In your quest to seal the crawl space and protect it from the elements, you’ll come across lots of information. Some will be helpful, while others will leave you with more questions than answers. In the end, you’ll feel more confused and unsure of whether encapsulation is the way to go.
Here is the thing. As long as you have a crawl space in Columbia, SC, you will have to take measures to protect it from moisture. It doesn’t matter if you’re building a new home or moving into a finished one, moisture can threaten the sanctity of the home. So the sooner you deal with it, the better.
If you’re wondering what material you should use and what’s the appropriate thickness and the timelines for encapsulation, we’ll be happy to answer these questions and others in the next section.
What Encapsulation Material Works Best?
Polyethylene plastic crawl space vapor barrier with reinforced polyester cord and antimicrobial property is hands down the best material for your encapsulation project. It’s available in various roll sizes and thickness starting with the thinner 6-mil, 12-mil, 16-mil, and the tougher and durable 20-mil.
So how thick should the poly be? This depends on two factors. The first is the purpose of the crawl space. Do you intend to use it as a maintenance area or a storage space? And the second is what material makes up the floor. Is it soil or concrete?
No matter what the crawl space is used for, your best bet is to go with the thick and durable 20-mil material. It will stand up to foot traffic and stored items, and, most importantly, will isolate your crawl space from the earth to keep it safe and healthy.
If your humidity is a problem, we recommend that you install a dehumidifier with a draining pipe to the outside. It will help you control condensation. Also, consider installing an interior drainage system and a sump pump if you’re in a low lying area that’s likely to experience flooding.
Sourcing Encapsulation Materials
Encapsulation materials are available in major online stores and in most local hardware stores in Columbia, SC. However, it is best to obtain these supplies and have them installed by a reliable local contractor.
How Long Does Encapsulation Take?
Since no two encapsulation projects are the same, the duration could be anywhere between a day and a couple of days. We recommend that you clean up the crawl space and fix any damages so the installers can find it ready for encapsulation. Replace rotten beams, rusty pipes and damaged insulation. Check and seal openings and vents too. If it’s mold-ridden, you will have to hire a mold removal expert to eradicate the infected area. Once you receive a quote from a crawl space repair contractor, find out how much time they’ll take.
What’s the Cost of Encapsulation?
Typical encapsulation projects cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000. How much you’ll ultimately spend depends on the size of the crawl space and its conditions. A dirty crawl space with other areas of disrepair will take more time to clean and prepare. Also, you can expect the costs to go up with other installations like structural repair and waterproofing measures. The bulk of the project costs will cater to the plastic crawl space material and labor. Be sure to check with your contractor for specifics.
Reasons to Hire a Contractor
Not everyone can encapsulate a crawl space properly. Even a DIY enthusiast will soon find out their eagerness may not match the knowledge and skill to do a perfect job. Plus, the crawl space is fraught with challenges. Besides being dirty and sometimes dusty, the crawl space has a low-hanging roof that makes maintenance and encapsulation tricky. Don’t forget this place is poorly lit, so any attempt to seal it could mean working slowly for long hours. There’s also the risk of damaging the plastic encapsulation or installing it improperly.
Eager to seal the crawl space of your Columbia, SC, home but not sure how to go about it? Schedule an inspection with us and get a free crawl space encapsulation quote today.