Many homeowners who have vented crawl spaces are choosing to have these foundations sealed or “encapsulated.” Research and real-world testing have shown that crawl space encapsulation protects the house and its occupants from the adverse effects of mold and mildew, while also increasing comfort, energy efficiency and resale value.
Just how much can you expect to pay for a typical crawl space encapsulation job? Contractors who specialize in this work point out that the cost to encapsulate a crawl space depends on a number of factors.
Size is an obvious determinant of crawl space encapsulation cost, but other details are also important to consider. A brief explanation is provided below.
Debris removal. Your crawl space can’t be sealed unless wall and floor areas in the crawl space are free of debris. Many vented crawl spaces become messy because of fiberglass insulation that gets wet and falls onto the crawl space floor. In other cases, the crawl space gets used to store unwanted items. Homeowners can save some money by removing debris on their own.
Drains & dehumidification. This crawl space has perimeter drain lines that transport water to a sump pump for automatic ejection to the exterior. A heavy-duty dehumidifier removes moisture from crawl space air, then dumps the water into the sump pump liner.
Moisture control. If there’s standing water on the crawl space floor or if a dirt-floored crawl space is muddy because of soil moisture, these conditions need to be remedied before encapsulation work begins.
The perimeter drain and sump pump system available from Basement Systems is very effective at drying out a wet crawl space.
It may also be necessary to lower crawl space humidity with a specially designed crawl space dehumidifier. The SaniDry dehumidifiers from Basement Systems are ideal for this job.
New crawl space insulation. In a vented crawl space, fiberglass batt insulation is often installed between joists in the crawl space. Unfortunately, the fiberglass often becomes saturated with moisture carried into the crawl space by outside air.
Wet fiberglass loses its insulating value and eventually falls onto the crawl space floor. When a crawl space is encapsulated, dry and undamaged fiberglass insulation can be left in place. But it’s smart to install new insulation that will do a better job of improving the home’s comfort and energy efficiency.
Rigid foam insulation, installed against crawl space walls, is the proper insulation treatment in a sealed crawl space. Rigid foam won’t absorb water, lose its R-value or fall out of place like fiberglass does.
Sealing vent & door openings. As part of the encapsulation process, vent and door openings will need to be sealed with covers that are airtight but removable, in case it’s necessary to get into the crawl space in the future.
The size and number of openings in the foundation will have an impact on the cost of encapsulating a crawl space. If your crawl space door is located below grade level in a window well, consider upgrading to a Turtl® Crawl Space Entry System.
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