If you’re like many of us, those two words bring to mind a dark, dank, musty space that’s chock-full of every sort of creepy crawly creature known to man.
The thing is, in some cases — that mental image isn’t too far from the truth.
Are you trying to find the best solution for dealing with crawl space issues like pests and moisture?
Encapsulating your crawl space may be the answer.
Keep reading to learn about the pros and cons of encapsulating a crawl space, if encapsulation is worth the cost, and a potential alternative to crawl space encapsulation.
Table of Contents
- What Is Crawl Space Encapsulation?
- Is It a Good Idea To Encapsulate a Crawl Space?
- Who May Need To Have Their Crawl Space Encapsulated?
- 7 Benefits of Having Your Crawl Space Encapsulated
- What Are the Cons of Encapsulating a Crawl Space?
- What Is an Alternative To Having a Crawl Space Encapsulated?
- Can You DIY a Crawl Space Encapsulation?
- Pure Environmental: Your Crawl Space Restoration Professionals
What Is Crawl Space Encapsulation?
Crawl space encapsulation involves adding a heavy-duty, polyethylene, moisture, and vapor-proof barrier to your crawl space.
For the barrier to work best, it should cover the crawl space, including the:
- Dirt floor
- Foundation walls
The process also includes the addition of sealed foundation vents, special crawl space dehumidifiers, and insulated walls.
For crawl space encapsulation to be effective, it’s critical to seal the space airtight. Sealing tape ensures a tight connection of the barrier’s components throughout the crawl space. Once the sealing is complete, a dehumidifier can help regulate the area’s moisture level.
Are you concerned about moisture or pests in your home’s crawl space? Contact Pure Environmental today for our recommendations and options for keeping your crawl space in top condition.
Is It a Good Idea To Encapsulate a Crawl Space?
While crawl space encapsulation is far from inexpensive, it may be a wise move, depending on your needs and wants.
Who May Need To Have Their Crawl Space Encapsulated?
Encapsulating a crawl space might be a good idea if:
- You have an open or aging crawl space
- Your crawl space contains moisture, mold, or mildew
- Your home smells of mildew
- You struggle with pest infestations
- You live in an area that experiences frequent flooding
- You have higher-than-average heating and/or cooling costs
- Your home has “sweaty” windows
- You want to keep your crawl space extra-clean
- You have your furnace in your crawl space
- You or someone in your family is prone to allergies
- You want to improve the overall air quality in your home
- You want to protect the integrity of your home’s foundation
7 Benefits of Having Your Crawl Space Encapsulated
#1: Can Improve Air Quality
Crawl space encapsulation allows clean air to circulate throughout your home.
This improves your air quality and makes it healthier for your family to breathe.
Unsealed crawl spaces are notorious breeding grounds for excess moisture. When you eliminate the source of moisture, the humid air is no longer circulated throughout your home.
#2: Can Help Prevent Mold and Mildew
When unwanted moisture is eliminated from underneath your home, moisture issues that can lead to the growth of mold and mildew are prevented.
That means no musty odors will circulate through your home through your heating and air conditioning unit.
#3: Can Increase Energy Efficiency
Crawl space encapsulation can keep your heating and air conditioning unit from having to fight the damp air that is inevitably created by a moist crawl space.
And since your heating and air conditioning units are able to function with less energy, your monthly utility bills will decrease.
Crawl space encapsulation can easily pay for itself over time due to the increased energy efficiency it provides.
#4: Can Help Fight Off Insect and Rodent Infestations
Insects and rodents need moisture to survive, and a damp crawl space creates the perfect environment for them to flourish.
Encapsulating your crawl space reduces the possibility of creating the conditions needed to welcome unwanted pests.
#5: Can Help Avoid Structural Damage
If you want to ensure the long-term stability of your home’s foundation, it’s critical to prevent the accumulation of moisture in your crawl space.
When you prevent moisture from gathering in your crawl space through encapsulation, you also keep it from seeping through to the dirt surrounding your home’s foundation, making it more stable.
#6: Can Increase the Comfort of Your Floors
When you encapsulate your crawl space you can enjoy hardwood and tile floors that are warm and comfortable to walk on all year long. That’s because encapsulation adds an extra layer of insulation that keeps your floors warmer during the cold winter months.
#7: Can Boost the Value of Your Home
Another great benefit of encapsulating your crawl space is that it will increase the value of your home by:
- Improving the air quality
- Making it more structurally sound
- Repelling insects and rodents
- Preventing mold and mildew
- Making it more energy efficient
What Are the Cons of Encapsulating a Crawl Space?
The main con to encapsulating your crawl space is the cost — and the fact that the pros are usually not worth the price.
In addition to cost, some other setbacks to crawl space encapsulation include:
- Maintenance costs, since any compromise in the barrier decreases the effectiveness
- A possible need for new crawl space insulation
- The potential need for HVAC upgrades
What Is an Alternative To Having a Crawl Space Encapsulated?
In general, the majority of homes do not need to invest in crawl space encapsulation.
Another less expensive option to having your crawl space encapsulated is hiring professionals to install a crawl space moisture vapor barrier.
The purpose of a vapor barrier is to prevent groundwater from evaporating into your crawl space. To keep that from happening, a thin sheet of plastic (usually around 6 millimeters thick) is placed over the floor of your crawl space.
Unlike crawl space encapsulation, this vapor barrier is not a sealed system and usually stops just short of the interior walls. Because of this, some water can still bypass the vapor barrier and enter the crawl space.
While it is not nearly as comprehensive as crawl space encapsulation, a vapor barrier can reduce up to half of the moisture within your crawl space and is a much more financially viable option for many homeowners.
The Cost of Crawl Space Encapsulate vs. Moisture Vapor Barrier
The costs of the two treatments differ greatly.
On average, crawl space encapsulation costs between $1,500 and $15,000 (with a national average of $5,500).
The cost for each of these treatments varies depending on various factors such as:
- The size of your crawl space. The crawl space’s square footage will dictate how much encapsulation material your home’s foundation will require.
- The condition of your crawl space
- Your current drainage system. Depending on the drainage around your home, you may require installing a French drain system and roof gutters
- The number of dehumidifiers you need
- The groundwater levels around your home. You may need one or multiple sump pumps, depending on water levels
- The quality of the materials you use
- The contractor you hire
Can You DIY a Crawl Space Encapsulation?
Encapsulating a crawl space on your own is not recommended.
There is much more that goes into a crawl space encapsulation than may meet the eye, and even with two or three workers on the job, it can still take several days to complete.
The question you should ask yourself is, can you do it as well as a professional?
While nothing says you can’t DIY crawl space encapsulation on your own, this complicated and time-consuming task it is not considered a one-person job and can take several days to complete.
Pure Environmental: Your Crawl Space Restoration Professionals
Are you curious about crawl space encapsulation or moisture vapor barriers? Pure Environmental can help answer your questions!
Pure Environmental is a company that specializes in …
- Home restoration
- Mold abatement
- Odor removal
- Bed bug removal
… and has locations in Portland, OR, and Tacoma, WA.
And working with us is easy.
Simply call, fill out a form, or email us to discuss the job. Once we hear from you, we’ll:
- Come out to your home or business
- Do a complete inspection
- Give feedback as to what we think is the best option for your situation
- Provide you with a detailed quote
- Get the job done right
Contact the professional team at Pure Environmental today!
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- Crawl Space Clean-Up: Dealing With Issues That Cause Dirty & Unsafe Crawl Spaces
- Moisture Damage: 8 Factors That Affect Crawl Space Repair Costs