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Plastic encapsulation - Why it is the most effective type of crawl space encapsulation

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020


Crawl space encapsulation helps keep your crawl space clean, dry and usable. With the proper encapsulation, you can easily convert this space under your home into storage space. Apart from making this space usable, plastic encapsulation helps improve the quality of air in your living space, reduces energy bills and increases the value of your home. 

In this post, we shall show you which encapsulation system works best, tell you how long installation takes, and give you a breakdown of the cost of sealing your crawl space.

Encapsulate your crawl space

Which is the best encapsulation system?

Plastic encapsulation is the most effective type of crawl space encapsulation, as long as it is done properly. While it is easy for you to install a plastic encapsulation yourself, it is better to hire a professional to do it for you. This is because the plastic barrier, if not properly done, can be a cause of dry rot and mold growth in your home. In addition, the plastic vapor barrier does not work alone. You will need additional materials, such as sealing tapes and non-water sensitive insulation.

How long does it take to install a vapor barrier?

Assuming your crawl space is clean and well-maintained, the procedure could take less than a day. Installers will be able to work faster as they have no obstacles. But if it’s dirty or choking with debris, you will have to clean it before they can seal it with a vapor barrier. The same goes for loose wires, damaged pipes as they have to be fixed too, which could take a day or two. In all, at least three days to four days.

What’s the cost of plastic encapsulation?

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Starting with the plastic vapor barrier, you will spend between $3,000 to $7,000 per roll. We strongly recommend the heavy-duty 20-mil plastic barrier. Though costly, it’s durable and less prone to damage. It will protect your crawl space from moisture, pests, and other elements from the outside. You will need a sealing tape to tape down your barrier. A roll costs roughly $50.

Along with our special rigid insulation panels, we also use spray foam insulation within crawl spaces. Batting or fiberglass insulation that traditionally is used can wreak havoc on your crawl space environment if it becomes wet or infested with pests. Along with encapsulation, the insulation methods we use will better help keep moisture and pests at bay, and your home will be better insulated. The cost of these items can vary depending on the size of the area to be covered.

If your house experiences floods, you will need a perimeter drain to keep water away from the crawl space. Otherwise, it will affect the value of your home and pose serious health threats. Depending on your drainage status, you can buy a sump pump or install a submersible drainage pump. A standard pump goes for a few hundred dollars. But the systems contractors like Ohio Basement Systems use are more reliable. The cost can range depending on what type of system and any additional pieces like a backup battery. 

Once you have installed the plastic encapsulation and installed the drainage system, you will still need a proper system that will condition or clean the air to control moisture levels in the crawl space. A dehumidifier with a remote monitoring device is the best option as it sends alerts in case of water or high humidity levels. A unit goes for $780-$1,000.

Hiring a local contractor could cost you anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 or more, depending on the quality of products used by different contractors. Additional tasks such as wood treatment, mold and fungi removal, pest control, and crawl space repairs may be done before or at the time of encapsulation. All these will attract an extra charge too.

Should I Perform a DIY or Hire a Contractor?

If you are on a budget, you may be tempted to perform a DIY as it’s cheaper. But have you considered the implications of a poorly encapsulated crawl space? Improper installation means moisture will still get into your crawl space and cause many problems. You may also end up hiring a professional to complete your job. This will be a waste of time and money. For this reason, you should let a skilled professional handle the encapsulation. 

Thinking of encapsulating your crawl space but don’t know where to start? Contact your local basement contractor in Ohio and request a free crawl space encapsulation quote for your next waterproofing project. We’ll complete a thorough inspection of your crawl space, give you a written estimate and recommend the best solution.