Opinions on $12,450 Crawlspace Encapsulation Quote

catmbwDecember 20, 2009

We just got a quote for $12,450 for our 1500 sf crawl space that includes 20 mil Clean Space liner over dirt and up block walls, 175 linear ft perimeter drainage piping, 2 sump pumps, and one dehumidifier...all installed in about 12 hours (1 1/2 day job). Does this seem like a fair/realistic quote? We know we need something done...our crawl space holds water even when it hasn't rained, and there's already small amounts of mold growing, but our home is only 3 years old. We just can't see spending that much money. Help please! We're supposed to let the company know this week if we want to sign the contract in order to get a 10% discount before the end of the year.

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That sound expensive to me. In addition, whenever a bidder tries to pressure me into signing a contract with some artificial deadline, I generally see that as a sign to walk the other way. I don't know what this should cost, but saving 10% on a $12K bid doesn't sound like a deal to me if you can get the same work done by someone else for half that or less.

Do you even have a detailed breakdown from this bidder that shows how many work hours at what rates, and what the materials and equipment costs are. An honest contractor would share that with you. Let's say that 25% of the bid is overhead and profit ($3100). And if it involves a crew of 4 people working a day and a half at $25 per hour, that's $1200 for labor. So that leaves about $8100 for two sump pumps, a dehumidifier and some plastic piping and vapor barrier. Even if those things were gold-plated, they wouldn't cost nearly that much.

This smells like a rip-off to me. Please get yourself a couple of other bids, and then decide.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 9:33PM
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Good grief! I had my crawl space done last December (1260sf) and it cost me $2300. They encapsulated the entire crawl space (yes, now i will go down there) dug a pit at the lowest spot, installed a sump pump and hose. Come late summer I called and mentioned to them that I was getting an odor of mold up in the house, could they come and check. They were here in a couple weeks and ended up digging a trench around the perimeter of the space. No charge. Should have been done to begin with. They told me if I was smart, I would put a dehumidifier down there to get out excess moisture and I did. Worked great during the latter part of summer and most of the fall. I did turn it off a month ago, because I noticed that it was getting 'too' dry in the house. I was sparking and so were the cats! lol...

If I were you, I would call local HVAC places and see what they can do. That company is flat out ripping you off...


    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 9:50PM
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"We're supposed to let the company know this week if we want to sign the contract in order to get a 10% discount before the end of the year."

Reputable companies do not need to use this type of high pressure tactic.

Unless they are going to have to dig out to gain working room, the whole thing sounds excessive.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 8:19AM
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Thanks for the advice...I guess I just needed to hear that $12,450 was not realistic, and found that out quick when I looked up the material costs. My husband and I did some research online and found the closest equivalents possible to the materials they quoted. We found 2 high-quality sump pump systems (with the same sump pump this company uses), the exact dehumidifier they use, 200' of similar drainage pipe, and more than enough 20 mil vapor barrier to complete the job, all for about $3,200 total. So, that tells me they're charging over $9,000 for labor!! Even with the 10% off, we're not getting anywhere close to a deal. We're going to call some other contractors...or if we can find some willing friends, we may try to tackle the job ourselves. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 11:32PM
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FWIW, I converted my crawl space to a closed system. I used Stego Wrap (got it from hvacquick.com) as the vapor barrier. It's an wonderful product...a true vapor barrier, not a retarder(I have no financial interest in the above company or product).

I also dug a sump pit under the house, and channels leading to the sump sit, with drain tile pipe, gravel and filter fabric.

Dont know how much headroom you have (I have but 16 inches..ugh) but please dont underestimate how much work it is and how awkward is it to work down there.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 6:07AM
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That's great. And now it sounds like you are armed with the facts so you can scrutinize the other bids. Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 3:05PM
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I know this is late, but $12,500 is absolutely fair for "crawlspace encapsulation" if 1500 sqft. As this is completely different than a standard "crawlspace restoration". Standard restoration is a fraction of the cost but it's also a fraction of the effort, a fraction of materials, not even close to equal quality. It may be done in 2 days with the right amount and quality of employees, this also includes a warranty, most likely/hopefully pest control and exclusion There is risk, liability. IN THIS BUSINESS, employees cost more than $25 per hour. There is a big safety issue here, safety costs. The workers often get 30% of the cost of the job. Ill tell you, this is a very dirty, very difficult, very simple but very large task and people need paid well to do the job well. If it is not done appropriately or correct, the company is liable for the tens of thousands. I could go into a ton of detail but Ill spare you. I hope this gives s little more understanding. I have been in the business for years. Im also a consumer. Ill conclude saying, if someone tries to sell you a traditional restoration (6 mil moisture barrier and insulation) for $12,500, run. It should be between $2-$5 per sqft. Encapsulation
$5-$20 a sqft, commonly $8-$12 a sqft. Every job is different and depends largely on what is involved. Some times there are city permits required as well. It is expensive but it is worth it. You'll save significant money on energy, save your family health problems and add value to your home. If you do decide to do it always have pest control inspections regularly. At minimum 1 time a year but I recommend quarterly to preserve and maintain.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 2:40PM
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"Do you even have a detailed breakdown from this bidder that shows how many work hours at what rates, and what the materials and equipment costs are. An honest contractor would share that with you."


I am an honest contractor and if a potential customer asks me for a labor/material breakdown, I will not work for them. It is simply none of their business.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 12:29PM
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Trebruchet that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Anything I am buying, paying for, having installed in or on my house is 100% my business.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 2:28PM
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I'll accept that you are honest. Unfortunately, your attitude of not sharing details is also a characteristic of companies that are trying to scam people, so you risk being lumped in with the shysters if your professional pride prevents you from being open with customers. Your call...

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 9:33PM
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I'm dealing with the same thing due the subfloor damage and molding issues from this years rains. I went with doing the entire underside of the house with 2 inches of closed cell foam, 2 air movers at each end of the crawlspace (similar to attic fans), 6 mil plastic sheeting on the ground, and Boracare/mold care treatment for $8000 for 1500 sq ft floor space (a little more when you count the joists and braces).

You will need to make any repairs or updates before having the foam added.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 4:47AM
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