If you are struggling with dampness in your home, you may be wondering about crawl space encapsulation, the steps involved in such a process, and what the costs might be. Crawl space encapsulation can make your house a healthier place to live by helping to keep out unwanted moisture that can lead to mold, mildew, and other toxins.
Your family’s health certainly doesn’t have a price, but it’s still important to know exactly how much to budget for such a project. Read on to learn more about crawlspace encapsulation, its benefits, the process, and how much you can expect to pay it.
What is Crawl Space Encapsulation?
Having a crawl space in your home has a few benefits, such as helping air circulate better than a simple concrete slab and providing space for things like HVAC units, plumbing, and electrical wiring. Crawl spaces also tend to be less expensive to install.
While crawl spaces have their positives, there are times when they create problems. One that has excessive moisture can become a prime spot for mold and fungi growth, for example. These organisms love damp, dark spaces and can grow at extremely fast rates — which can quickly put you and your family in danger.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Much of the air in your crawl space will eventually circulate through your home.
- This means mold, fungi, or other contaminants in your crawl space will also find their way into the air of your home.
- Airborne mold and fungi spores can aggravate breathing problems, asthma, and allergies, or cause sinus or respiratory problems.
- In addition, moisture in your crawl space can jeopardize the structural integrity of your home’s foundation.
This is where encapsulation comes in. The process involves a heavy-duty polyethylene barrier being added to the floor, walls, and sometimes ceiling of your crawl space, essentially creating a guard against moisture. Crawl space encapsulation can help eliminate the risks of these issues, keeping your home safe and healthy for everyone who lives there.
How to Tell if your Crawl Space Needs Encapsulating
Homeowners with crawl spaces beneath their homes may wonder if theirs needs encapsulating. The truth is that it depends on your situation: Some seal crawl spaces as a preventative measure, while others wait to do so until there is a problem.
Here are a few signs that your crawl space might need to be encapsulated:
- Visible mold or fungi
If you can see mold or fungi growing in your crawl space, this is a huge sign that you should encapsulate. Just a small patch of mold can grow and expand quickly, eventually overtaking your space and giving off harmful spores.
- A musty smell
Just because you can’t see visible mold doesn’t mean it’s not there. If your crawl space smells musty or you start to notice an odor in your home, get a professional to come to your house and see if your crawl space should be encapsulated.
Termites and other destructive insects need moisture to survive, so seeing them in your home might mean you’ve got a problem in your crawl space. Encapsulating can help to eliminate these pests.
- A damp foundation
While gutters help to keep water away from your home’s foundation, moisture can still seep into your crawl space and potentially lead to structural damage.
If you notice any of these warning signs, it’s time to call in the pros. A team of experts can assess your situation and see if encapsulation is the right solution for your crawl space.
What Goes Into Encapsulation?
If you think your crawl space needs to be encapsulated, the process is less extensive than you might think. Here’s a quick overview of how it works:
- First, professionals (likely a contractor) will assess your crawl space to see if they believe encapsulation can benefit you.
- Next, they will rake the soil on the floor of your crawl space to make it smooth and flat, plus remove any debris in the process.
- They will then make necessary repairs and remove old insulation that may have gotten damaged and replace it. Bonus: This can lower your heating and cooling costs and make your home more energy-efficient.
- Next, the professionals will lay down a high-quality, polyethylene vapor barrier to keep out all moisture.
- The professionals may install vents to bring air into the crawl space and an exhaust fan to circulate it, then tape up gaps between the barrier and the vent to ensure a tight seal.
Your moisture removal professional may also choose to install a new access door on your crawl space to create better ventilation, or add a dehumidifier or a sump pump if you live in an area particularly susceptible to moisture.
How Much does Encapsulating a Crawl Space Cost?
Encapsulating your crawl space has a lot of benefits for home owners and their families, but it’s important to understand how much it will cost before move forwarding with the process. The price tag associated with crawl space encapsulation depends on a few factors, including.
Encapsulating a larger crawl space will take more time, effort, and materials, resulting in a higher price tag.
Moisture, structural problems, pests, or other issues with your home’s foundation can mean damage that needs to be repaired before encapsulation can occur. These additional steps would equate to higher overall costs involved in the project.
- Current Encapsulation
Has your crawl space been encapsulated in the past? A previous owner may have attempted to complete the project themselves, which could mean a lot of manual effort to undo the poor work and bring the project to a place where your professional team can do it right. In other cases, a previous professional encapsulation project might simply need to be patched up, which will cost less than a totally new encapsulation.
Though each encapsulation project is different, you can expect to pay between $2,000 and $15,000 for materials and labor. This upfront cost may seem steep, but crawl space encapsulation will help you save money on energy bills, prevent expensive damage to your home’s foundation, and keep your family healthy in the long run.
Need Crawl Space Encapsulation in Northern Virginia?
If your Northern Virginia home is experiencing a lot of moisture, or if you’re concerned about whether it has ever had its crawl space encapsulated, give the team at LUX Foundation Solutions a call. Our team of experts has been serving its community with top-of-the-line basement, crawl space repair, and foundation repair solutions for years, and we can’t wait to provide you the peace of mind that comes from knowing professionals are keeping your home safe.
For more information on crawl space encapsulation, contact us today.