Crawl Space Encapsulation Vs. Vapor Barrier: Features And Differences

The crawl space allows outside air to circulate beneath your house. There could be unnecessary moisture in your house due to it. It might make you feel worried.

However, there are different ways of keeping the moisture away from your home. To do so, you need a clear understanding of crawl space encapsulation vs. vapor barrier.

Let’s dig deeper into it and individually talk about them in detail.

What Is Crawl Space Encapsulation?

Crawl space encapsulation

Crawl space encapsulation means sealing the entire crawl space inside your home with white plastic.

It is basically a sealing technique by which you get to cover the floor and the foundation walls with sheets of thick polyethylene plastic.

So, the question is, is crawl space encapsulation worth it?

Despite having some crawl space encapsulation alternatives, it’s definitely worth it!

It hinders the outside moisture to enter your house. Otherwise, it could hamper your home and other stuff in your home negatively.

The wooden floor and other wooden and iron-made stuff of your home may rot.

Moreover, encapsulating the crawl space of your home keeps harmful insects away.

For sure, you won’t find any reason not to consider it for your home.

Benefits Of Crawl Space Encapsulation

There are quite a few benefits;

  • Quality of air

Due to the moisture in the crawl area, mold, mildew, and bacteria are often there. With the air, these may enter into your house and harm the atmosphere.

All these contaminants can harm your family members.

You can avoid it through crawl space encapsulation by increasing the quality of air inside your house.

  • No flooding 

At some point in your house, due to having a crawl space instead of the basement, you may be exposed to flooding. This may occur due to heavy rainfall or some other natural disaster.

Once you encapsulate your home, you will be less exposed to such misfortune.

  • Less Humidity

The humidity level of your house will be significantly reduced.

  • Lower structural damage

The vapor from the crawl space can damage all wooden and iron stuff in your house. Crawl space encapsulation can be a solution to it.

  • Storage usage

After the encapsulation process, you can utilize the crawl space as storage for all unnecessary stuff of your house.

So, you will be able to save enough space for your home.

After knowing the benefits, let’s get to know about some pros and cons of Crawl Space Encapsulation at a glance:

Reduces the cost of your home in an unfriendly environment.It requires a significant amount of one-time investment. Homeowners may find it difficult to do so.
Prevents harmful pests to enter the home.After the installation process is done, there might be a yearly maintenance cost and inspection needed.
Reduces moisture problem.You may have to upgrade the whole HVAC system of your home to ensure optimized air circulation.
Additional storage creation for keeping stuff. 
Keeps the inside air fresh of your home. 
There will be fewer chances of flooding and other calamities. 

 What Is Vapor Barrier?

vapor barrier

Is that all to protect the crawl space of your home?


You can consider the vapor barrier as well. So, what is it?

The vapor barrier is when any material like plastic and foil sheets are used to protect the crawl space of your home to resist moisture coming through the wall, ceiling, floor, and roof.

Benefits of Vapor Barrier

Despite having some issues like mold behind the vapor barrier, it offers many benefits! Similar to encapsulate process; the vapor barrier comes with some benefits.

Now let’s get to know about it.

  • Control over the temperature of the room

When there is excessive moisture in your house, then it would definitely have an impact on your house. The moisture would hold the temperature of your house. So, it will be either too hot or cold.

A vapor barrier system would seal those spaces. 

  • Protecting crawl space pipes
how vapor barrier works

A vapor barrier system in your crawl space can help the pipes not to get burst. 

In most houses, most of the pipes of gas, water go through the crawl space.

So, the existence of moisture can harm these pipes badly. But vapor barrier installation can keep it dry.

  • Saving energy

Again, it saves energy by keeping the temperature of the house at a normal level. It happens by controlling the moisture around the crawl space of your home.

  • Preventing odor

Higher moisture levels may dampness in the area of your house. This dampness of that area eventually creates a bad odor around your house.

By installing a vapor barrier, you can prevent that.

Now, it is time to know the Pros and Cons of vapor barrier for the crawl space of your home at a glance;

1. It is easy to install.1. It is comparatively more expensive.
2. It helps to extend the lifespan of the pipes.2. The materials can be easily damaged.
3. It saves energy costs.3. The process of installation can get hampered due to the materials.
4. Prevents the dampness of the house. 

So, The Winner Is…

Now, it is time to pick the one, which seems more suitable to do the job.

So, is crawl space encapsulation worth it? Or installing a vapor barrier is better one?

Considering some points and despite having some issues with crawl space encapsulation, I will keep encapsulation ahead. But, you know which one is more suitable for your circumstances.

According to your convenience, you can pick the one that will suit your crawl space more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is a vapor barrier the same as encapsulation?

The vapor barrier does exactly the same work as encapsulation in your crawl space. The benefits are also the same. But you will not be getting storage space. Also, even if the installation process is easy, the materials used for it are really flimsy.

How long does crawl space encapsulation last?

In general, most companies will offer a warranty of 15-20 years. It lasts longer than the vapor barrier. Depending on the humidity level of that area, the encapsulation project may last longer than 20 years as well.

Will a vapor barrier reduce humidity?

A vapor barrier in your crawl space can block the evaporation of ground moisture that eventually lowers the humidity around that area.


To maintain a regular temperature of your house, you will need to seal the crawl space of your home. Thinking about crawl space encapsulation vs. vapor barrier, knowing all the pros and cons you can finally take the decision.

So, which one are you going to pick for the crawl space of your home?

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