Crawl Space Encapsulation Pros and Cons
A question often asked: Is crawl space encapsulation worth the cost? The answer depends on why the homeowner wants the work done in the first place. Following is a list of pros and cons for crawl space encapsulation that you should consider before making that call. We also discuss the main differences between crawl space encapsulation vs vapor barrier installation and help you decide which is best for your home.
A Few Things to Consider…
There are a few things you should consider before installing an encapsulated crawl space. The answers you come up with will determine if encapsulating the crawl space will be a worthy and cost effective home improvement for you.
- Why Do I Want My Crawl Space Encapsulated? Are you trying to solve a long term moisture problem? There may be a more cost effective solution. Do you just like how they look? The clean look of an encapsulated crawl space comes with a price tag.
- When Are My Plans For The Property? If you plan on selling the property in the next few years and want to encapsulate the crawl space for the energy savings, the initial cost will not offset the energy savings.
Pros of Crawl Space Encapsulation
There are many pros of crawl space encapsulation. The investment is well worth it if you consider the following benefits to encapsulating the crawl space.
Reduces/Eliminates Moisture Problems in the Crawl Space
Humidity is a problem that every home faces. With the help of crawl space encapsulation, you can reduce excessive moisture & high humidity issues that usually arise. This helps to protect your home not only from mold and mildew, but also promotes a long life for the structure of your home.
Prevents Crawl Space Pests
High humidity in the crawl space is sometimes associated with certain pest infestation. If installed properly, crawl space encapsulation can protect you from termites, rodents and other wildlife.
Reduces Overall Heating Costs.
Over the lifetime of the product, you can expect a reduction of heating & cooling costs because the cracks & gaps that would normally leak conditioned air are sealed. Also, by insulating the foundation walls instead of in the floor joist cavity, the HVAC system will run less reducing wear & tear on the system while increasing energy efficiency.
Reduces/Eliminates Crawl Space Odors
One of the biggest contributors to foul odors in your home is the crawl space. The encapsulation process will include cleaning and prepping your crawl space. Your home will no longer linger with crawl space smells associated with mold mildew after encapsulation
Reduce Dust In The Home
A home with a traditional vented crawl space has air that enters through the foundation vents exiting out the ridge vent on top of the roof via the “Stack Effect”. This air contains dust and pollen that can contribute to poor indoor air quality. Encapsulating the crawl space reduces the the stack effect by sealing up all the holes where polluted air would normally enter, starving the thermodynamic engine & improves indoor air quality.
Increases Home Value
An encapsulated crawl space is a premium item. It takes a usually dark, damp and foreboding area and transforms it into a clean, dry visually appealing space. The thick reinforced liner is more forgiving to the wear & tear of heavy handed contractors. With more encapsulated crawl spaces being installed in homes, when given a choice, a prospective buyer would select the home with a sealed crawl space for every one of the examples listed above.
Cons of Crawl Space Encapsulation
Although there are many benefits, you will still need to weigh a few cons of crawl space encapsulation before you make your final decision:
According to Home Advisor, the cost to encapsulate a average crawl space range between $3.50 to $7.50 a sq ft. This puts the average cost at $5,500 to install this system.
A Cheaper Solution Can Be Just As Effective
Consider crawl space encapsulation as a premium moisture abatement solution for your home. There are situations where installing a standard vapor barrier and crawl space dehumidifier can be equally effective for controlling moisture in the crawl space at a fraction of the cost.
Loss of Floor Soundproofing.
A typical crawl space encapsulation project has the insulation removed from the joist cavity and the foundation walls insulated. The removal of insulation is typically the first step in a crawl space mold remediation project. You often see these services paired together. Customers reported hearing sump pumps and other crawl space equipment and noted cold spots on the floor. Reinstalling insulation in select areas of the floor & foam equipment covers resolves the problem at an additional expense.
Not An Easy Fix!
Materials used to encapsulate the crawl space are specialty items and not readily available at the local hardware store. Quality installers usually provide a complimentary roll of tape homeowners use to make small repairs to the liner. Major modifications such as additions & catastrophic plumbing leaks will need the help of your installer at additional cost.
You will need additional maintenance and inspections throughout the year to keep your warranty intact. The cost of maintenance will be dependent on the amount of features you went with during the installation process. If you live in dry region, the advantages of encapsulation may not give you the investment return that you seek.
Crawl Space Encapsulation Vs Vapor Barrier
What is the difference between crawl space encapsulation vs vapor barrier? Normally, the thickness of the barrier and how it is fastened to the foundation wall.
Alternatives to Crawl Space Encapsulation
Vapor barrier installation is an alternative to crawl space encapsulation that you can consider for your home. The purpose of a vapor barrier is to reduce ground water from evaporating in your crawl space. To counteract that, a thin sheet usually 4 to 6 millimeters thick covers the floor. The vapor barrier is not a sealed system and typically stops just short of the interior walls.
As a result, some water can still bypass the vapor barrier and enter the crawl space. A comprehensive and expensive approach is to get your crawl space encapsulated and drainage system installed to better guarantee a reduction in moisture.
The process begins with sealing the foundation vents, holes and cracks. The plastic attached to the wall using adhesive & nails This thicker plastic is usually 12 to 20 millimeters thick. It also has a polyester-cored reinforcement which is more durable than the vapor barrier. Vapor bond tape seal seams and is fastened to the floor walls & piers using adhesive. This completes the crawl space encapsulation process
Contact Our Crawl Space Experts!
If you are a homeowner who is debating what moisture control solution is best for a wet crawl space and basement, please reach out to one of our experts. We also specialize in mold removal for crawl spaces. Fresh Air Technologies is proud to have served our residential and commercial customers for over twenty plus years in the Charlotte, NC area!
About Fresh Air Technologies:
If you are looking for stellar crawl space encapsulation, the experts at Fresh Air Technologies certainly fit the bill. Our technicians have served the Charlotte Metro Area and beyond for over twenty years. Not sure if crawl space encapsulation is right for your Charlotte, North Carolina home? Please call us at 704-270-2721 for your free crawl space inspection!