Everything You Need To Know About Plastic Crawl Space Encapsulation

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020


Moisture issues in your Raleigh, NC, home may force you to scour the web for solutions that will address the dampness. Like every anxious homeowner, you may look at what options are on the table or look for the most effective solution. Only one exists and you’ll find out shortly.

Contractors generally agree encapsulation is the only way out. Read on to learn more about this solution and what you can expect as far as cost, sourcing, and installation are concerned.

Crawl space encapsulations

What is the most effective type of encapsulation?

Actually, there aren’t many options when it comes to encapsulating your crawl space, so it would be misleading to say there are many types of crawl space encapsulations. Sealing the crawl space with a plastic vapor barrier is the one and only solution available for now.

Depending on your location and the weather conditions, you can decide to seal and condition the crawl space using sump pumps and dehumidifiers or just install a plastic encapsulation only in your crawl space. If you live in a humid or flood-prone area, encapsulation alone won’t stop your moisture problems. You will have to install a dehumidifier to control moisture levels and sump pumps to control flooding.

As for the choice of a plastic barrier, we strongly recommend the thicker, stronger and tear-proof 20-mil plastic encapsulation over the thinner, tear-prone, non-durable 6-mil roll.

Where can I get encapsulation material?

After deciding you’re going to carry out an encapsulation in your crawl space, the next huddle is usually finding the place to source your crawl space encapsulation materials. Buying your materials online may seem cheaper. 

However, it is a better idea to seek the recommendation of your local basement contractor before you make a purchase. They know the finer details, and they could get you a better deal from their regular suppliers.

How long does installation take?

While encapsulation may not necessarily interfere with your daily lives, it’s good to know how long the process takes for planning purposes.

The first is whether you’re installing a barrier only or installing a barrier along with waterproofing fixtures, such as a dehumidifier or sump pumps. If the crawl space is clean, the installation will be fast. However, if the crawl space is in bad shape, you’ll have to clean it out before you encapsulate it.

Generally, a well-maintained crawl space will make work easier for the basement contractor, meaning encapsulation could take 8-10 hours. Otherwise, you may find the process may take days if it’s derelict.

How much to encapsulate the crawl space?

If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re interested in knowing the cost of encapsulating your crawl space. The cost will vary depending on the size of your home, the condition of the crawl space, and the complexity of the job. Add to these the material required and the work hours. On the lower side, it can be around $5,000, but it can go as high as $20,000.

Given that there’s a range of encapsulating materials, low-cost contractors may use cheaper materials so they can increase their profit margins. Always go for the best if you can as this is a long-term investment. Labor will take up a chunk of your budget as well, starting at $100 per hour. However, some contractors may charge a fixed project fee inclusive of labor and material. Be sure to ask your contractor how much is charged for labor.

If your crawl space is in poor condition, it’s going to need some serious preparation, and that means you’ll spend more. Flooding and humidity may also add to the costs as you will have to get sump pumps and a dehumidifier.

Should I install a vapor barrier myself?

We wouldn’t advise you to attempt a do-it-yourself with your crawl space. A lot of things can go wrong. Besides, you may just waste time and money and never get to complete the encapsulation project. Since the crawl space is a sensitive place in which conditions affect that of the living area, you wouldn’t want to take chances with it. Mold, leakage, pests and other undesirable consequences including health and safety risks are very much real. It’s best if you leave it to a skilled contractor.

Need to encapsulate your crawl space but don’t know where to start? Request a free crawl space encapsulation quote from your local basement and crawl space contractor in Raleigh, NC, today!