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How Much Does Crawl Space Encapsulation Cost?

Typical Range: $1,500 - $15,000

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A homeowner will spend $5,500 on average to install a crawl space encapsulation system. Total costs, including supplies and professional labor, range from $1,500 to $15,000. Overall price will vary based on factors like the size and condition of the crawl space, contractor rates, and materials used.
Some encapsulation systems simply consist of a thin, single-layer plastic liner. Advanced versions include a specially-designed, thicker liner or multi-layer vapor barrier, dehumidifier, sump pump or drainage trenches. Added features will mean higher prices.
Crawl spaces in hot, humid climates may be at elevated risk for moisture damage. Older residences with vented, rather than sealed, spaces may also show signs of this. Over time, moisture accumulation threatens the stability of a structure. A home foundation professional can assess and repair existing damage. They can also help prevent future issues by installing a complete encapsulation system.

Crawl Space Encapsulation Costs + Installation Factors

Foundation waterproofing costs an average of $5,500. Depending on the size of the home and whether the system is simple or complex, total project price ranges from $1,500 to $15,000. Options include vapor barrier thickness and number of layers, type of insulation, and inclusion of dehumidifiers and sump pumps. Each added feature increases both labor and material charges.

Foundation Wall Insulation- $0.50 - $2 per board foot

Your contractor will suggest a type of insulation based on the size of your crawl space and its ventilation. Spray foam insulation is priced between $0.50 and $2 per board foot. Batting prices vary: $3 for one roll to $300 for larger areas. During installation, your pro will cover foundation walls in a rigid, R-valued foam board and install insulation.
Your quote will include materials and labor.

Average Vapor Barrier Prices - $0.50 - $0.75 per square foot

A vapor barrier is a plastic sheet that lines the ground and wall of a crawl space to restrict moisture from entering. Prices vary depending on the thickness of the plastic. This ranges from 6 to 23 millimeters.
Thin, inexpensive plastic can rip easily and compromise the barrier. A thicker sheet will resist tearing and effectively keep out moisture. A 20-millimeter thick vapor barrier ranges from 50 to 70 cents per square foot. The tape to secure it costs about $50 for a 4-inch by 180-foot roll.
Labor charges to install the vapor barrier will depend on the size and condition of the space. A professional quote will include all labor and materials.
Consult with a Foundation Specialist
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Seal Vents - $15 - $22 each

After your pro fixes any leaks and installs an encapsulation, he or she will seal exterior vents and air leaks. Vent covers are available online for $15 to $22 each. The contractor will use insulation to seal air leaks around the rim joist, sill plate, and pipe/cable penetrations.
Air conditioning from the inside of the home can help the area dry. For that reason, your pro may add vents to the indoors. When an existing HVAC duct system is present, installing vents can be a low-cost solution.

Drainage System - $650 - $1,800

If your home’s crawl space is below ground level or you live in an area with a high water table, your pro may suggest you install a sump pump as part of your encapsulation system.
Sump pump installation costs about $1,100 on average. Most homeowners spend between $650 and $1,800. The pumps themselves range from $60 to $170 for a pedestal unit and $100 to $400 for a submersible version.
To get rid of groundwater effectively, it needs to be powerful enough to keep up with a heavy rainfall. The unit should have an airtight lid to prevent water from pooling and evaporating back into the crawl space. Some units offer built-in floor drains and alarm systems to alert homeowners when a leak occurs.

Dehumidifier - $780 - $1,000

Homeowners in areas with high humidity may need more than just a vapor barrier to prevent moisture build-up. A dehumidifier costs between $780 and $1,000, not including installation. Unlike household units, professional grade dehumidifiers are large and built for higher moisture levels.
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Cleaning & Repair Cost Estimates

Before encapsulation, the crawl space must be repaired of any existing moisture damage and cleaned thoroughly. Repairs cost most homeowners between $1,500 and $15,000, depending on the severity and type of fix needed. Settling, sinking or mold remediation issues are among the most serious and expensive to fix. Consult our Crawl Space Cleaning & Repair Guide for more information on costs and considerations.
The cleaning and removing of rocks and other debris from the area that can rip your vapor barrier is typically handled by the encapsulation professional prior to installation. Total project rates usually include cleaning.

Common Problems & Benefits of a Moisture Barrier

Encapsulation can solve common problems caused by past construction errors such as vented crawl spaces. It can also address problems caused by environmental factors like high humidity and toxins released during building. It is important to address these issues so that they don’t threaten the stability of the structure. A moisture barrier resolves and prevents problems such as:
  • Pests and rodents
  • Excess moisture
  • Foundation sinking
  • Bowing
  • Mold and other toxins
  • Radon gas

Finishing Your Crawl Space

Even if you aren’t experiencing problems, finishing your foundation is a smart investment. In areas with warm, wet climates, this can prevent moisture from building up in the first place.
Whether you do it as you install your foundation or after you’ve moved in, encapsulation benefits include:
  • Improved Indoor Air Quality: Crawl space air leaks into a home through floors, partitions, and ducts.
  • Energy Savings: Cold or warm air impacts heat and air conditioning efficiency in the home.
  • Pest Management: Keep pests and rodents — and their byproducts — away.
  • Cost Savings: Manage above factors to save money on heating and cooling and to prevent expensive future repairs.

Mobile Homes

Mobile home crawl spaces are like those of stationary homes. Homeowners should expect to pay about the same for an encapsulation system. Consult a professional for a quote.
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Is a Crawl Space Encapsulation Necessary? Does It Work?

Without encapsulation, moisture, mold and pests can accumulate and cause damage. Foundation and structural damage are serious, and preventative measures like this are cheaper than repair or replacement.
Cleaning and encapsulation work to protect your home’s structural integrity and improve its energy efficiency. Waterproofing and sealing are necessary to protect the structure of the home, especially in areas with high moisture.

What’s the Difference Between a Vapor Barrier and Insulation?

A vapor barrier prevents moisture from entering the crawl space. Insulation reduces the amount of outside air that gets in. Fiber board on walls acts as both a vapor barrier and insulation. Plastic sheeting installed on the ground protects against moisture but has a minimal R value (or insulating power.)

How to Calculate the Cost to Replace Insulation?

Calculating the cost to replace existing insulation must include removing your old product. Expect to pay between $0.75 and $2.00 per square foot, including disposal. Removing old insulation can take care of rodent and mildew damage

How Much Does It Cost to Waterproof My Crawl Space?

Waterproofing rates will depend on your home’s specific features. A waterproofing professional will tell you which features you need to ensure moisture is blocked, drained, pumped, and otherwise avoided.
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Hiring Contractors vs. DIY

Most projects require the expertise of a trained basement, crawl space or waterproofing contractor. Although, some portions of the waterproofing process can be completed by a skilled handyman.
An insured and experienced pro can assess your home’s requirements to figure out the level of encapsulation you need. Professional quotes will include all labor and materials for the job. Utilizing a professional will also prevent mistakes or low-quality work that could lead to expensive repairs in the future.

DIY Options

Encapsulation is a job for a professional. Do not try this as a do-it-yourself project.
For skilled homeowners, there are a few situations that might be safe to pursue on your own. When a house is new, it is less likely to find mold, pests or other extensive damage. You’ll need to carefully assess your home’s size and needs before gathering materials. Find and buy supplies via online retailers or at a local hardware store. Materials include:
  • Rigid, 2-inch thick, foam insulation board: $26 for a 4-by-8-foot sheet
  • 20-millimeter vapor barrier: 50 to 70 cents per square foot
  • 4-inch vapor bond tape: about $50 for 180-foot roll
  • Sump pumps: $60 to $170 for pedestal units. $100 to $400 for submersible
  • Dehumidifiers: $780 to $1,000
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