Weighing the Options: The Pros and Cons of Crawl Space Encapsulation

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Crawl space encapsulation is one of the most prevalent and beneficial foundation services. However, like any service, encapsulation has pros and cons that you’ll need to evaluate. Comparing these advantages and disadvantages against your budget is the only way to ensure this service is right for you.

How Does Crawl Space Encapsulation Work?

While encapsulation services can vary, they tend to follow the same set of steps described in the list below:

There are many benefits to crawl space encapsulation, but there are cons as well. Evaluating both is the only way to know if this service is right for you.

  1. Remove existing water: When your crawl space requires encapsulation, it likely has a water-related problem. These problems can cause water to stagnate in your crawl space. The first step in encapsulation is to remove any water in the area to allow the other steps to occur.
  2. Repair or replace structures: Standing water may have caused damage to the structural components of your crawl space. Repairing or replacing these structures is essential to the long-term stability of your foundation and home.
  3. Enhance drainage systems: Even if you have a drain tile system in your crawl space, it can become clogged or broken. Worse, some homes don’t have any form of crawl space drainage. A skilled encapsulation team will recognize these deficiencies and enhance your crawl space drainage.
  4. Seal crawl space vents: Some assume leaving vents open is viable as it allows air to circulate throughout your crawl space. Still, these vents allow moist air to get in, causing more problems for your foundation. As such, sealing crawl space vents is essential to this service.
  5. Apply a vapor barrier: The main stage of an encapsulation service is to install a vapor barrier. This barrier provides a complete seal, keeps moisture out, and prevents pests from entering. This seal results in a clean, dry, and protected space within your crawl space.
  6. Install dehumidification: The last stage of this process is to install a dehumidification system. These systems allow you to monitor and manage the moisture in your crawl space. Ideally, these dehumidifiers allow you to set the perfect relative humidity for your crawl space.

Pros of Crawl Space Encapsulation

As the list below shows, encapsulation services come with several distinct advantages:

There are many benefits to crawl space encapsulation, but there are cons as well. Evaluating both is the only way to know if this service is right for you.

  1. Moisture control: Encapsulation allows your crawl space to remain dry. The vapor barrier prevents outside moisture from entering, and the dehumidification system manages air moisture.
  2. Better air quality: Reducing standing water and air moisture improves air quality in the crawl space and throughout your home.
  3. Less mold and mildew: Mold and mildew harm human health, especially for those with asthma or other lung conditions. Excessive moisture encourages these substances to accumulate. Encapsulation reduces this moisture and makes issues with mold and mildew less likely.
  4. Fewer foul smells: Improving the air quality of your crawl space also eliminates foul smells standing water causes to waft through your foundation and home.
  5. Pest prevention: By creating a complete seal and managing moisture, encapsulation makes pests much less likely to arrive in your foundation.
  6. Better structural integrity: Encapsulation also protects the wooden support structures in your crawl space, so they have better longevity.
  7. Energy efficiency: The protection encapsulation provides allows your HVAC systems to operate more efficiently. HVAC efficiency leads to lower energy bills in the long run.
  8. Added storage space: An encapsulated crawl space becomes a storage area. While you might not want to house your precious belongings, an encapsulated crawl space is ideal for tools and other less valuable items.

Cons of Crawl Space Encapsulation

While crawl space encapsulation has benefits, the list below shows it is not without its cons:

  1. Cost: Most crawl space encapsulation services cost $8,000 on average.
  2. Time: At times, crawl space encapsulation can take several days to complete.
  3. Replacement: While encapsulation is long-lasting, it does not survive indefinitely. Most crawl space sealing services last about a decade and a half.
  4. Maintenance: Additionally, you’ll need to manage and maintain the dehumidifiers in your encapsulated crawl space.

Other Ways to Control Crawl Space Moisture

Crawl space encapsulation is fantastic, but it is not the only way to manage air moisture or standing water in your crawl space. Instead, the list below shows several viable options for achieving this goal:

  1. Improve your drainage: A well-functioning drainage system collects crawl space water and conveys it away. Ensure your drainage system is present and fully functional.
  2. Grading: The land around your home should slope away from the foundation, encouraging rainwater flow in that direction. Land that is flat or slopes toward your home is more likely to result in crawl space moisture.
  3. Clean your Gutters: Clogged gutters often overflow, causing water to puddle and seep into your crawl space. Keep your gutters clean, so they collect water from the roof correctly.
  4. Install downspout extensions: A downspout extension moves the water well away from your home. When downspouts lack extensions, they may deposit water near the foundation, causing crawl space moisture.
  5. Close your vents: Sealing vents is an excellent idea, even if you don’t select a full encapsulation service. While it might seem that open vents allow air to circulate in a foundation space, they often enable moist air inside, leading to several issues. The best approach is to seal the vents entirely so no air moves through them.

Control Crawl Space Moisture Issues

Find Advice from a Pro Near You

Determining if crawl space encapsulation is suitable for you takes time. You’ll need to compare the pros and cons to what you are willing to spend. It also helps to seek the advice of someone specializing in crawl space encapsulation.

If you live or operate a business in the Triangle, Triad, or Eastern North Carolina, Regional Foundation & Crawl Space Repair is the best team you can choose. Contact us today to learn more about our services or discuss if crawl space encapsulation is fitting for you.