There are many reasons you might want to encapsulate—or seal up—the crawl space beneath your home.
For one, it can help prevent excess moisture in the house—not to mention mold, mildew, and musty smells that can come with it. Encapsulation can also ward off pest infestations, reduce your heating and cooling costs, and even improve your property’s overall air quality.
What will it cost to reap all these benefits, though? It depends on a number of factors.
- Sealing up your home's crawl space—called "encapsulation"—can have many benefits, such as preventing moisture and pests.
- It typically costs around $5,500 to encapsulate a crawl space, but costs may range between $1,500 and $15,000.
- There are ways to reduce the cost, but if you’re still having trouble, consider financing options like a cash-out refinance or HELOC.
What Is Crawl Space Encapsulation?
Encapsulation is the act of sealing up your crawl space—the area located directly between your home’s floor and the ground—with various barriers and insulation.
You might consider encapsulating your home’s crawl space if you:
- Are having pest problems
- See condensation on your windows
- See mold or mildew
- Smell a musty odor
- Have floors that are soft or separating
- Have insulation that is wet
- Notice cracks in your foundation
- Have HVAC costs that are getting out of hand
This is done to prevent mold problems, pest infestations, odors, and other issues that can brew in these typically damp places.
What Determines Crawl Space Encapsulation Cost?
Crawl space encapsulation costs vary widely from home to home. All in, it typically costs around $5,500 to encapsulate a crawl space. For smaller projects, it could cost as little as $1,500, while larger and more complicated projects could cost as much as $15,000.
Here are just a few factors that may influence the price of this project.
You’ll need vapor and thermal barriers, a dehumidifier, a drainage system, insulation, lighting, and more. Insulation alone can run as high as $300, depending on the size of your space.
The Condition of the Crawl Space
In some cases, you may need to address pest, drainage, mold, and other problems before you can encapsulate your crawl space. Dealing with these issues can add significant costs to the project total. You may also need to clean the crawl space before beginning your work.
If you’re using professional contractors, then this will increase your project costs as well. The price of encapsulation services varies and depends largely on the level of experience a contractor has, along with the complexity of the project.
Depending on where you’re located, you may need a city or state permit in order to start your encapsulation project. In North Carolina, for example, you would need a permit if the project were to cost more than $15,000. The costs of these permits vary depending on location.
In total, it typically costs around $5,500 to encapsulate a crawl space. For smaller spaces, it could cost $1,500, while larger and more complicated projects may cost as much as $15,000.
Tips for Reducing Your Costs
If the costs of professionally encapsulating your crawl space are beyond your budget, you can opt for a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. Just make sure you address any mold, drainage, or pest problems first before beginning your project.
If you’re sure you want to use a pro for the job, then consider these five ways to save on your project, too.
- Shop around. Get quotes from multiple contractors and companies. Make sure they include materials, permits, and other fees in their quotes, too.
- Opt for a thinner, plastic vapor barrier. These are more affordable than thicker, multi-layered barriers.
- Clean out the crawl space yourself. If your crawl space is full of construction materials, items from former homeowners, or plant growth, there may be extra costs added to the project. Remove and dispose of these items yourself and save money on labor.
- Use fiberglass insulation instead of spray foam. Spray foam insulation costs more than twice as much per square foot, on average.
- Consider a self-adhesive vapor barrier. This eliminates the need for fasteners, nails, and other adhesives, decreasing the time it takes to install them (and the labor costs associated with that installation).
If you’re still having trouble covering the costs of your crawl space encapsulation project, you may consider financing options like a cash-out refinance, home equity loan, or home equity line of credit (HELOC). These let you turn your home equity into cash, which you can then use to pay for sealing up your crawl space or other renovations and repairs.