One of our most asked questions is – how much is this going to cost? Quite often people think they can get a quality encapsulation for $2,000 – $3,000. That is just unrealistic in most situations. It is very hard to give a number because every crawl space is different, and the needs of your crawl space could vary from your neighbors which could drastically change the price. The average cost in North Carolina could be a lot more or a lot less than crawl space encapsulation here in Delaware. I’m here today to help you get an understanding of what crawl space encapsulation could cost and what factors could play a role in pricing.
Crawl space encapsulation is gaining a lot of traction with homeowners, and contractors alike! It is one of the best ways to make your home healthy and more energy efficient. As the industry grows in popularity, it also brings in contractors of all sorts who do not specialize in crawl space encapsulation and just see dollar signs. We run into handymen, pest control companies, and HVAC companies who all think they can throw some plastic in the crawl space and call it an encapsulated crawl space. At Seaside Environmental, we don’t even qualify 6 mil vapor barrier, sealing up the vents and a cheap dehumidifier as an encapsulation. I have seen it time and time again when someone tells me it has been encapsulated but that was all that was done. If you need open heart surgery, you would not go to a podiatrist who does cardiac surgery as an add on service – just because they are cheaper. (At least I hope you wouldn’t!) You would go to a cardiac surgeon because that is their expertise, and all they do day in and day out. The same principle applies in the crawl space industry.
I can’t say this is true for every company, but I am going to give some average prices for a 1,600 square foot home that has a four-course foundation, so about 3 feet of clearance. A typical encapsulation for us would include insulation removal and total clean out of the area, mold remediation, air sealing, duct sealing, re-insulating the walls and rim joists, a new heavy duty vapor barrier taped and sealed, and a dehumidifier with a dedicated electrical line. There is a lot more that goes into it but those are the basics. I would say our average price for encapsulation is about $12,000-$15,000. After the rebate discount that we can offer, that easily brings the price down to $8,900-$11,900.
If the crawl space takes on ground water, the only way to rectify the problem is with a full perimeter sump and drain system. With using a quality basin, lid, sump pump, drainpipe, and back filling the entire system with pea gravel, that could add another $25-$29 per linear foot of drainage. How many sump pumps you need will depend on the size, layout, and footers of your home. Again, many factors can play a part in the cost of the drain system. Is your soil soft and easy to dig or is it more of a clay base that will take a lot more time and effort? On average, a full drain system will be in the $4,000-$5,000 range.
There are many other things that could affect the price. A big one is accessibility. If the crawl space is very tight and hard to move around, it will take more time and cost more. If the crawl space is very tall, it will need more material but be easier to move around.
Aside from the meat and potatoes of what needs to be done in your crawl space to ensure it is done properly, there are what we refer to as optional upgrades and add-ons. Just like going to the car dealership, the base model car will get you from point A to point B, but you know you want that remote start and heated seats (or what I like to call my butt warmer) for added comfort and convenience! In the crawl space world, those exist too. We will leave the details for another article but some things you may see offered are underlayments like felt or drain mat, Wi-Fi monitoring for the dehumidifier and/ or sump pump, water alarms, sump pump battery backups, light packages, and a whole lot more. These are all things that could drive the total price upwards.
I always say if you get five estimates from five different companies, you will get prices from $3,000 up to $30,000. If someone offers encapsulation at $3,000, run the other way! You will not get quality materials or a proper scope of work for that price. That person or company probably doesn’t have proper licensing and insurances either! Unless your home has a lot of issues and needs a bunch of work done, I would say run from the $30,000 quote as well. In most cases at that price, you are being sold things you do not need!
In the end, expect a quality encapsulation from a reputable crawl space company to be around $10,000-$15,000. There are different levels of encapsulation that we can offer to try and fit different budgets. Most experts know how to devise a system that will work for your crawl space and budget. Even on the low end, without cutting out vital parts of the encapsulation system, I would say $7,000-$10,000 would be the most budget friendly price range.
Owner, Seaside Environmental
BPI Certified Building Analyst