Over time, a basement's concrete walls can break down and crack, leading to water leaking in and mold. Thankfully for homeowners, there are ways to stop this from happening. Basement encapsulation is a fantastic way to waterproof your basement while also being part of the solution for resisting water damage. We've researched what exactly basement encapsulation is and how much it costs.
Encapsulating a basement is merely sealing the area with a heavy polyethylene liner. Once installed, this layer prevents water vapor intrusion and leaks. Usually, the liner will contain an anti-microbial layer to stop mold from forming as well. Depending on the initial cleanup and unexpected factors, basement encapsulation can cost between $5,000 and $15,000+, or between $2 and $10 per square foot.
Basement encapsulation is a great way to protect your home's value and can be a money-saving investment, especially in older homes. Now we know the average basement encapsulation costs, but we encourage you to continue reading for more information. We will discuss the installation process and give more details on the cost of basement encapsulation, and answer some other questions.
Encapsulation is a fairly straightforward process in a basement or crawlspace. While not a be-all-end-all solution to protect your space and home, encapsulation will keep mold out of your home and stop water leaks from entering your space. Going forward, we will discuss how spaces are encapsulated and the factors that can affect the cost.
Before any liners can be put into place, there are a few steps you must take to prepare your basement for encapsulation. While you can help prepare your basement for encapsulation, the process is not a DIY project, so be sure to vet and choose your professional with care.
Make sure you have adequate draining around your foundation. Insufficient drainage allows water to seep into your basement. The encapsulation process is only going to take place after installing a drainage system. If there is standing water under the foundation or in your basement, you'll need to contact a structural engineer to figure out how to fix it before going ahead with encapsulation. You'll also need to check for mold and clean it up before encapsulation can take place. Seal any cracks in the basement walls with cement or epoxy. Finally, make sure that nothing is emitting carbon monoxide, as it will be sealed into the space.
For information on how to fix cracks in a basement wall, check out our article How To Fix A Leaky Basement Wall From The Inside.
Once all of this has been taken care of, the actual encapsulation process can begin. The polyethylene layer can be cut to fit around pipes or other things in the room and is placed onto the walls, floor, and ceiling. This includes both a waterproof barrier, thermal barrier, and usually a microbial barrier. Some liners even have a barrier that protects against radiation, such as Radon. You'll want to seal all of the vents to the outdoors, as well as an air seal any cracks or sections where the liner is open. Spray foam is usually applied to these areas to seal them off.
After the encapsulation liner is installed correctly, you may want to install a dehumidifier to keep the area from getting humid and wet inside. Usually, these will drain directly outside and are sized to fit your basement. Humidity monitors can help you keep track of the humidity in your basement as well.
Encapsulation average cost can be broken down into three categories, from low-end to high-end. Low-end averages run around $3,000, mid-range averages run about $5,000, and high-end averages around $8,000. While these averages are an excellent place to start looking at budgeting, there are plenty of factors that go into the cost of encapsulation.
The size of your basement will have a significant impact on the cost of encapsulation. You should generally expect to pay between $2 and $10 per square foot, just for the encapsulation. Keep in mind, though, that any additional services will increase this cost. Addition services can include:
- Water removal.
- Vent Sealing.
- Extra barrier layers.
- Sump pumps.
- Exterior soil grading.
These factors are why there is such a large range in cost for basement encapsulation. Unforeseen issues and additional services can quickly increase the cost of your encapsulation. Make sure to have an inspection and a certified professional check out the area before agreeing to anything.
Does Encapsulating A Basement Increase The Home Value?
Encapsulation has the potential to increase your home's value. At the very least, encapsulation is a great selling point for your home. The extra protection is an attractive feature of your home and will help potential buyers feel safe in their purchase.
More than increasing the value of your home, encapsulation protects your home's value. Moldy, wet basements can quickly devalue your home and turn off potential buyers. The protection gained from encapsulation keeps big problems from arising with water damage and mold, protecting the home's value. In addition to protecting your home's value, an encapsulated basement can help you save money in energy bill costs, protect HVAC systems, and help avoid expensive structural repairs.
How Do You Encapsulate A Basement?
Encapsulating a basement is essentially sealing it off. We discussed the installation process earlier, but here we will discuss what exactly goes into it. We know encapsulation is installing a liner to keep out moisture, but here we will give more details.
The liner applied to the walls, ceiling, and floor of the basement is waterproof and inhibits mold growth. It essentially is there to keep water draining in from the outside and form an impenetrable barrier. The liner is trimmed to fit around any obstacles in the basement, such as pipes and vents.
Once the liner is installed, you'll have the area air sealed. Vents leading to the outside will need to be sealed off with foam to keep out humidity, so the only air running into your basement is from your HVAC systems. Finally, a dehumidifier will keep humidity out of the basement so water can't build up inside of the area.
How Long Does Encapsulation Last?
You should expect a proper encapsulation to last at least ten years. On average, encapsulations generally last between 10 and 15 years. However, newer products and better installation mean they can last up to 20. When shopping around, check for manufacturer's warranties. From research, some manufacturers will offer warranties up to 25 years on their encapsulations, meaning even if it doesn't last that length of time, any issues will be fixed by them.
How Much Does Basement Encapsulation Cost?
Homeowners should expect to pay between $5,000 to $15,000 to encapsulate their basement. On average, encapsulation costs between $2 and $10 per square foot. The size of the basement and any other services required are responsible for the range in cost, so make sure to get an accurate quote and inspection ahead of starting any work. If you're interested in other types of basement protection, you should check out our article Can You Spray Foam Basement Walls?