Anyone use CleanSpace (encapsulated crawl space) on their home?

jamesrgeibSeptember 1, 2006

I live in the south where relative humidity is commonly in the 90's during the summer months. I've been in my home for about two months now. My crawl space varies from 4.5 feet to about 10 feet in height, so I never thought I'd have to worry about moisture issues.

I have my downspouts directing water 10 feet away from the house, down hill. All the dirt is sloped away from the house at a decent grade, so rain water does not run up to the house. I haven't had running water in the crawl space despite a few weeks of very heavy rain.

Despite all this, I have a tremendous amount of mold growing on the floor joists. The crawl space is vented with the required amount of vents (code), but the air just doesn't move much under our house. The sun hits the front of our house almost all day, but we have a courtyard garage, so the sun never really warms up the crawl.

I got an estimate today from a company that seals the space and puts in a humidifier unit to keep moisture levels below mold-condusive levels. The price quoted was almost $6000. I'm willing to pay if it stops the problem and helps with the air in the livable part of the house, which I imagine it would.

Next week I'll be getting estimates from other companies in the mold remediation business to see what they have to say, but I imagine that sealing the crawl space might be the best solution in my situation.

Any opinions/comments?


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I've looked inot this kinkd of thing for our existing house - not the one we are building. I talked to someone who sells a system called neutocrete. That was about 10k -11k. Just sealing and putting in the humidifier and putting down new plastic sheeting was 5k - 6k.

I'm procrastinating about it, but need to do something.

I'd be very interested in what you decide to do.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 7:01PM
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Your crawl space goes up to 10' tall? That is a basement up here. LOL

Crawl spaces up here, once you eliminate water getting into them you cover the ground with heavy plastic as a vapor barrier.

I am sure the company said DE-Humidifier instead of humidifier. Ask them where the water the de-humdifier draws will go. Personally that doesn't make sense to me. When our sump pump failed our basement had water. My Dad and my mother-in-law gave us their circa early 1960's dehumidfiers to dry things out. We had to empty the tanks at least twice a day. That was two years ago but if I plugged them in today, bone dry basement or not they would find water and I would have to dump their tanks because water is in the air.

A dehumidifier is silly. For $6000 what are they including about the mold clean up? Are they sealing with something super duper or is it plain ole plastic that you can buy at your local hardware store.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 8:17PM
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Thanks for the replies. Yes, I meant to say dehumidifier. I type faster than I think sometimes!

The total price is $5800 and that includes sealing the existing vents, which is a practice recomended by a few government agencies, by some university extension groups, and many organizations in the building science world. I read a lot about it prior to actually building, but local builders were too reluctant to build a sealed/conditioned crawl space. Code here in South Carolina just doesn't allow it yet, but a house can be retrofitted after a CO is granted without problems.

The $5800 includes putting down a 20 mill covering that is supposed to be tear resistant, and is also impregnated with a fungi-inhibitor. They seal the floor, seal up the columns about 3 feet and they seal up the walls (varying from 4 to about 9 feet in our case). Basically the entire volume of the crawl space is isolated from the dirt.

Sealing everything is about $3500 of the cost. The dehumidifier is also a filter designed to remove particulates, and it is $1450, and the rest of the cost is sealing the vents and preparing the ground with an additional ground mat so that I could store heavy items.
I'm thinking I could forgo the additional ground mat if the 20 mil vapor barrier is really 'tear resistant'. That would save me about $400.

I've also read about using fans to force circulation, but with mold already present and high humidity outside, it may not do much good? I may just have the mold cleaned/removed and cover the ground with a vapor barrier and see if I still have problems.

I'm going to wait and see what other mold specialists say, as I'm having other companies come out next week to quote prices for fixing the problem.

The, supposed, nice thing about the cleanspace idea is that humidity levels are so low that anything could be stored in the crawlspace without becoming musty/moldy.

Also, code in NC was recently updated to allow for sealing the crawl space vents, or not having them installed at all in new construction provided the crawl space has a properly installed vapor barrier.

I know that sealing up the vents isn't too extreme from everything I've read on the net, I'm just thinking I don't have an extra $6000 lying around to pay for this job!

My wife is pregnant, and the thought of having a baby in the house makes me even more concerned about the health of my family.

I know that a lot of the air in a crawl space travels to the interior spaces due to the 'stack effect', so mold spores are probably in our house also. The crawl space smells moldy/musty already, but fortunately the rest of the living space does not. (At least not yet)

I'll update next week after I get some more input from other companies.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 10:23PM
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Well, I went ahead and had the system installed. It took a crew of 4 about 12 hours to complete. The installation makes the crawl look very clean and bright, but I'm leary of the durability of the material on the floor over the long-haul. I imagine holes may develop with any frequent traffic.

The musty/moldy smell we had under the house was already gone by the time the crew left, as they had already had the dehumidifier running for a few hours.

I'm waiting for them to come back out to check humidity levels. They are supposed to drop below 50%. The levels were almost 80% before the installation (verified by numerous companies that came out to assess my situation).

I'll keep this thread updated with results/performance information.

The system may be overkill, but the extent of mold propogation we already had in just a few short months could not be ignored.

So far I'm pleased.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 9:28AM
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Thanks for the update.

So it was $6000? That's in line with what I've gotten, but doesn't the sealing component of the overall cost seem high? WHy does it cost $3,500 to put down plastic sheating and seal vents? Seems like two people could do that in an afternoon.

Where does the dehumidifier drain to? Does it hook up to you plumbing, did they drain it out to your yard?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 6:43AM
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The total for my 1300sf crawl was $5030. Given that I like to do all of the handyman work around my home, the price did bug me a little. I was able to justify the expense because, frankly, I'm burned out after being heavily involved with the construction of my home. I imagine that someone handy could have accomplished the same Âseal job over a couple of weekends with some help from another person or two. They actually sealed around and up each of my 16 piers about 48 to 56 inches. They also caulked the top of the material around each pier and the entire perimeter of the wall. The vents were sealed with foam board and a specialty-type caulk, and they sealed other various gaps with a Great Stuff-like filler. Again, this is something I could have done, but it would have taken a while to cut and caulk.

One of the biggest reasons I went with the professional install was the lack of material available to the consumer. Their material is a virgin, layered, 20mm polyethylene material with a mold-inhibiter on the underside. I attempted to find a similar material for sale, but had no luck. After pricing matting for garage floors, I imagine my cost for such a material, if I could find it, would be pretty high. As high as they went up my walls and piers, I guestimating it would have taken at least 2000 to 2500sf of material (including overlaps and waste).

I priced the dehumidifier they used, and it is about $1100 on line. They charged me a more than that, but that was expected. They call it a Sani-Dry, but itÂs simply a re-labelled Santa Fe unit.(Thermador)

I'm comfortable with the fact that the company that installed the product is now responsible for it for the next 25 years. I suppose that's part of the cost as well. I will be calling every time a hole develops, or IÂm unhappy with some aspect of the installation. I figure I have that right given the expense of the whole thing!

I haven't purchased a hygrometer yet, so I don't know how much the humidity levels have dropped, but I can tell they dropped have from the feel of the crawl space. Before the installation you could, literally, feel the humidity. Not to mention the musty/moldy smell.

The company simply ran the dehumidifier drain under the liner, which is fine with me at this point, as the crawl slopes down hill to a water-proofed basement wall, and the basement floor is about 2 feet higher than the dirt crawl floor anyway. The unit produced a good bit of moisture initially, but doesn't produce much now. (I'm sure that's partially due to the colder, less-humid fall-like weather we're having.) If I had any other crawl situation, I would have had them run the drain line outside via a condensate pump, which is still an option, should I see the need.

I wish that I could find the same material available to the public so I could really get an idea as to how much the installation cost me, minus materials costs. With the dehumidifier at about $1100, and guessing the material is similarly priced to garage matting (ItÂs thinner, but more complicated to fabricate with itÂs layers) at around $2000 that would leave a little less than $2000 for the install. Still probably $500 too high? Oh, that does include an underlayment material which is supposed to minimize wear.
They should be coming out in a week or so to check humidity levels, so IÂll update then.


    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 9:02AM
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Hi James
We are in the same situation as you were just over a month ago... should we go with CleanSpace or not? It does sound great and we see the value. However they want to charge us almost $14,000!!! (We are in NC). We have about 1,450 sf (not that much bigger than your crawl space) and the only difference is that we would need a sump pump + perimeter drain and discharge line to a nearby ditch because we do have water going down to our crawl space every time it rains. Could you tell us how many vents they saled? Also, do you have a block or a brick surface to hang the liner on the outside walls? We have brick on the outside perimeter that has excess mortar on it, which we were told it must be removed in order to achieve a good seal of the liner and caulk.
Even with all that.... $8,000 difference, doesn't that sound like too much? Would you mind telling us who is the company that helped you? I think you are in SC, is that correct?
I tell you, to spend that much money you would hope that would be at least on something like a screened porch!
Any details you can share with us would be greatly appreciated!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 5:24PM
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The cleanspace liner was attached to brick veneer on on the outside walls, and our crawl space is very tall, which should have added to our cost due to the extra material. We also had about 16 columns that had to be sealed around, as well as pipes and two water heaters. The company also sealed the openings we had between our garage and crawlspace (one of the walls) with foam board.

Additionally, we had about 15 vents that needed to be sealed. The company tried to sell covers for the outside of the vents, and I declined having them. I simply closed the vents. The covers were only decorative anyway, as the vents were sealed with caulk and foam board.

We also have a lot of excess mortar on the walls from the brick veneer, but weren't charged extra to have it removed. The liner was simply attached to the brick and/or mortar with caulk and fasteners.

$14K seems rather high based on what you have said. I can't imagine a pump and discharge line costing an additional $8,000.

What kind of dehumidifier were they going to include?


    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 4:27PM
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Hi James

Thank you for your reply. We feel that the difference is too high. As far as the actual extra work to be done, the difference I see in our projects is that we will have the sump pump and a seal door (we currently have a very unreliable piece of wood covering the entrance so we do need a door). The cost of these things are $3,000, so that would leave us with extra $5,000 (they are charging us more for things in general, such as $600 for chipping the mortar from the brick!).

Do you know if the company that did the job for you would do it in North Carolina? If yes, we would love to have them examining and quoting our crawl space if you could provide their contact details.

As far as the humidifier, it's the same one you got I believe, a Sanidry CSB unit for which they want to charge $1,450.

Thank you again for sharing your experience with us.


    Bookmark   October 15, 2006 at 10:51AM
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Email me at and I'll give you the information I have.

James R. Geib

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 8:34AM
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I am having a contractor give an estimate for my house in Virginia Beach, VA next week to install CleanSpace in the crawlspace. I'll let everyone know what the estimate is for this area. Has anyone got any updates?


    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 4:08PM
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If your wife is pregnant, I'd be very careful what they "seal" the space with... I highly recommend finding out what it is and then thoroughly researching that for the Volotile Organic Compounds it off-gasses...


    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 4:39PM
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I am a mold remediater in N.C. we are allowed to add a hvac vent in crawl space which is normally alot cheaper than a humidifier.Just finished 2400 sq ft crawl space including wall area for a 7200.00 including removal of old plastic and debris, insulating outside walls and spraying for mold with 30% hydrogen peroxide/colloidal silver mixture 14000.00 seems high even with door and sump pump

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 8:57PM
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Sheldo, I'm so glad to hear from an installer! I just surfed in to this thread because of our immediate need.

We're in Southern MD, house is total 2230 sqft, 42" high crawlspace. It's a manufactured home (sounds so much better than "double-wide") with R19 resting on belly-cloth. The floors are frigid and the house often smells like mold. There are no leaks anywhere, I can attest. We have an appointment with "Cleanspace, the Flood Busters" on the 19th.

In the meantime, Royal Restorations has given me a quote for mold remediation services, which I have returned with a number of questions. He quoted $7900 for the cleaning, selaing, dehumidifying, lining, re-insulation, etc. His liner is "3m" which could mean it's made by 3M or it's 3 mils thick. No mention of how he seals, whether he goes up the walls, etc, etc. We'll see how he responds - but the incomplete bid makes me wonder.

I'm interested to see you can put heat in the crawlspace. Seems like a good idea if well enough insulated, and it's what I really wanted to do. You mention "we are allowed...". Does anyone inspect your work to verify? There's no building permit for this work, is there? Of course, I could make the vent myself after the installer leaves!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 4:31PM
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I got a verbal estimate from a contractor in the Virginia Beach, VA area. $10,000-$14,000 for a complete CleanSpace installation. He said it takes six days and most of the expense is labor. This is the "Cadillac" of all options. It includes removal of existing insulation, installing the 23 mil barrier, sealing existing vents, a dehumidifier, and annual rechecks. Although I like the concept, I think the expense is a bit much, as the payback period to realize financial benefits is measurable in decades not years.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 11:03AM
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I agree that the CleanSpace ( liner is the best solution. I did see, James, that you weren't sure whether the liner would hold up, but it is tough, as I'm sure you know, and the warranty covers rips and tears. I did see some postings about the crete products above, but they do not address moisture in a vapor form, which is the reason for sealing a crawl space in the first place - and they definitely can't be walked on. Richard

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 4:16PM
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This is for Frank in Va Beach. I know you made this post back in Feb. but just to let you know. I've been researching info about dehumidifiers/sealing crawlspaces for my parents in Chesapeake, Va. My contact is Danny Cartwright with Hampton Roads Exterminating. (757)436-3333
His quote for sealing crawlspace, dehumidifier, and treatment of fungus was below $3000. He's been in the business for quite a while now and stands behind his work.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 12:58AM
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Those of you who have the SaniDry (also sold cheaper online as Santa Fe Advance) dehumidifier:
Do you ever have a problem with it not keeping the moisture levels low enough in the spring?

It's rated to work down to 55º but after all those cold months in the winter, it can take a long time for the crawlspace to warm back up. Especially being encapsulated.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 3:26AM
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I have an appointment set-up for Wednesday to get a quote for the CleanSpace encapsulation system. We have a crawl space (approx 250 sq. ft.) underneath a sunroom addition to our home. We bought the home about 3 months ago and just started experiencing a terrible odor in sunroom area. Initially, we thought that there may be a dead rodent in the crawl space but we had an exterminator come out and he couldn't find anything. He acknowleged that there was definitely an odor, but that it was not the odor of a dead animal. I noticed some mold growth on the crawl space door and am starting to think that the odor is a result of moisture/humidity in the crawl space. An additional piece of information that has led me to this conclusion is that our laundry dryer which is located in the basement is vented out of the basement wall underneath the crawl space. We have 4 boys (there were only 2 previous occupants) and we do laundry on almost a daily basis. I would imagine that introducing the warm/moist dryer air underneath the crawl space is not helping things. Does anyone have any thoughts on my situation? Any ideas/tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 3:04PM
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Follow-up anyone. How satisfied are you with your investment one, two and three years later?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 9:32AM
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I have a 1400 sf crawlspace that I received two "Cleanspace" quotes on. The first was in 2007 for $12K and a few weeks ago for $9500. Internet research taught me that "Cleanspace" is a product (manufactured by Basement Systems - I think) that is available only through their authorized contractors. I found a similar product (looks identical to me)called "Dryspace" on a website ( that sells the materials direct. Wonderful website. Very informative. I priced the exact materials that were spec'd out on my last bid and found that I could purchase them for $1700 including shipping to my home. On the website is a couple of videos showing the installation of the product. Like you, I tend to do all my home improvements myself and after viewing the videos, I believe just about anyone could accomplish this without a "professional" willing to charge (in my case) nearly $8,000 for labor. My logic, right or wrong, is if I completely botch the project 3 times and still not have spent half of what my last bid was. Hope this information is helpful. Best of luck. Bob

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 6:52PM
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I have a durt crawl basement that was getting wet during heavy rains. After researching the water source i solved the
water issues in the basement by installing a new water downspot.
However a basement is still musty and smells bad.
So I called a Basement Systems of NH and they come out with a liner solution that includes installing a liner, pad, sump pump for 13,000.
The "funny" thing is that they offer in their book "Crawl Space Science" the installation of liner, pad, sump pump with battery backup and sanidry dehumidifier for an area that is twice as large as mine for 10,000.
I am really frustrated with them ...
I am probably going to order a liner from the crawlspaceinfo and doing it myself, as i am quite handy.

bobb1960 - thank you so much for posting a link to the crawlspaceinfo.
Have you ordered anything from them ?
How do they handle delivery, was it prompt ?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 7:41PM
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Did anyone have insulation between the floor joists? Was it removed or replaced? How happy are you with the service?
I have fiberglass insulation between the joists and its been raining off and on and its wet and the humidity under the house is 98% and outside its 72% So I need to do something soon.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 10:03PM
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Everyone - I've found this all very good! I was just quoted 14,000 for my concrete crawlspace in Ohio. Jim 6000 in 2006 would appear to have been a bargain! I don't have dirt and am concerned about the liner being against concrete and cinder block with moisture in between. And the price is massive high. Would love to know if those of you who have done this --- James goes back to 2006! if you have been happy with it. I am also looking at Dr. Energy Saver - that eliminates loss of heat/cooling in the entire house and basement crawl is included. Since Dr. Energy Saver is a whole house thing, I am more inclined to move in that direction instead of the clean space that affects only one room. Dr. Energy Save is owned by Basement Systems (Clean Space) I saw lots of complaints about Owens Corning basement liner systems and was told by my sales rep that clean space is this same product. Truth or Fiction? Any input would be helpful.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 10:00PM
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I just had an estimate from another group that installs a very similar product and the fee is dramatically lower...$5,000 vs $14,000. This company installs vaporloc Elite. Any info from anyone?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 9:37AM
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I too am an installer and usually quote my jobs around $2.25 per sqft. This is just a rule of thumb as there is more too it than just throwing down a vapor barrier and slapping a dehumidifier into the space.

Most all of the products used by a reputiable installer are NOT going to rip or tear simply by crawling on them, however it is a high density poly so care should be taken whilest on it. Also most dehumidifiers sold today have a condensation line which makes it virtually maitenance free for the home owner.

Remember every job is different, so the number I used is strictly a starting point. Try to put yourself in the installers shoes. How long are you going to be on your back/belly/knees, how much repair/removal will be necessry to make the proper installation, what will have to be installed--doors/electrical outlets/drain outlets...etc.

I am in the south so we do not install a plastic barrier on the outside of the house, only under the crawl space and up the wall's to ensure a proper seal. If the insulation is soaked, I usually recommend a complete overhaul of the crawl space.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2010 at 12:31AM
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I had CleanSpace installed a little over a year ago. The last 3 months we have developed a very strong odor in the crawlspace and it is coming up through our air return vents. The only way I can describe it is a very strong cat urine or some type of gas. We do not own a cat and as you all know with this system it is completely enclosed so there is no animal under my house. This smell causes a headache and burning of the eyes. we had the installer come and check things out and he claimed to not have noticed the smell but as soon as my husband opened the door going into the crawl space it was overwhelming and still the installer claims to not have smelled anything. I was wondering if anyone else has had this issue? I have a 1 yr old daughter and I am very concerned this may be a health issue.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 9:12AM
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I had a quote for 2200 sq ft crawlspace for $3,800 from a company here in Atlanta. The prices sure have come down. This included the following:
1. Blocking off the foundation vents,
2. Installing a new door (3/4 inch pressure treated),
3. Wrapping of support piers and walls
4. Installing a dehumidifier with condensate pump (350 cfm unit)
5. Removing of the old barrier and replace with 20-mil
Be careful don't get ripped off on price. I've done a lot of research...these companies troll the internet and post on blogs..they are also highly search optimized...It all sounds good but the guys doing the work may get $15 an do your math! Labor is majority of costs. So 4 guys for 2 days is $48 plus materials/ 20% profits. That is fair price. It's is not hard to do. The hardest part is the guy getting $15 an hour. $3800 is still too high. I'm going get someone that needs the work and try to get it done for $2,000.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 3:21PM
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Sorry..typo..Please add another 0 to $48..It's $480 total maximum for 4 guys for 2 days at $15 per hour.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 3:25PM
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I am also having the same issue that Tburks is talking about - I had a Cleanspace installed a few years ago - I noticed the cat urine/obnoxious odor very soon after it was installed - I have been communicating this situation to the installation company and they keep giving me band aids - which work temporarily = i am very concerned for my health and I also suspect that whatever is off gassing is toxic - I have written the company again today - awaiting an answer -
a home inspector that I consulted said he is receiving several calls from other homes who are having this issue too.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 8:52AM
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Thanks for all the information in the thread. I went ahead and finished my 1200 sq ft crawlspace using crawlspaceinfo. The material costed about $2300 including a santa fe advance dehumidifier.
A good tip would be to hire someone from craigslist. I hired someone for $9/hour and he did a great job. I worked with him and made sure he did everything the way I wanted. It took us 2 days to lay the plastic. It took me about one day after that to do the last piece after we ran out of material.
If you decide to do it yourself, make sure there is some sort of drainage in case you have a plumbing leak. I used a shower drainage tile that connects to a pvc pipe ending with a dryer vent cover. The dryer vent cover was to prevent air from entering the crawlspace while it allows water to flow if the need arises. Also, use some flood alarms. I bought three from amazon and installed them at the lowest area.

Also, I had some delta fl plastic that I did not use when I was finishing my basement. That REALLY helps when you have rocks or sharp objects under the plastic. I can imagine the plastic really tearing up if I did not use the delta fl.

overall I am happy but I am still watching the crawlspace everytime it rains. So far so good but I will stop watching it only after the next period of really heavy rain. Only then I can be sure.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 11:24AM
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I finally pulled the trigger and encapsulated my 2,100 sq foot crawl space. Looks awesome and already very dry!
I used 15 mil which is very thick. I still went ahead and doubled up on the higher traffic storage areas.
I found a guy on Craigslist that did the whole job for $390 (labor cost). I purchased all the materials online and had it delivered to my house.
Here is what I paid (all supplies online) and details of each item:

2 Rolls of Fabrication Tape 2-sided Butyl - 1.5" x 100' Roll $50
5 Rolls of Vapor Block 15mil (12' x 50') $721
3 Rolls of Vapor Bond Tape (4" x 210') $117
1 Bag Vapor Barrier Fasteners (100 pcs) $14
1 Elixir Crawlspace Access Door - 32" X 32" $100
1 Santa Fe Advance Dehumidifier (Amazon) $1,095
1 Santa Fe 4025845 Condensate Pump Kit $95

LABOR - 1 Guy did it!..took him about 18 hours $390

Total Cost including Labor: $2,582 (includes any tax and shipping)

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 5:30PM
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We just had a Clean Space encapsulation system installed on Monday and Tuesday of this week. It looks great. However, the dehumidifier was not properly located, and it ran the entire night on Tuesday night. This morning (Wednesday) when I awoke, I was having difficulty breathing and had to use my emergency inhaler. As the day progressed, I became light-headed. At lunch time, I left the house for a while - when I re-entered, the odor would "knock you down". The light-headed feeling worsened, and I have developed a severe headache. My husband and I contacted the company - they came and fixed the humidifier and told us to open the windows - which we had already done. I stayed outside in the fresh air all afternoon, and by dark, started feeling somewhat better. Upon returning to the inside of the house, the odor is still there - my headache and light-headedness is building. We have sealed off the air conditioning returns with plastic bags, closed off doors from rooms where the odor is worse than others. The house is virtually inhabitable at this time - I am trying to reach the owner of the company . . . Has anyone else had this problem with such noxious fumes???? Help!!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 8:16PM
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scottw57: Where did you purchase your materials, especially the door? I've seen some places online that sell the DIY stuff, but never found a place to purchase the door.

terecia: Any updates? Did you figure out what was causing the problems?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 5:07PM
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Hi folks,

I'm currently in the process of doing a "Do-It-Yourself" encapsulation right now using materials bought from I'm about 60% complete and, while it takes a bit of work to develop the method for attaching the material to the walls, it is easy work and does not take as long as you would think.

Background: This is for an old ~1200 sq ft. farmhouse cabin that I use as a vacation home in the North Carolina mountains. It is at least 50 years old and likely much older. The house was renovated about 7 years ago and had substantial rot on the hill side of the house where the dirt is only 8-12" inches from the joists (it is 6' high on the other end). Humidity under the house is currenly 85% and the insulation is soaking wet and has visible water droplets near all the exterior walls. There is mold growing quickly in these areas - I put a workbench down there a month ago and it warped and the wood has mold growing.

Regarding cost, I had a quote from a CleanSpace contractor and it was reasonable based on what I have read online - $5600 including the commercial-grade de-humidifier.

I have gone with 16 gauge material for both walls and flooring for most of the area and then done one 40 foot x 12 foot area in 24 gauge where I have my workbench and store yard equipment / kayaks. Total cost for all materials including vapor barrier, tape, and adhesive tape for attaching to walls was about $1100. I've purchased a non-commercial grade 70-pint dehumidifier with low temp capability for about $200 from Amazon and will see if that does the job before I upgrade to a commercial unit like others have listed. Those seem to run about $1000 and I'm not ready to commit that kind of money to a dehumidifier until I see that the lower cost units won't do the job.

Installation is reasonably easy as long as you have good access to the area. I have some areas that only have 16-18" clearance and those areas are tough but do-able with access tunnels.

I'm taping most areas to the walls which seems to be holding but I have used furring strips in some regions where the walls are quite wet or access is an issue.

I will post more after I see how well the system works. I'm desperate to get the humidity down as I'm very concerned about the mold growth and wood deterioration. Not sure how the previous owner lived there and didn't seem to have this problem - he had the crawl space vented....

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 8:52PM
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In Sept 2010 I had my crawlspace encapsulated. It cost me several thousand dollars. It looked very nice. BUT...within about 2 weeks after the project was finished I had this horrible odor in my home. I could not stand to be in my home. The odor caused my eyes to water, difficulty in breathing, dizziness, upset stomach, body aches. After many phone calls and excuses the company kept giving me, they removed everything and gave me a full refund. The company admitted they had used a different cheaper type of caulking to install the product which apparently gave off obnoxious gases. All I can say is this made me very sick and the smell about killed me. It took several days to get the smell totally out of my house. The entire episode was a nightmare.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 11:55PM
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Odd, yesterday this site said I wasn't a member. Today it had me automatically logged in.

Anyway, Brenda: What company did you use and what materials did they use to do this work? Did they say anything about venting the soil underneath the plastic to outside of the crawlspace?

Thinking about doing the DIY route for this myself soon.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 5:47PM
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I am from Ohio. It was a well known company from the Columbus Oh area. The material used was the clean space liner. They also used many tubes of caulking. There was no problem with the liner as far as I knew. The problem was the caulking the company used to seal the clean space liner to the side walls of my crawl space. The caulking was purchased from a different supplier from what they had used in the past(at least this is what they told me). The caulking gave off a horrible odor. They first laid a brown varigated type plastic material on the crawl space floor, then layed the clean space liner on top of the brown padded plastic. The clean space liner was then installed/caulked up the side walls of the crawl space. They also had installed a Sani Dry dehumidifier. They removed everything they had installed and the smell/odor I had throughout my house is now gone.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 5:08PM
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Check with your local Orkin Pest control branch to see if they offer the same service. Some of them do.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 4:38PM
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Please do not use Orkin. They are double the cost for their service.Please get bids from reputable companies.I have worked for them in the past selling encapsulations.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 10:21PM
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Just wondering how these Clean Space encapsulations have worked out after a few years. I am currently researching something to do with my crawl space. Whenever it rains it gets really wet and stays wet for a long time, causing humidity and mold. I live in California but in a high water table area, and the crawl space only has about 18 - 24 inches of clearance.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 9:38PM
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The explanation done by Cynthia Freeney that is on the search engine below this link tells the whole story on this very important topic. I've watched this uneccessary and destructive tactic of ruining peoples' "making moisure" since I got into the business of entering crawl spaces and basements for a living in 1987. Since then I've seen the building codes worsen with the seemingly good intentioned era of energy saving, actually ruining peoples' homes along the way. Sad but true... I see the "before and after" results of proper repair of bad insulation situation.. Here's the deal. 1- Get rid of all insulation in your floor joists. 2- Decide on one of three ways to seal your dirt floor, concrete, plastic with gravel or the plastic methods shown on these sites..3- Use rigid styrene on the inside of concrete walls. Use either rigid styrene or spray styrene in all perimeter box sills and any foundation vents... By doing this you will likely not need a dehumidifier at all and your crawl will become totally reformed and naturally dry and warm in winter and cool in Summer.. This is an epidemic in the Northeast and should become a local building/health Dept issue...

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 10:47AM
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This is a great site. So confusing trying to decide what to do. I recieved a quote today from a local company in MA. 8-10K to encapsulate and install sump pump and drainage. Seems very high but they seem very reputable. Mold issues were taken care of but water still coming in. Years ago we put Neutocrete down and now it is nothing but dust that makes us sick to be around. Once moisture gets in, it is useless.Company says they will come seal it for 1600$. No thanks. still not sure what to do. thanks for all the tips. what did we do before the internet?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 7:54PM
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Nat: Are you saying that encapsulation shouldn't be performed? Also, which link are you talking about? I don't show any links below these posts.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 6:34PM
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for all of you wanting clean space it is wonderful. i work for a company that installs it and if you think you are paying too much for the product then you have to stop and think the company you hire must make money and their employees have to be paid and the price of the material is not cheap also each employee has to take a class before they are aloud to install it. so if thats not enough then try installing it its not easy and its not just some plastic on the ground it a three layerd material with a reinforced twin woven in then treated with a chemical that prevents mold from growing on it. the dehumidifer takes the moisture out of the air then the sump pump sends the water out of the house. for all that it should be priced around 6 dollars per sq/ft.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 2:34AM
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I had an estimate oncer from a a 'Clean Space' franchise.

It was about 25% of their cost to purchase a sheet of EPDM (a lot tougher than the thin plastic they use) and cover the dirt and then secure it to the foundation.

I can crawl around in a 3 foot space an awful lot to save over $4,000.
A few tubes of EPDM compatible caulk,some 1x lumber, and Tapcons finished everything.

Once it was sealed up nothing much else was required.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 1:18PM
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Hello, I found this thread very interesting, especially since it was started several years earlier.
I am considering encapsulating my crawlspace in our home which is in a flood zone in Eastern NC. Although we have no evidence of termites, they tend to be a problem in this area of NC. I have gotten several quotes to encapsulate the crawlspace by sealing the foundation vents, installing a new vapor barrier, and installing a dehumidifier. However, none of the contractors specified putting the vapor barrier on the walls. When I questioned them, some said it was unnecessary, while others said it provided a better opportunity to inspect for termites. Does anyone have any info on whether putting the vapor barrier on the walls is necessary in this environment?
Also, has anyone been successful in making the flood doors somewhat airtight?
I appreciate any info you might provide

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 3:56PM
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Original poster here. If anyone had any questions for me, my new email address is

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 5:47PM
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@ brickeyee. One can certainly save money doing it yourself. Please post where you found material tougher than the 20 mil poly liner that cleanspace uses. I could find nothing nearly as strong in stores or on the Net. Building supply employees just looked at me funny when I said 20 mil!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 5:56PM
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@ James Geib:

I haven't purchased anything yet, but I got a quote from Cleanspace and then got a sample of the 20 mil that you can buy from:

And they were almost identical. I plan on buying my material from that site when I'm ready to tackle this project.

Someone might have a better source though.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 9:55PM
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We liked CleanSpace but do not use Michigan Foundation Systems, there price guarantee is only if they can beat the others and if not they simply never get back with you, so I would think their work is the same very poor good -luck.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 1:47PM
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While searching for an HVAC contractor to replace a split system located in my crawl space I decided it would be the best time to add some insulation to the sub-flooring when the system and duct work was removed.

What an education in spray foam insulation did I gain by getting the varied opinions of the contractors offering the service.

Just for a point of reference I am located south of Atlanta about 40 miles, between Macon and ATL. The portion of my home setting on a crawl space was built in 1942 and has 7 foundation vents that open and close with temperature variation.

The floor area ws about 1500 SQ ft, the walls about 600 SQ ft.

After having 6 visits from HVAC contractors and receiving quotes from 4 of them. I decided to replace the original split system with another split system in the same location.

One contractor was only willing to install a package unit that would require a 42" x 22" inch hole knocked into my foundation. Two independent partis assured me this would not compromise the structural integrity of my home, but my main concern was creating access for water to get into my crawl space in the event of heavy sustained rains. Not to mention this would require a dehumidifier for the crawl space encapsulation as well.

Contractor A - Inspected the crawl space and offered to apply a closed cell spray foam (Foametix)insulation to the sub-flooring after the old unit and duct work was removed. It was his opinion that you were only concerned witht he conditioned space from your feet to the ceiling and the closed cell spray foam would resist the weather conditions and mold.

Since the crawl space would be clear and accessible the original quote was $3150 dropped down to $2700

Contractor B - Looked in the crawl space door and did perimeter measurements, then offered to apply 2" of Icynene spray foam to the crawl space foundation walls along with a 12 mil crosslinked crawl space liner. $2709

My request for references was never acknowledged, even though they informed me they recalled doing two jobs in my town, they could not recall where. Luckily for me I contacted the company that has provided my annual termite inspection for the last 12 years and they gave me the name of a man who had his 2600 sq ft. crawl space sealed by the same guys. With in a few months there were unbearable "gas off" odors from the Icynene and the entire spray foam application was removed and resealed by contrractor D for $22,000 Ouch! None of the liner was sealed with tape, mastic or caulking.

Contractor C - Provided a crawl space inspection and offered to; remove debris, rehang air ducts, 10 mil white vapor barrier on the floor, 10 mil clear vapor barrier on the walls attached with pressure treated strips and some form of fastener, seal foundation vents, with all work done after new HVAC was installed. 20 year warranty for described services due to defective workmanship. $6889

Contractor D - Provided a thorough crawl space inspection identifying a somewhat below average amount of mold. Not dangerous black mold, but mold was present.

His proposal is;

Mold Remediation

Pre-treat walls with anti-microbial solution Kills mold but does not remove wood Stains

Apply Permanent Structure Guard to Exposed Framing, subflooring, and all wood structures

Crawl Space Encapsulation

Ground preparation, debris removal, and cleanup Treat ground with anti-microbial solution Installation of permanent molten polyethene(with diamond reinforced skrim), crosslinked, white crawlspace liner attached with power nails/mastic to all walls and piers Seal Walls and piers with 2 part liquid contact adhesive (non-degradable) and bonded to thick butyle mastic tape and liner two inches below sill plate. (best permanent seal available)All seams sealed with 4 inch white Crumply Adhesive Tape
Installation of foam padding under liner (500 mil) at access
Door to major utilities Seal liner to or underneath plumbing, wires, ducts, water heater, Air handler, etc.
Using additional adhesive sealants where needed
Totally seals dirt from house and foundation Vents will be foam sealed in appropriate time after installation At this time 4 inch supply duct can be added to condition Crawlspace

All pricing includes proper containment procedures and usage of Personal Protective Equipment for the duration of project.

XXXXX Systems will guarantee mold will not return to treated areas with Structure Guard for 25 years. It is our belief that mold at the residence is permeating from around the foundation, in this case the crawl space due to moisture and dirt exposure over time. It is possible that unforeseen conditions exist in other areas, for instance, behind wall cavities where mold could be present. However, it is our opinion that the improvements recommended in this estimate will have a very positive effect in reducing mold for the entire home. These improvements are designed to retard future growth of mold. In any case, XXXXXX Systems agrees to retreat any of the previously treated areas for the lifetime of the structure with Structure Guard, except in conditions of water leaks or flooding, at no charge.

Structural 25 year guarantee applies to all encapsulated liners, tapes, and sealants Guarantee does not include physical damage to material due to misuse or unusual physical intrusion. Furthermore, XXXXX Systems guarantees that condensation will be eliminated From all water pipes, ductwork, air handlers, wood subflooring, and insulation
An exception to this is any case of leaky pipes or defective plumbing fixtures, including water heaters or any source of flooding.

He has requested three days to complete the job.

$4800 for encapsulation + $875 for mold remediation = $5675

In reality my intention was to add some energy efficiency to my crawl space by spray foaming the floor, but it lead to having 4 contractors come out and give me their advice. I learned something with each conversation and spending a significant amount of money to protect my HVAC investment and hopefully create a better atmoshphere in my living space.

The project should start in a couple of weeks witht e first phase being the removal of the old HVAC unit and duct work. To follow with the encapsulation of the crawl space, then finishing with the installation of the new HVAC system an duct work.

E mail me and provide a contact number if anyone would like to discuss my experience. I would be happy to let you know how it goes. I will try and make an update to this thread as well.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 12:11AM
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So I got a quote from a clean space contractor. They were very professional, and did a thorough inspection.

My crawlspace is 450 sq ft and requires about 5 feet of wall coverage.

It includes a perimeter drain system with a sump pump, a dehumidifier and the plastic along with a cushiony mat to help with drainage that will go under the plastic.

They quoted me $7800 (but only $7000 if I signed TODAY... no pressure tho). They made it seem like engineers would be installing the crawl space system. Turns out they simply have an engineer on staff (one of the line items is $950 for engineering services).

I spoke to my regular contractor who had told me that he would be able to do it for $4000, he told me that the materials would cost about $2500 (I have to buy the materials and get them to my driveway) and he would charge about $1500 for the labor unless something screwy popped up (I've dealt with this guy a long time and he's honest). I would have used the basement system guys if they were below $5000 but a $3000 difference was simply too much to ignore no matter how expert they are at installation. This stuff simply doesn't seem complicated enough to warrant that sort of premium for expertise.

As an aside: It turns out that the mil in 20 mil doesn't mean millimeter (one onethousandth of a meter), a mil is one onethousandth of an inch. So 20 mil is 20 one thousandth of an inch or 2 one hundredth of an inch. Mils are most commonly used to measure paper thickness, an average sheet of paper is 10-15 mils. Hunh, learn something new every day.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 11:53PM
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I've been doing a lot research on this and it seems
insane to pay someone upwards of $15K to do what amounts to
sealing up some vents, putting down and sealing to the foundation walls some heavy plastic, adding a fan to introduce warm air to the crawlspace and adding a fairly inexpensive de-humidifier and your looking at maybe $2500 in materials tops for a 1500sf crawlspace.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 10:12PM
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I had the CleanSpace system installed about 9 months ago.
We've also had a strong smell described in some of the other posts. Was anyone able to figure out a solution other than ripping everything out?

Right now we're blowing the smell out a vent in the side of the house. as soon as our fan shuts off the smell comes back.
It has also started to travel up the heating pipes and our radiators on other floors are beginning to give off the same odor.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 3:15PM
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This sounds like a nightmare. I was really interested in the Cleanspace solution and admired Larry Janesky's thesis on Crawlspace encapsulation. However, after having the Cleanspace company provide me a quote of 14k for 1500 sqft I was dismayed. I don't see why someone needs to be paid 14k to clean up a crawlspace, put in thick sheeting and install a sump pump with dehumidifer. I'm sure I could get that done for half at least. Still waiting around for the hopes of a non-cleanspace company that will do the same thing for much less.

As far as the smell issues that concerns me as well. I'm guessing since there is no ventilation in the crawlspace the radon or whatever gases are coming in thru the air opening in the floor or venting systems. Probably no way to have a perfectly encapsulated crawlspace without some issues.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 8:09AM
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Yep - I bought one - I was told on the day of closing that the joists needed to be fixed and new insulatiion. The owner paid me 5,000 and reduced the price of the home for 5,000. But this clean space I put in smells at certain times of the year - it smelled real bad (vinyl or other fumes) for about 1 year, but actually I discovered one problem today. Because of the stacking affect the smell permeates the upper floor when cool air begins to enter the crawl space in the fall that pusheds air up, or during winter off and on. This can be reduced or eliminated by keeping the floor above the crawl space really warm (like grandmother's house). This helps put pressure out and keep the crawl space air from flowing rapidly upstairs and infecting the house with the dirt smell. I just returned from a walk after putting some space heaters on and it smells better. I hope this is a long term solution. We should have sprayed and caulked all of the joists, cracks and re-sealed the taping. Now I have insulation in between the joists without spraying on some poly on joists and underfloor surfaces first.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2011 at 8:06PM
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I am new here. I came across the site searching for answers to why my sealed crawl space has an awful odor and is making my entire family sick.
I had Cleanspace company in SC install a sealed crawl space system. Prior to the installation(4 days) the sales rep. fogged the crawl space with a product called Wetmax.
After the product was applied to remove any odor and mold, the sealed crawl space was installed.
I was told that the smell would be gone in 2-3 days. It has been a month and a half and the smell is just as strong.
I had the system installed to reduce the condensation and possible future mold issues. The results that I got are a home that my family can not live in together.
My windows have been open for 2 weeks allowing me to stay in the home. My children and wife have stayed out of the home or in a garage/play room area that is not aboce the crawl space area.
I also hired a CIH to get his opinion on what the issue is. He believes that it is the fogging agent that was used based on the chemistry.
All in all, we have spent about $10,000.00 on the system, test and Dr. bills.
There has been NO help from the company who installed the system.
I am looking for anyone that may can help point me in a direction for help.
An attorney at this point sounds good, but I do not have the money or time to enter a legal battle.
I am at the point of selling my 5 year old home.
Any ideas?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 9:15PM
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Found this link awhile back about the odor issue:

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 10:36PM
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Darby, Iam very sorry for your problems, that sounds like a very frustrating situation. The link oatlord provided is interesting and brings up two other possible sources for the odor but it sounds like you probably have it right.

I might try opening back up a couple vents on opposite sides of the house to each other and installing a fan blowing out from one of them. It should dissipate over time.

I would also be very aggressive in seeking remediation from the company that did the spraying. Try having the local news station do a story on it.

What did the CHI recommend? I can imagine that painting the sprayed areas could be an option.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 8:33PM
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Oh so many opinions here.
1. the walls being covered in poly - the State Codes i've seen typically allow a sealed crawl to have the poly only on the floor OR up the walls. Typically, since brick, mortar, and concrete block can release humidity into the crawl, you'll get a much more efficient system covering the walls too.
2. Smells - hard to identify. insulation that's gotten moist and drying out can release horrible smells. In some circumstances the poly used will 'offgas' and release a chemical/plastic smell. Also, if during the install any organics (bark, leaves, sawdust, etc) should have been removed from the crawl floor prior to the poly being place. If not, you now have a wet area with many moldy things beneath it. Sealed Crawls are amazing, but a single acorn trapped under a poly can put out a horrible smell
3. cost - telling someone you have a 1500 sf house does not give enough information, nor does quoting pricing of materials. This can be an extremely labor intensive process to do CORRECTLY and per code! Be sure to get advice from at least a couple of reputable contractors in your area (angie's list, NARI, or BBB are good resources) and make sure they're explaining all the issues they're addressing. If you have water moving beneath your home, sealing the crawl is HIDING the issue, not addressing it.
(although $14k for a 1500 sf home seems high...)

and, on a personal note, use a contractor who specializes in this work. The 'termite guys' getting into it seem to have trouble identifying the issues, and their quality is questionable in areas. You don't want a poor job that looks 'okay' and then pops up in an inspection when you go to sell as not meeting code.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 11:02PM
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FOLLOW UP from post June 28 2011:

So I had the work done by a local general contractor contractor with stuff from a do it yourself kit. I had 450 sq ft floor and 5 foot high walls with 90 linear feet of wall space for an extra 450 sq ft. I bought a do it yourself kit with 60 mil 100% vapor seal for $2500 (with tape glue, 1200 sq ft of 60 mil 100% vapor seal, wall fasteners, drain pad, drain pipes, a sump pump and a dehumidifier, everything but the tools).

I paid $1500 to clean out my crawlspace, grade the ground, dig the drainage along the edges, install the drain pipe, lay the drain pad, install the sump pump, lay the vapor seal, seal off the vents, put in an outlet for the dehumidifier (and a small light fixture), install a light switch and they even threw down some remnant outdoor carpet they had from a previous job to make it easier to crawl around). The job took a day and a half for two guys, most of the work was grading the ground and installing the drain system.

Its not rocket science. The do it yourself kits come with instructions and if I was inclined to crawl around for a couple of weekends I could have done it myself.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 12:01AM
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This site is an excellent source with products and videos for all of you do-it-yourself people. You can use their experience to put together a material quote for your project as well. Send them a sketch (no blue prints) of your crawl space and include the following:

Crawl space height
Measurements of ALL walls
Location of support piers or center foundation wall from the exterior foundation walls
What Mil thickness you want (20, 16, 12 or 8)
If you are having any water problems
Any other obstructions in the crawl space such as furnace, water tank or oil tank

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 2:15PM
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I am also interested in finding out how is your crawlspace a few years after you did the project.

We are purchasing a house with crawl space issues. The crawl space is 50x25x2.5 ft. It currently has a tarp cover that does not work. The first floor hardwood has serious cupping issue due to the high moisture level below.

I got five estimates so far arranging from $8k to $14k. 3 suggested encapsulation with dehumidifier, the other two suggested installing sump pumps and warned me about encapsulation.

I am very confused. I'd love to know what worked long term for others.



    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 9:52AM
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Hi. This discussion is very helpful. We're going to attempt to do this job DIY ordering everything from In addition to a crawlspace under my house, I also have a half basement with a concrete floor and brick walls, it's about 5 feet tall, we use it for storage and it has the water heater which has leaked in the past. On top of this half basement is an enclosed porch which we use as an office. The half basement gets damp when it rains, and when it storms with heavy rains, the floor gets wet. This is mainly because the entrance door to the basement allows water to creep in. We won't be able to do a vapor barrier on the floor of this basement. I was thinking about putting the plastic on the ceiling of the basement as a barrier. Does this sound like something that would help keep moisture in the basement and not escape into the room above? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 8:52PM
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there are a lot of posts here I need to read, but I did do this, I added the fancy sump pump but not the dehumidifier. My cost was $3600 it would have been $4800 with crawl space is not that big.

I have not been happy since day one, in my case it has made the smell worse. To me the whole thing seems flawed, the bad air down there has nowhere to go but up!

I added a portable self draining dehumidifier at one point and drained it into pump but it rain constantly and doubled my electric bill..thats another story for another day...most likely a defective unit and I really did not have a moisture issue down at that time

The smell has mainly been an issue downstairs and in downstairs bathroom. Usually more noticeable in spring and fall when HVAC is not running..this helped me realize a cool feature on HVAC unit 'circulate' that helped and once in awhile I would put a fan in window to suck air out of downstairs...we were getting along fine until recently I discovered a leak in downstairs bathroom. that has made the smell bad again.

To add insult to injury, the crawl space was supposed to drain towards pump and a drain..the pump would has an alarm to alert you to flood..well that did not happen, and I had standing water/lakes down there....the water did not go , the job was not slopped right.....anyway I replaced insulation have been running fans and dehumidifiers and nothing helps...

The only good thing I can say about all this is it did eliminate rodent problem that previous owners had, and the flood was fairly easy to clean up

What is really frustrating is nobody can agree on what is best, advice varies by what they are selling basically...some swear it needs to be ventilated and some swear it needs to be closed....One guy says you need a radon fan, thats what he did for his customers who complained but one of the selling points of this is it block the radon gas...

Another gripe is in my mind "encapsulation" means just that no air in or out..this crawl space they sell basically just does the floors and part of the wall so you still have stuff getting in via joints, a/c lines etc etc

I know I am totally frustrated and for a guy with sensitive nose this is no fun....I am aslo considering putting a exhaust fan in that downstairs bathroom since that seems to be ground zero but again no one can agree if that will help or make it worse

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 6:40PM
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I recently built a home with a 4' crawl space and it was less expensive to pour a concrete floor in it than to have someone come in and encapsulate the dirt floor....I had the floor poured and closed cell foam insulation sprayed on the rim joists and concrete walls and it makes a nice storage area too

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 6:01AM
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I have been reading messages off and on all day on this board and I am still confused. I have had an estimate of 13K, reduced to 11K if I sign up now, for clean space applied to 1400 SQ and up 3 ft of walls, good quality sump pump and dehumidifier, cleaning up debris and old, collapsing insulation. 3 days of labor. This is in Eugene, Oregon, where there is a lot of rain in winter and water has collected in my dirt crawl space. Estimate also includes closing all vents.

I am nervous about the odor a number of people mention, so I have to be careful about the calking. I don't know how in-line that price is with today's prices, early posts are from 2006 for usually much less, also other parts of country.

Can anyone help me with any of this? Doing it myself is out of the question, I am a 70-year-old woman who is claustrophobic and not particularly handy with home improvement projects -- no way am I doing it!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 12:27AM
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to pationi: I am no expert, I'm just a common person in a similar situation as you. I don't know if those prices are in line. I just wanted to jump in here and give you my opinion. I would have a hard time letting go of $11,000 or $13,000 for something like this. I also can't stand sales pressure, it makes me want to walk away. If they're willing to do it for $11,000 now, then they might give that price again in the future. If you turn them down, who knows... maybe they'll come back with $10,000. If it were me, I would take it piece by piece, first trying to fix the problem with water collecting in the crawl space. Fix that, then see what happens. I've dealt with a variety of contractors in the past. With some, you give them 5 things to do and they only finish 3 and you can't get them to come back for the 4th or 5th, like pulling teeth. I know not all contractors are like that, some are really good. But it's still a gamble. If you do move forward with these guys, I hope they do you right.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 11:02PM
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Sealed Solution

Great information ... #1 all case studies and the over 1000 homes that my Team has sealed their crawl and left a humidity/temp gauge in the crawl readable in your home has shown that within a day or 2 max that the crawl space levels out to the homes humidity level at 48%-60% and there is NO NEED TO BUY a thousand dollar humidifier!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. I used to hook up a "Track-It" AC Event Data Logger to their humidifiers once installed and the longest one ever ran was 2 weeks. Then it never turned on again. Most ran for 1/2 a day. Don't be fooled! I feel most companies dont seal properly by:

  1. Sealing the door air tight (like your homes doors)
    2. Don't seal the sill plate where major air and critters leak in and out of your crawl from.
  2. Don't hydro cement seal any below grade holes in your foundation walls for sewer/water/electrical.
  3. Don't seal holes in your band joists before covering it with insulation.
  4. Don't air seal good enough in the event later you will need a radon vacuum system
  5. Don't have a critter proof/suction proof drain.
  6. Don't take the plastic to the top of the foundation wall (or in NC to 3 in from top per code) This eliminates exposure to moist wet moldy area's made by moisture coming through the block.
  7. And the biggest thing ... very few if any power spray with mold remediation solution the entire crawl getting it back to its original clean and antiseptic beginning again.

These are just a few points that consumers easily over look as they chose the big boys ... who have learned no matter what quality job they do their marketing will bring in the next so why should they do the maximum. Ask them ... if this was your home would you do these steps???
So price shouldn't be the first concern ... the more thorough the process is key with having your crawl space done. And run from anyone selling you a dehumidifier. Now sump wells/pumps/drains are needed in very few homes but if they hold standing water they are very necessary, but not just for a damp crawl. Your air supply will take care of the humidity quickly and throughout the life of the home.
As for internet screening companies for contractors like Angies List and Home Advisor ...etc anyone can post comments on the companies and contractors give the e-mail link to their friends and to their most pleased customers to get reviews... so it is not your $.
Ask for their process step by step ... they might say that''s a trade secret ... tell them "Your not going to open up a sealed crawl company". Get the process in writing and verify if they did all steps. Ask upfront if another crawl space tech can review their work AND LOOK AT THEIR FACE. That's how you chose a quality company.
How to not chose a sealed crawl company:

  1. If they mention a dehumidifier
  2. If they wont easily share their process in writing
  3. If they charge an upfront fee
  4. Do they seal good enough to easily attach a radon mitigation system behind their work.
  5. They never talk about cleaning the mold off your joists and your entire crawl. Or better yet they say they'll sponge it clean. Sponging misses 15% at best and looks good visually especially by the door area.
  6. If they ever say if you commit now you get a discount.

Thee best way to chose is take a look at there LAST job. And see if they did all they promised you on their checkoff list on the process they were going to follow. If your older have your children or nephews or neighbors kid help with this.

I hope this helps you make a quality decision for your sealed crawl needs.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2015 at 7:11PM
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Sealed Solution

PS...To save considerable dollars case studies in NC concluded that a sealed crawl with insulation on the crawl ceiling removed and insulated the walls with R-10 brought energy savings of 15.7% on average over 10 home study but 15.3% was found leaving the insulation on the crawl sealing and sealing crawl space. This should cut the investment in half. As a crawl space tech I can see doing that on a new home with a clean crawl space but to seal up all the old moldy excrement + + + and not sanitizing your crawl would be an injustice to your potential air quality. BUT ... America is breathing that air now since 50% of your homes air is coming from your crawl space. You need to determine are you sealing only for the energy savings or your families long term health?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2015 at 7:33PM
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Sealed Solution

Mold doesn't come from a wet crawl space floor ... mold on your joists comes from your crawl ceiling being at 70 degrees and your crawl being 90 degrees and humid. Your ceiling and vent work .. etc will dew. Like a cold glass of water with ice sitting on your kitchen counter. The floor literally drips into your fiberglass which is against your joists passing the moisture to them. Mold starts grows at over 70% humidity.

Don't be sold on the hype that you need a dehumidifier! Seal your crawl vents and cover your floor better and run the supply air through at 1 cfm / 50 cu. ft crawl (general rule). Put a remote humidity/temp that you can buy at Lowes for $20 and wait a few days and your humidity should come out to 45-60% ... leveling off at 55% ... like the rest of your home. Temp should be within 10 degrees of your 1st floor.

Now my biggest concern with DIY'ers, yes I am a crawl space tech, is that they SEAL IN all that mold, dead animals, poop and urine that have collected their over the years. Its on their duct work, insulation, AC unit., sill walls...etc. I would HIGHLY reccommend before you seal to remove all your old xxxxx insulation and either replace that for 15.3 % efficiency or rigid board insulate your walls for 15.7% energy saving efficiency (numbers based on Advanced Energy's case study in the Southeast on sealed crawls) I break down the 8 page study conclusion to laymen terms.
Q. I am asked frequently ... if I don't replace my current insulation but just redo the parts that have fallen down by weight of water or critter wars... I will cut my Sealed Crawl bill in HALF?

Q. Why doesn't everybody do this then?

If you had mold ...everywhere...where every vented crawl space over 2 years has ... and poop all over the floor half the size of baseballs. Mice poop pellets and cricket poop black dotted all over your 1st floor living area.....WOULD THAT BE FINE FOR YOU?
NOOOOOOOO... you'd know that that is a health hazard and you would clean that up!
Wouldn't you?

That's why you take the old insulation out and disinfect your crawl!

I believe that America will see a mold awareness soon and that many ailments are simply from the crappy air that we've been breathing all our lives from vented crawl spaces. The govt states that America does not have mold experts enough to make this situation more aware. And like Lead based paint that started killing thousands a week discovered in 1905? that the govt didn't mandate laws to protect us till 1976?

If you think your so smart Matt ... why don't more builders simply put sealed crawl spaces in every new home... it makes it more efficient and the air quality far better.... because the MLS only lists PRICE.... Not overall cost of owning a home. So you NOW would look past or not even see their home because it is $5000-$10,000 priced out of their "Range". So builders go cheap and simple so they will be in the New Home Buyers competitive search.

All builders and Supers I know who built there home in the past 10 years have spray spray foamed their attics sealed and sealed their crawl. Its not even a question with them. And their monthly mortgage is higher than their neighbors...but their energy bill is less than half and FAR outweighs the little mortgage increase. So they live in their home for less and in a far healthier environment.   :shows the breakdown in savings vs insulation upgrade

50% of your homes air (sealed crawl or vented) comes from your crawl space first.
Sealed Crawl Homes: Warmer air rises and vacuum pulls the crawl air up and eventually it all goes out your attic.
Vented home: Warm air comes in from the vents and rises after being under 70 degree cool air.
Average 1800 sf home built before 2012 codes loses 2 good year blimps of air EACH day. That's called the STACK EFFECT. Its like driving around with your car windows down trying to condition your cars air. Closing your windows more and more makes it easier to condition your cars air...same with your home...sealing the attic (40-50% energy savings... Crawl sealing saves 15.8%)

How much do you value your families air quality?

CDC's #1 concern for homes is MOLD.

So DIY'er ... I want you as a client ... of coarse ... but some will always DIY it ... I care about your families health... research cleaning your crawl first! PLEASE!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 8:04AM
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