Encapsulated vs. Conditioned Crawl Space: Understanding the Difference

encapsulated vs. conditioned crawl space

The holidays have come and gone and now you have all these decorations you need to find a place for. 

So, where do you put them? Well, in your crawl space if you have one! Crawl spaces are a necessity for those of us who have way too many boxes and not enough space in our home.

When you keep all your beloved decorations and other items that aren’t being used in your crawl space, it’s important that the area is protected. This is where encapsulated and conditioned crawl spaces come in.

Keep reading to learn about encapsulated vs. conditioned crawl spaces and the protection they offer! 

Conditioned Crawl Space 

A conditioned crawl space uses vapor barriers to protect the inside of the crawl space.

When you condition your crawl space, you’re using black plastic to seal the entire crawl space floor, walls, and joists. You won’t cover up your vents in this case, so you won’t need to put a dehumidifier in the crawl space. 

The 6mm of black plastic that you’ll use when you condition your crawl space is called, “Visqueen.”

The nice part about using vapor barriers in your crawl space is that you can still store items in the crawl space. So, those holiday decorations will have a place to stay without you having to worry about them getting ruined. 

Encapsulated Crawl Space

Encapsulating your crawl space is when you seal off the entire crawl space, including the vents.

To do this you’ll use white plastic. Since everything in your crawl space is sealed off with this method, you’ll need a dehumidifier and a sub-pump. 

Sealing off the crawl space completely will help you keep your crawl space clean and dry. Without sealing it in some way, you may end up with moisture in the space that will ruin anything you’re storing in there.

Since the space is dry and clean after it’s been encapsulated, you can store boxes or other items you aren’t currently using.

Encapsulated vs. Conditioned Crawl Space

Encapsulated and conditioned crawl spaces are similar in a lot of ways but they’re still quite different.

Where an encapsulated crawl space is sealed off completely, a conditioned crawl space only seals the floor, walls, and joists. Also, an encapsulated crawl space uses white plastic while a conditioned crawl space uses black plastic.

Many people feel that an encapsulated crawl space is more visually pleasing. Since the white plastic creates a uniform and clean look, many prefer that over the black plastic on the floor. 

Also, since the vents are sealed in an encapsulated crawl space, you’ll need a sub-pump and a dehumidifier to keep the space clean and dry. Since the vents aren’t covered in a conditioned crawl space, you won’t need to worry about these pieces of equipment.

When it comes to price, a full encapsulation is much more expensive. It’s around 4x more expensive to encapsulate your crawl space.

Both methods of sealing your crawl space will protect the area, the method will just depend on your personal needs.

How Will You Seal Your Crawl Space?

When weighing the differences between an encapsulated vs. conditioned crawl space, there are plenty of differences yet there are still many similarities.

Both options will protect your crawl space and the belongings you keep in there. 

To have your crawl space sealed, reach out to us today!