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Pros & Cons Of Crawl Space Encapsulation For DIYers

Encapsulating a crawl space is a challenging job. Although a DIY installation is possible, it has several drawbacks. So, it would be best to hire a professional to do it for you. After much research, we have found out the pros and cons to encapsulate a crawl space yourself.

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The only advantage of doing a DIY installation for a crawl space encapsulation is that you can reduce the cost you would spend on the installation and the materials. However, it has numerous cons:

  • Time consuming job
  • Lesser quality materials
  • No warranties
  • Crawl space encapsulation is not an easy job
  • You might overlook some of the things that need repairs
  • Incorrect installation or use of materials
  • You might have an accident
  • You might damage some plumbing or electrical lines

The advantage of DIY crawl space encapsulation is no match for the disadvantages it creates. Please keep reading to learn more details about crawl space encapsulation. 

Crawl Space Encapsulation DIY Installation

Crawl space fully encapsulated with thermoregulatory blankets and dimple board and pipes in basement location

You can encapsulate a crawl space yourself, but remember that there are many disadvantages it can give you and your home. So, it would still be best to hire experts and never let your home be at risk because of an incorrect installation. Before hiring a professional, it would be best to check their background and integrity to ensure that you can trust them in buying materials.

Below are the pros and cons of a DIY crawl space encapsulation:

Pros

Unfortunately, there is only one advantage a DIY installation can give you: reduced cost.

If experts encapsulate your crawl space, expect the installation expenses to be up to $7,000 on average. A system-specific using brand name materials encapsulation project could cost as much as $14,000. However, a DIY project might be cheaper by $2,000.

Cons

Below are the things to expect when you don't hire a professional for your crawl space encapsulation:

Time Consuming

Since installing crawl space encapsulation is not that easy, finishing it may take you a week or more. But with a professional, expect it will only take two days. 

Lesser Quality

Contractors in crawl space encapsulation know what materials to use and ensure they are high-quality. But as a DIYer, you might purchase materials that are not as effective as what the professionals might recommend. 

Some DIYers claim that concrete sealers or waterproofing paints are already adequate for crawl space encapsulation, but honestly, that is not right! You should be aware that following this approach will only lead your home to inaccuracies and harm. 

So, if you are still to continue a DIY installation, it would be best to choose the materials and manufacturers recommended by the experts. It ensures that they will last over a decade, unlike those that claim so but only last for a few years.

No Warranties

You can purchase the materials for crawl space encapsulation and hire experts for the installation process. However, if you experienced early damage on the materials, you can't ask those contractors to fix the damage for you since they are not the ones who bought the materials.

Many homeowners believe they can save money buying encapsulation materials for a professional installation. By doing this, the installers usually can't uphold the warranties since they aren't choosing the products themselves.

Crawl Space Encapsulation Is Not An Easy Job

Some DIYer claim that crawls encapsulation installation is an easy task, but as we have mentioned, it is not! As a DIYer, you should thoroughly reserach about it before taking on this project.

Aside from that, you will also need to consider the heat or coldness, darkness, and wetness in your crawl space as you install the encapsulation. Also, cleaning that area will be your responsibility, including removing stored things and clearing out dust, debris, or trash. Mind you, that will be for long hours daily until you finish the job. 

You Might Overlook Some Of The Things That Need Repairs

The most significant reason why hiring an encapsulation professional is a must is to ensure that everything in your crawl space or nearby vicinity is checked, especially the foundations. If there is damage, they will automatically fix it before installing the encapsulation.

On the other hand, as a DIYer, you might overlook this factor since you don't know the particular areas to inspect or what to look for. And even if you find concerning issues, there's a possibility that you don't know how to do repairs. 

Incorrect Installation

An incorrectly installed crawl space encapsulation may lead to higher expenses. It is because they might collapse or obtain damage sooner than you expect. In this case, you will need to hire a contractor to fix it, and there is also a possibility that you will need new, different or replacement materials. 

This situation proves that a professional's work quality is different from a DIY job. 

You Might Have An Accident

You may not know, but crawl spaces often house rodents, insects, or other pests. And with that, those things may bite you, leading you to infections or allergies. 

It might also be an area with mildew, so proper precautions should be taken to wear protective gear and ventilate the area to avoid inhalation. 

Additionally, this space in your house is too tiny, wherein you might bump or hit your head or body on the sides or ceiling. 

You Might Damage Some Plumbing Or Electrical Lines

The crawl space of your house contains plumbing or electrical lines that you shouldn't touch or must not damage as you do the work. But since the area is dark, expect that you might damage some of them, even if you hold a flashlight. 

Waterproofing professionals will know how to avoid damaging your plumbing and electrical systems while sealing up your crawlspace. 

How To Install Crawl Space Encapsulation

Basement floor insulation and wooden support beams. Pros & Cons Of Crawl Space Encapsulation For DIYers

Below is the proper method of installing a crawl space encapsulation through a DIY approach:

1. Inspect The Entire Space

Engineer inspecting the crawl space ensacpsulation

Before anything else, you should examine the crawl space and the structures near it. Also, you need to clean all the mold, mildew, and unwanted substances buildup inside it.

2. Repair Any Damage

If upon cleaning and inspecting the entire crawl space, you noticed some areas that need repairs, it would be best not to ignore them. Doing so will make the encapsulation last longer and be more efficient. A rotten wooden material is usually the issue.

old wooden ceiling on the basement

3. Seal The Vents 

Hand Sealing House Air Duct Seam with Caulk

After repairing all the existing damage, it is time to seal the vents thoroughly. In this step, you can utilize any of the following:

  • vent blockers or covers
  • hydraulic cement
  • expanding foam

Crawl space walls are best insulated using foam boards. And as an alternative to using foam board for floor insulation, you can utilize fiberglass batts.

4. Remove Existing Moisture Barrier, Install New

After accomplishing the third step, the next thing you should do is remove the existing moisture barrier, then make the space level. It is to make the installation of the new moisture barrier easy.

To install the new moisture barrier, you should:

  1. Utilize pieces of the vapor barrier to surround the piers. Fasten the vapor barrier securely.
  2. Cut around or set to place any impediments correctly. That includes pipes, wiring, and piers.
  3.  Use waterproof tape to secure piers and pipes.

Tape poly sheeting to the walls to completely enclose the crawl space. Tuck the intersections in so they can rest flat on the floor. Make sure there are at least a couple of inches between each seam.

5. Thoroughly Dry Your Crawl Space

You're now about to finish the process of encapsulating your crawl space. In this step, all you need to do is dry the area using a dehumidifier. 

6. Inspect The Encapsulated Crawl Space Regularly

Crawlspace under a residential building with new vapor barrier

Now that you have finished the encapsulation installation, the last thing you should do is inspect the crawl space regularly. You must ensure that the moisture level is always low.

You can use a humidity meter to regularly check the humidity levels in your crawl space and see if the encapsulation is doing its job.

Click here to see this hygrometer on Amazon.

What Are The Benefits Of Having Crawl Space Encapsulation?

Either you or a professional have your crawl space encapsulation installed, there are benefits you,  your family, and your house can obtain from it, and they are:

It Can Prevent Mold And Mildew Accumulation

Since your crawl space tends to be damp, it will inevitably have mold and mildew buildup. And the accumulation of these two can put your and your family's health at risk. Good thing an encapsulation can prevent this dampness, as well as the mold and mildew buildup. 

Safeguards Constructional Components

You know that moisture can easily make the wooden materials rot, which can also damage your home significantly. 

Good thing that aside from preventing the occurrence of moisture, an additional benefit of an encapsulated crawl space can give you is to protect all the wooden components in your home, especially the flooring and frames.

It Can Increase The Quality Of Air

Since an encapsulated crawl space prevents mold, mildew, and other unwanted substances buildup, it will improve air quality. 

Summarizing What You Have Learned

Basement floor insulation and wooden support beams

Now that you know the pros and cons of a DIY installation of a crawl space encapsulation, it is time for you to decide whether you will still perform one. Remember that you only have one pro in this approach and numerous cons. So, carefully determine if the decision you are to make is worth it. 

We hope this post answers all of your concerns about crawl space encapsulation. If you wish to continue reading, you can check these other posts! 

What Causes Dry Rot In Homes [Including Early Detection Signs]?

Should You Insulate Interior Shower Walls? [And How To]

What Are The Best Bathroom Insulation Options?