Crawl Space Encapsulation

What does it mean to encapsulate a crawl space?

Crawl space encapsulation is a process that involves sealing the beneath a home with a crawl space vapor barrier. This barrier is typically made of heavy-duty polyethylene installed on the crawl space walls, floors, and sometimes the ceiling to prevent moisture from entering. The encapsulation process also involves sealing vents, installing a sump pump, and dehumidifying the area to maintain humidity levels. This process aims to create a dry and healthy environment that can improve a home’s indoor air quality while preventing structural damage and other problems caused by moisture.

A crawl space contractor inspects a dark crawlspace using a flashlight to illuminate a dark section under some floor joists.

Why should I seal and protect my crawl space?

Encapsulating your substructure provides several benefits for your home. By sealing the area from the outside environment, you can prevent excess moisture and humidity from entering your home. This can help reduce the risk of mold growth, wood rot, and other moisture damage. Encapsulation can also help improve the air quality in a home by reducing the number of allergens and indoor air pollutants that can enter from beneath your home. Additionally, encapsulation can help increase your home’s energy efficiency by reducing drafts and air leaks.

A professional examines a crawl space in preparation for an encapsulation project.

How is crawl space encapsulation done?

Crawl space encapsulation is typically done in the following steps:

  1. Inspection: A professional contractor inspects the area to determine the extent of the problem and identify the underlying moisture issues.

  2. Cleaning: The area is thoroughly cleaned, removing debris or standing water from the dirt floor and removing any pest infestations.

  3. Sealing: All openings, gaps, and cracks are sealed using a high-quality sealant to prevent moisture and air infiltration. All crawl space vents must be closed as well.

  4. Installation of vapor barrier: A durable plastic vapor barrier covers the entire crawlspace floor and walls. This helps to prevent ground moisture and humidity from entering the space.

  5. Insulation: Insulation is added to the foundation walls and rim joists (different from floor joists) to help regulate the temperature and make it more energy efficient.

  6. Installation of a dedicated dehumidifier and sump pump: A permanent dehumidifier is installed to maintain the desired humidity. A sump basin is installed to remove any excess water that gets in.

  7. Finishing touches: The crawl space encapsulation process is completed by adding finishing touches such as airtight access doors, vents, and sealing tape.

Will this save me money on energy costs?

Encapsulating your crawl space can save you money by reducing energy consumption. By sealing off that space, you prevent cold air from entering during the winter and hot air from entering during the summer. This means that your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home, resulting in lower energy bills. Additionally, encapsulation can help prevent moisture buildup in your crawl space, preventing mold growth by limiting mold spores from having what they need to grow. Overall, crawl space encapsulation can be an intelligent investment for homeowners looking to save money, improve their home’s comfort, and address health issues.

How do you fix a wet crawlspace floor? 

Fixing a wet crawl space involves several steps, depending on the severity of the problem. The first step is to identify the source of the moisture and fix it. This may include foundation repair, addressing drainage issues around the home, or installing a French drain to remove excess water. Once the source of the moisture has been discussed, the area may need dry out, and any water damage, such as soaked crawl space insulation, may need to be replaced. A dry crawl space increases the quality of life in the house above, so ignoring it is a bad idea.

A crawl space, ready for encapsulation. The dirt floor, bare foundation columns, and open beams are ready for encapsulation materials.

How expensive are crawl space encapsulations?

The cost of crawl space encapsulating can vary depending on several factors, such as how many square feet, the extent of repairs needed, and the type of crawl space encapsulation system used. The average cost homeowners can expect to pay is between $3,000 to $8,000. It’s important to remember that while the upfront cost may seem significant, the long-term benefits of encapsulation offset expensive repairs. Additionally, many companies offer financing options. Our reputable crawl space encapsulation contractors can get you a free quote for what this will cost for your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of insulation work in a crawlspace?

The best type of insulation for a crawlspace will depend on various factors, such as climate, humidity levels, and moisture issues. Options include spray foam insulation, fiberglass batt insulation, rigid foam insulation (sometimes called rigid foam board insulation), and cellulose insulation, which can all properly insulate the area under a house.

If you find the presence of mold, will you remove it?

Mold removal may be necessary, but encapsulation is not intended to remove mold. Professional mold experts should be consulted to assess the extent of the problem and develop a remediation plan. Once the mold is adequately addressed, the encapsulation materials will prevent harmful moisture and mold spores. It's important to note that encapsulation alone is not a solution for a moldy crawl space, and remediation should always be first.

Where do you provide crawl space encapsulation services?

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