Updated: Aug 25, 2020
Crawl space encapsulations are getting more and more popular; for good reason, too! Encapsulating your crawl space has a number of great benefits, including: mold and wood rot prevention, improved energy efficiency in your home, better indoor air quality, and more. If you search for the benefits of encapsulating your crawl space, I'm sure you can find tons of information. But when addressing what an encapsulation costs, often you hear only crickets. Why is that? I believe it's less that companies are trying to hide it from you and more that it's tough to put a price on something that can fluctuate so immensely. Here I'm attempting to shed a little light on the topic so at least you have a base to go off of.
Let's talk about what can drive the price of an encapsulation up. First thing might be a sump pump system because the last thing you want after you encapsulate your crawl space is water seeping on top of the liner and pooling, or if it stays underneath, you have a waterbed. Where I live, in Western Kentucky, it rains A LOT and yet it seems that this fact is completely overlooked when new homes are being built because they could be much better equipped than they are. That being said, I can count on one hand how many encapsulations I have done without a sump pump system of some kind. This usually includes at least one sump pump and a curtain french drain around the crawl space, leading to the pump so that any water entering the crawl space is being directed straight to the pump. To add a sump pump under your house, you are looking at roughly $1k-2k in cost depending on if you want to add a backup pump. Then on top of that you will have to add about $20-25 per foot for a drainage system around the foundation of the crawl space.
The next thing that can drive the price up is mold remediation. If you have mold or wood rot fungus on your floor joists or sub floor, sealing up your crawl space with that still in there is a very bad idea. Yes, if an encapsulation is done correctly you will be removing the conditions in which the mold needs to survive. But what is there will still be there, and will now be sealed up with the rest of your house. So, not only will you be breathing that in even more so now, but those spores may be more likely travel up into the home now. Mold remediation comes in MANY forms, including: spraying a mold killer, spraying a chemical "de-stainer", soda blasting, and others. Whether you want to just kill the mold and leave the stains or wipe it out completely is up to you and your budget. But this service can add anywhere between $200-$4k.
Lastly, there are a few small things that can raise the price of an encapsulation. Some other items to consider include: removal of old bat insulation, going with a thicker liner, increased square footage or taller crawl spaces leading to the need of more materials, increased amount of dirt leveling needed, structural repairs, and in many cases electrician fees.
Now that you know what can increase the price of an encapsulation, let's talk about the base cost so you know where to start. I will base all these numbers on about a 1,500sqft crawl space with about 3ft of clearance. Now, I'm sure you can find a insulation company to come out and sell you one of their spray foam encapsulations for right around $2k. But more often than not, they won't even talk about mold remediation or sump pumps let alone offer any type of warranty. Also, it's rare they install a dehumidifier, which is bad news. If you want more info on why that is visit https://the-crawlspaceace.com/blog/f/do-i-need-a-dehumidifier-in-my-crawl-space. Your next option is just about any pest control company. This is a much better option than a spray foam encapsulation, seeing as they usually install a dehumidifier, they handle mold remediation, and they even handle sump pumps to an extent. But, at least for the companies out here, they do not offer a warranty and if they do, they are not very good at honoring that warranty. The quality and seal of the crawl space is usually pretty poor, but you will save some money with these companies. Their base line encapsulations usually start around $5k. Your last option, and the best option in my opinion is to find a crawl space waterproofing company, because no one does it quite as good as a specialist. Think of it like this: you can get a pretty good steak from a chain restaurant, but if you really want a mouth watering steak-you-won't-forget then you need to go to a steak house. That being said, when you're looking at getting an encapsulation from a quality crawl space company, your base price will usually start between $7-8k. This service should come with a long warranty, between 20yrs and lifetime.
The average crawl space encapsulation, for me at least, tends to be around $15k, that usually includes the encapsulation, sump pump system and some kind of mold remediation. This may sound like a lot, but when you are simultaneously protecting the structure of your home while also improving the efficiency and air quality within -for the life of the home- then it doesn't seem so daunting. Hopefully this helped in your search to budget your crawl space project! If you would like to watch a short video on this topic, you can click this link; https://youtu.be/xsSIgJynI8o.
Written by - Lee Sell