, it may also be necessary to install a sump pump to remove any excess moisture.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Crawl spaces can house many unsavory things, including insects and rodents. They may also contain extensive amounts of mildew. Existing issues need to be fixed before the crawl space can be sealed off from the rest of the building. These issues will inevitably increase the overall cost of the project.
Drainage, Repair, and Cleaning
Water and building materials don't usually go together well. Improving drainage may require more extensive repairs than simply adding a sump pump. You might need to fix foundation cracks, which can cost between $2,000 and $7,000 individually. Installed drains can cost anywhere from $700 to $5200. Gutter replacements can run up to $1000.
Pest and Mold Removal
Pests, whether mice or rats, should be eliminated before encapsulation. Likewise, the mold must be taken care of before the wallboard can be installed. If these issues are not dealt with, they may worsen and become concealed underneath the vapor barrier. Mold and rodent control costs vary between $500 and $6,000, based on the severity of the situation.
Depending on the accessibility, size, and type of encapsulation required, converting a basement or attic into a finished room can range from $40 to $100 per square foot.
Do I need crawl space encapsulation?
Humidity can cause severe problems for crawl spaces. If you're having trouble with any of these symptoms or reside in an area with high humidity, you may want to look into encapsulation.
If water is running down the windowpanes, that means there's too much humidity inside the house. A dehumidifier will help prevent any further damage, but you may want to look into having an air duct system installed.
Mold and Pest Problems
Mold loves moist environments, but it isn't the only thing that enjoys moisture—termites and pests also want it. A wet crawlspace with pools of standing water will attract all sorts of critters who don't have to walk far to get a sip. And the longer the moisture problem persists, the larger the infestation can grow.
Smell and odor tend to spread throughout a house, and air conditioning systems can carry them, so if your home has an unpleasant smell, check for sources of the smell. If it's coming up through the ground, encapsulation could help remedy the situation.
Inefficient Heating and Cooling
The room's ambient air pressure also affects comfort levels. Higher pressures mean lower temperatures. At sea level, the average indoor air pressure is about 1 atmosphere (14.7 pounds per square inch). If your house sits above sea level, you'll probably notice the air feels cooler inside. Conversely, homes below sea level may experience warmer temperatures because they're surrounded by water.
Indoor Allergy Symptoms
Mold can cause allergic reactions in anyone, even if they don't know it. If the mold comes from inside the house, professional cleaning and encapsulation of the affected area might help alleviate some symptoms.
Drafts and Poor Temperature Control
Crawl spaces are not just for dirt anymore! They're also essential to any home improvement project because they provide additional benefits, including protecting the house from moisture damage, reducing energy bills, and adding comfort to the home's interior.
Benefits of crawl space encapsulation include increased air flow, improved
Protecting your home from water damage by sealing cracks, holes, and any gaps in the foundation is one of the best things you can do for your home. You can also take steps to keep your home healthy by adding a layer of protection against mold and mildew.
Better Indoor Air Quality and Comfort
If you don't want to spend too much time sealing the vent covers yourself, hire someone else to do it for you. It costs between $15 and $22 per vent cover, depending on whether you install them by hand or using an automatic device.
Insect and Pest Infestation Prevention
There are no guarantee pests won't find a way to enter the space between the vapor barrier and the foundation walls, but if they do, that's where they'll remain. The encapsulation process completely seals the crawl space from outdoor air and critters, so they can't munch on the home's structural elements or spread diseases.
Mold and Mildew Prevention
Encapsulating a house that has already been affected by moisture damage can help prevent future issues. It costs between $500 and $6,000 to remove the water-damaged materials and treat the walls, flooring, and ceiling to prevent further moisture damage.
Better Energy Efficiency
Living in an open, ventilated basement tends to get chilly when the weather gets colder and warmer during the summer months. It can also be uncomfortable if there isn't enough insulation between the ground and the house above. Basement encapsulation can help keep the temperature inside your home consistent year-round, reducing the need for heating and cooling systems. You'll also save money by using less energy.
Tax Rebates and Higher Property Value
Encapsulating walls can improve the energy efficiency of a house, which could qualify it for local or state energy incentive programs. Anything that helps keep the air inside the house cleaner and reduces the risk of water leakage from the walls will help increase its value and sellability.
Radon Gas Poisoning Prevention
Radon is the product of decaying organic material in the ground. If you live in an area with high radon levels, encapsulating your house's crawl space will prevent unhealthy indoor air from entering your home. Your local utility company can do radon tests.
During the foundation contractor's inspection of the crawl space, a determination will be made as to whether the foundation will require additional drainage measures, such as installing an internal floor drain or other repairs to keep water away. These may include but are not limited to grading the yard. Hence, water runs away (at the cost of $1,400 to $5,200), repairing foundation cracks (ranging from $2,025 to $7,100) or installing new gutters and downspouts to direct water away from the foundation (at the cost of $600 to $1,550).
Crawl Space Encapsulation Cost: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Crawling through a hole in your basement floor may sound like fun, but it could lead to serious health issues. You should only attempt this task if you know the risks involved and how to install and maintain a vapor retarder properly. Also, ensure you've checked local building codes regarding the hole size you plan to dig. Wear protective gear such as safety glasses, gloves, and boots to avoid injury. And keep an eye out for potential hazards like nails, screws, and debris. Finally, remember to call a licensed contractor for help.