Photo of a crawl space under a house with the caption Florida Crawl Space Encapsulation

A crawl space encapsulation can be an asset to your home. However, some considerations need to be made for those who live in hot and humid climates. While there are a lot of benefits to having your crawl space encapsulated, there are some downsides as well.

Some of the biggest pros for crawl space encapsulation are that it aids in pest control, helps with moisture control, and will ultimately increase the efficiency of your home. It does come at a cost, though–literally. 

These systems can be quite expensive, and they do require additional maintenance. At the end of the day, you have to weigh all of the considerations and make the best decision for your home.

This article will list many of the pros and cons of crawl space encapsulation for Florida’s hot, humid weather. We hope it helps you decide whether or not crawl space encapsulation is right for your home.

What Is Crawl Space Encapsulation?

Photo of a worker with a flashlight, mask and gloves in a crawl space under a house with a plastic barrier on the ground and a vent into the house.
You may have never even thought about your home’s crawl space, let alone seen it. But sealing it up can be a major improvement to your home’s longevity as well as your family’s comfort and health.

Crawl space encapsulation is a form of moisture control using a physical barrier. This vapor barrier is usually 10 or 20 millimeters thick, depending on your home’s specific needs.

The thicker the barrier, the more protection it provides. Thicker barriers are more expensive, though.

The barrier itself typically includes three layers: reinforcement cord, antimicrobial additive, and a top layer, typically white, that is made from pure polyethylene resin.

A full encapsulation could also include some foundation work, if necessary.

There are four major steps to crawl space encapsulation:

  1. Stopping any current water intrusion
  2. Preventing additional moisture from entering (vapor barrier)
  3. Finding and sealing any remaining air leaks
  4. Conditioning the air within the crawl space

Here’s a video by Crawl Space Ninja (we’re big fans) on Youtube that shows the whole process of this kind of project.

Crawl Space Encapsulation: Pros

There are a number of pros and cons when it comes to crawl space encapsulation, and you’ll want to take them all into account before you decide. Let’s break them down.

Moisture Reduction

This is one of the biggest pros of crawl space encapsulation, especially in hot, humid climates like Florida.

Crawl spaces are notorious for being hot and humid, especially in a warm and moist climate. The presence of a vapor barrier alone can significantly reduce the moisture within the crawl space. In effect, this can aid in the moisture control of the entire house.

Reducing moisture also reduces the risk of mold, mildew, or fungus growing in the crawl space. This can be a major issue in warm, humid climates.

In many cases, it’s best to install a dehumidifier that operates automatically. It turns on when the moisture level reaches a certain humidity level, which will always keep your new encapsulated crawl space dry, or at least dryer.

Photo of mold or mildew growing on white drywall in a corner with a tile baseboard. Crawl space encapsulation helps control indoor moisture that causes problems.
You might not love the Florida humidity, but the mold and mildew sure do.

Pest Prevention

The vapor barriers utilized in crawl space encapsulation are incredibly durable, at any thickness.

A major benefit of the vapor barrier is that it helps prevent pests from getting into your crawl space (or into your home through your crawl space).

Crawl space encapsulation is airtight meaning ants, termites, or other critters can no longer get into the crawl space.

Better Energy Efficiency

These benefits all come back to the air-tight design of the vapor barrier.

If air cannot actively flow through the crawl space, then it cannot get into your home. This helps with energy efficiency in the home itself.

Increasing the energy efficiency of any home has a plethora of benefits including reduced energy bills and a more comfortable living space.

Studies have shown that homes with crawl space encapsulation installed see an energy usage reduction of 20%.

As we’ve written in other articles on air sealing, stopping the air from flowing completely is one of the first things you tackle when going for net-zero or energy-efficient projects.

The Home Performance channel on YouTube is great as well, and offers a lot of tips and info on the energy-efficient aspects of crawl space encapsulation:


As you will read below, there are some maintenance costs associated with crawl space encapsulation.

For Floridians, it is almost always well worth the time and cost. In some climates, homeowners may lose money on maintenance.

However, because Florida has consistent high heat and humidity, the value of the system is much more than the combined upfront cost and maintenance costs. It’s a proverbial ounce of prevention against costly damage to the home or foundation over time.

Crawl Space Encapsulation: Cons

You’ve probably realized by now that we’re definitely in favor of crawl space encapsulation in Florida if you’re able to do it.

But it’s still important to consider the downsides before you decide what’s right for your situation.


Cost is probably the biggest con of crawl space encapsulation.

It depends on the size of the crawl space and the thickness of the vapor barrier needed, but some sources recommend expecting to pay around $10,000. Other estimates range from about $1,500 to $15,000.

Either way, putting in crawl space encapsulation takes a significant amount of money.

In theory, you could DIY. But to make sure it’s done correctly and without errors, it’s better to have a professional do the installation, even if it costs more money.


Some maintenance costs need to be figured in as well.

A crawl space encapsulation cannot just be installed and then left to its own devices. It must be maintained.

The specific maintenance tasks depend on what you purchase and if there are any additional features such as air dehumidification.

But every system, at minimum, will require regular inspections (and repairs, when necessary) of all the different elements that keep the crawl space sealed up tight.

In some climates, the maintenance costs actually can exceed the amount of money you save.

But, because Florida is so humid and vapor barriers have such a large impact, Floridians will see a positive return on investment in the maintenance of the system.

Weighing Pros & Cons

The biggest con is the cost, and there’s really no way around it.

However, you have to remember that moisture or pest damage to your home or foundation through your crawl space could quickly exceed the upfront cost of installing a vapor barrier.

Moisture, mold, mildew, fungus, and pests can all do significant damage to the foundation and the home itself.

Crawl space encapsulation prevents damage while also increasing the energy efficiency of the home.

So while there is a large cost to install and maintain the system, the damage prevention and energy savings could far outweigh those initial costs.

The Effects of Crawl Space Damage in Florida

Crawl spaces are always out of sight and mind due to their concealed locations.

However, the condition of the crawl space plays a significant role in the condition of your home and your family’s health. This is why it’s essential to understand the impacts of crawl space damage.

A moist crawl space creates the ideal environment for mold growth. Dust mites can also thrive in such environments, leaving behind their fecal matter.

Fecal material and mold spores can rise and penetrate your home’s higher levels. Consequently, they can worsen asthma, cause allergen reactions, and other health concerns among family members.

A musty smell from fecal matter, mold spores, and decomposing wood in a humid crawl space contributes to an uncomfortable indoor environment.

Also, a moist indoor environment is more welcoming to a wide range of insects and pests common in Florida. Besides causing negative health effects, these insects and pests can destroy your valuable property.

High humidity is also detrimental to your home’s structural integrity and can cause severe damage. For example, high indoor humidity can affect floor joists, support beams, subflooring, window frames, insulation, and other areas.     


It all comes down to what is best for you and your home. But in a warm, humid environment, you’re going to protect your home from pests and damage.

Plus, you’re going to feel more comfortable indoors while you spend less on air conditioning.

The Florida climate pretty much guarantees a good return on investment for a crawl space encapsulation system and its maintenance.

If you want to look further into investing in a dehumidifier versus crawl space encapsulation, you can head on to this article.

On the other hand, if you’re still concerned with costs, you can refer to our ultimate insurance guide to crawl space encapsulation!

One Comment

  1. Yeah! Crawl space encapsulation is an optional home renovation that is not needed. It is, nevertheless, an essential alternative for removing unwanted moisture, rodents, mold, and filthy air from the crawl space. It also improves the health, safety, and comfort of the home.

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