It’s funny because I never hear this question. There’s more objections to closing the vents than any other crawl space subject. I think the question that is really being asked is; is it worth it? Is crawl space encapsulation worth the initial investment?
To answer the initial question, the answer is yes. Crawl space encapsulation will help you solve moisture problems in your crawl space by sealing out the moisture from the outside. However, most homeowners are usually concerned about the cost and the DIY of getting an encapsulation done.
Is it the cost of encapsulation that is the concern? We think so, but I’m also sure homeowners want to make sure it works too. Wouldn’t you?
My answer would be; how much is it worth to eliminate the crawl space from having problems? How much does it cost to remove mold, or treat for termites? Is it really worth replacing your roof before it leaks? You can see where I’m going with this. You are probably here on this blog because you are having problems or you know someone that is.
Aside from fixing anything that is currently wrong it really is an investment in keeping it from getting worse and costing you more. The average cost of repairing rotted joist is about $3500, now that is not for replacing all of them but it does pay for around 10 or 15 to be replaced. We did a job in Linden Michigan in the Fall of 2008 that needed 22 joist and 45′ of main beam replaced. It was a summer cabin the family used on the weekends and during Christmas time.
The crawl space was 2200 sq ft and only 18″ high, a bit of a challenge I might add. The homeowner (Tom) knew it needed to be fixed and was having trouble finding a company that wasn’t trying to retire on his bank account . With this amount of damage it wasn’t hard to see why the salesman’s eyes would light up. In the end, we installed a drain system and sump pump, closed seven foundation vents, implemented a 16 Mil SilverBack™ vapor barrier and replaced the 22 rotted joists as well as the 45′ of main beam. Yes, a total of 22.
When you have moisture in the crawl space, you don’t want to mess around. It’s better to pay a few thousand dollars now to encapsulate your crawl space rather than upward of $10K later when you have no choice but to pay the bill.
Crawl Space Encapsulation Cost
The price? Well, the structure repair was $8500 and the rest was another $8000. Hardly chump change for a weekend home, but Tom really didn’t have any choice. It was that or ride it out until the floor fell in then walk away. I can tell you story after story about a homeowner that either inherited, bought or neglected a problem crawl space. Either way it still hurts.
Here’s the lesson. If you have a crawl space moisture problem now, get it fixed. It’s going to cost you a lot more money later.
Tom spent well over $15K for his repairs and it wouldn’t have cost him half that if he made the right calls sooner.
If you catch your trouble early, you can keep the cost and repairs down to a few thousand.
Crawl Space Encapsulation Materials
There’s a few different materials you’ll need before you can start your encapsulation.
For starters, you’re going to need a crawl space vapor barrier, crawl space seal tape, a crawl space dehumidifier, not to mention a light, shovel, gloves, measuring tape, cutting blade, and all the other crawl space tools you’ll need.
The crawl space encapsulation materials you need will depend on the condition of your crawl space and if it has been prepped before hand. You’ll need to clear everything out of the crawl space prior to getting started. You may need to level the crawl space floor as needed.
The video below will give you a general idea of what to expect and some expert guidance.
Crawl space encapsulation refers to the process of encapsulating the crawl space.
Crawl space vapor barriers are used to seal the crawl space floors and walls. These are also called crawl space liners.
The most common vapor barriers are the 12 mil and 20 mil sizes, but liners also come in 6 mil, 8 mil and 10 mil sizes.
The goal of encapsulating the crawl space is to seal out all the moisture you can. It is moisture that causes many crawl space problems, such as water in the crawl space, wood rot and black mold.