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Everything You Should Know About Plastic Crawl Space Encapsulation

Friday, February 14th, 2020


When it comes to encapsulating a crawl space, there seem to be more questions than answers. In many ways, this can slow down your decision to seal your crawl space and stop moisture problems. When you’re not thinking about the cost of the project or the timelines, you’re wondering what encapsulation material is good and where to source your material locally. 

Here, we are going to simplify it all for you so you make the right move.

Encapsulation in crawl space

What type of encapsulation works best for your home?

We all love to get multiple options as solutions to our problems. And it’s no different for any homeowner who’s struggling with moisture problems. Unfortunately, there aren’t many options when it comes to encapsulating a home. You’re likely to use plastic encapsulation just like many homeowners in Cincinnati, OH. It’s something that even your local basement and crawl space contractor will recommend once they inspect your crawl space.

Depending on your budget and prevailing conditions, you can install the plastic vapor barrier and condition your crawl space (with dehumidifiers and sump pumps) or just use the plain plastic barrier for encapsulation alone. Is there any difference between both approaches? Yes, there is, and you’ll understand why one is better than the other.

A conditioned crawl space encapsulation is more effective than a non-conditioned one as it not only stops water and air from the outside, but it also ensures no moisture builds up inside the crawl space. If you live in a humid place that’s also prone to flooding, we strongly recommend you go for the conditioned crawl space option. Otherwise, you won’t be able to stop moisture and dampness in your home.

Buying encapsulating materials

Plastic vapor barriers are available at most local hardware stores in Cincinnati, OH. However, it’s best that you leave the material purchase and installation to a local professional contractor. It’s much better that way as they know the best material and the right thickness. And they will probably know how much material is required so you won’t end up buying a big roll that’ll go to waste or a smaller roll that may not cover the entire crawl space.

How long does installation take?

Well, this depends on a number of things, and the first is the size of the crawl space. The bigger it is, the more hours the contractor will take to seal up your crawl space. The other determiner is the condition of the below the ground area. If it’s dirty, debris-filled or derelict, clean-outs and repairs may be required before encapsulation starts. And this will certainly affect the timelines. 

Assuming everything is OK down there, encapsulation should take a couple of hours, if not a day. Experienced installers with the right tools can work faster and complete the job before sunset. Before you seal this space, make sure the crawl space is ready so contractors can work faster. Anything that’s not dealt with is going to stand in the way of sealing your crawl space and slow your encapsulation efforts.

How Much Does it Cost to Encapsulate a Crawl Space?

Whenever you embark on a cost-intensive project like encapsulating a crawl space, it’s natural to want to know how much you’re going to spend from start to finish. You’re likely to spend anywhere $5,000 on the lower end and anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000. The ultimate cost will depend on the size of the crawl space, its condition and whether repairs are required before encapsulation commences. Set aside money for the plastic barrier, labor charges, internal drainage, and extras such as a sump pump or a dehumidifier. It’s good to compare quotes from different contractors so you can see who gives you value for money.

Should I Install a Vapor Barrier Myself?

As much as you’d love to attempt a DIY, your enthusiasm to encapsulate your crawl space by yourself may not match the skills required to pull off your project.  If that doesn’t make sense, this probably will. Your plastic encapsulation isn’t a hundred dollar project. It’s an undertaking that’s going to cost roughly three to four month’s salary. As a rookie, you wouldn’t want to throw all that money down the drain and still end up with a mess of a crawl space, would you?

If you’re not sure what type of encapsulation suits your home, contact your local crawl space experts to schedule a free crawl space inspection and repair estimate. We will recommend a lasting solution to your moisture and dampness problems.

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Ohio Basement Authority
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Columbus, OH 43219
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