Home>Discussions>INSULATION & HVAC>Crawlspace Encapsulation for $8,000 - Reasonable?
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mbmorton
Crawlspace Encapsulation for $8,000 - Reasonable?

This is my first home. We built new in Nashville, Tennessee (climate zone 3) so things can get humid in the summer months. Our home is only 3 months old.

We have a conditioned crawlspace with tarp covering the dirt floor. I have noticed that we have a tiny bit of mold growth on some of the wood supports. I contacted a reputable crawlspace company to give us an encapsulation estimate. Below is their quote. My question: Is this an outrageous amount for the work and materials?

1050 sq. ft of CleanSpace Vapor Barrier (covers floor) - $4,000
594 sq. ft of SilverGlo Wall Insulation (2 inches thick) - $1,360
1 Smart Drain - $320
1 Everlast Door - $450
1 Dehumidifier (SaniDry CX Air System) - $1,830

Total Cost: $8,000

The majority of the cost is the CleanSpace vapor barrier.

Our house is brand new. Seems like encapsulating a new crawlspace (that's 3 ft. high) should be cheaper than this. What do you experts think?

dj1
Re: Crawlspace Encapsulation for $8,000 - Reasonable?

"The majority of the cost is the CleanSpace vapor barrier."

Not quite. 20 mil roll that covers about 1000 sf goes for about $500.

In this bid, the majority is labor, aka profit.

Get more estimates, at least 2 more, even for 6 mil vapor barrier from other contractors. If you have vents you may not need a dehumidifier. Another saving.

mbmorton
Re: Crawlspace Encapsulation for $8,000 - Reasonable?

Thanks DJ!

We do not have vents to the outside of the home. It's a completely sealed, conditioned crawl space. The company told us that we need a dehumidifier to remove the mold that's already there. Plus the dehumidifier ensures that mold will not grow again. Does that sound legit to you?

As far as cost savings, they did say that we can get "the basic" package with is everything minus the ClearSpace vapor barrier (we would keep the tarp that's already there installed by the home builder). But that package does not come with a 25-year guarantee. Should I even be concerned with a 25-year guarantee?

I'll definitely contact two other companies and see if they can offer a competing bid.

On a side note, I want the company to make a nice profit. But $4,000 profit off of a 4-hour job seems a bit ludicrous.

MLB Construction
Re: Crawlspace Encapsulation for $8,000 - Reasonable?

in any basement a dehumidifier will not remove mold nor will it guarantee that mold will not grow again. it will greatly lessen your chances of getting mold. the only way to remove mold is to have it physically removed.

dj1
Re: Crawlspace Encapsulation for $8,000 - Reasonable?

"I have noticed that we have a tiny bit of mold growth on some of the wood supports."

To start, you have to eliminate the mold (clean it with bleach). Then look into why mold appeared on the wood supports in the first place. Perhaps the tarp is less than perfect, or maybe there's wood contact with the dirt. See if correcting these deficiencies solves your problem.

Then you take measures to prevent it from returning, like I said, improve the barrier, improve ventilation, remove and exchange the air in the crawlspace. If you already have a tarp on the dirt, adding a layer of 6 mm barrier should help. Do you need a 20 mm barrier? maybe not - this plastic is not in direct sun rays.

The guarantee? probably b.s - who knows if these guys will be around and respond, if and when you need them back.

Let's wait for the additional bids.

mbmorton
Re: Crawlspace Encapsulation for $8,000 - Reasonable?

Thanks guys! I'll update you when I hear back from the other bids.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Crawlspace Encapsulation for $8,000 - Reasonable?

Since it's already conditioned space, the simplest solution (after removing existing mold) might be to add a dehumidifier to the system doing the conditioning.

I am personally against encapsulating crawlspaces if they can be ventilated well enough. With good ventilation there will never be any humidity problems and the technique has many hundreds of years of history to prove that it works. Insulating the floors and ventilating well has always done the trick for me and at much less expense.

Phil

mbmorton
Re: Crawlspace Encapsulation for $8,000 - Reasonable?

A quick update for everyone.

I got another estimate from a different company. They recommended a much cheaper solution - just encapsulation. They said that I didn't have a need for a dehumidifier or a smart drain, that it didn't make sense for my space (and the fact that it was pretty dry down there. Also, they said that the cinder blocks walls are already insulated with injected foam, so there was no need for additional insulation.

Their estimate was $3,000 ($4,000 less than the other company).

Thanks DJ or pushing me to get more estimates. It just goes to show that you can't trust some companies to recommend what's best for the client.

I still have one more estimate to get, which should take place this weekend. I'll keep you updated.

dj1
Re: Crawlspace Encapsulation for $8,000 - Reasonable?

Thanks for the update.

We always recommend to get a few estimates. In most cases, your choice should be more than just the
$ amount. You should evaluate things like: can we work with this guy/company, recommendations and referrals, reliability and competency, will they finish as promised, on budget and on time, will they respond to a problem later...and more.

There are honest contractors out there, you just have to find them. Stay away from flight by night, brassy, smooth talking contractors. Old time craftsmen are usually more responsible than young, inexperienced and cocky contractors - look at their license numbers, it should tell you something about them: the lower the number, the more experience they have (but not always).

Mastercarpentry
Re: Crawlspace Encapsulation for $8,000 - Reasonable?

It's been my experience that the most unneeded work done is with roofing, amd with basement and crawlspace work getting close at a fast pace. Especially the 'dry basement guaranteed' companies. No sane contractor will guarantee water can be kept out unless you live in a desert- we know the possibilities!

Glad you're getting more opinions and bids- that's an 'always' thing to do with any contracted work. Seems the second one at least looks at things- he found the foamed block where most wouldn't even look since that's kind of rare. You can't know too much, only too little, so get more opinions and bids and learn what to look for in good contractors as you do.

Phil

mbmorton
Re: Crawlspace Encapsulation for $8,000 - Reasonable?

Thanks Phil! We're still waiting on one additional bid. He had to cancel his visit last weekend. Hopefully we can get him out to look at it this week.

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