Alright, alright, we know why you’re reading this. You’re a proud DIY-er. But be warned, you have begun researching the mother of all DIY’s. We want to be honest and transparent. Crawlspace encapsulation and crawlspace repair is tough stuff. We know, we’ve done it a hundred times. But we’re not here to sell ourselves. We want to look at whether it’s genuinely worth doing it yourself or hiring a professional. So, let’s weigh the costs.
Mistakes Happen Before Encapsulation Even Begins
Most of the time, encapsulation is step two, not step one. Step one is completing a laundry list of crawlspace preparations: structural integrity assessment and repairs, crawlspace cleaning, installation of drainage pipes or sump pump, sealing holes and cracks and vents to the house and outdoors, the list goes on. Every crawl space is different, so if you miss something just in the preparation phase, the encapsulation will be a waste of time. A professional who’s worth their salt will be thorough in the inspection and preparation process to give you what your unique crawlspace needs, not a general cookie cutter approach.
Time Is Money… or is Money Time?
You DIY things because you want to save money. When it comes to a crawlspace waterproofing or encapsulation, most of the cost is in the expertise and labour. So, we have a story for you that happened literally this week.
Cory was speaking to a client who wanted his crawl space encapsulated. The guy asked, “What can I do to get the cost down?” Cory told him that his crawlspace needed a drainage system installed which would cost $1200 (gotta love Windsor flooding). Cory said he could do that part himself and pocket the $1200, to which the client agreed, and Cory explained how to DIY it. It took the client and his son a week of evenings to install the drainage system. After talking about how difficult of a job it was, he asked Cory, “How long would it have taken your guys?”
“About four hours.”
So, at what point does time become money or money become time? He saved money on paying the professional but lost money not going to work to DIY the install. It’s important that you do the math. Ask yourself, “which investment is more rewarding, time or money?” We can’t answer that for you.
It’s a Risky Business Baby
If you are going to start a DIY crawlspace encapsulation, you better do it right, and you better finish it. Seriously, if you don’t plan on finishing it, don’t start it. You will need a lot of time for it. It took that client a week and a half to do the drainage install, which isn’t even part of the actual encapsulation. Would you have considered that Windsor-Essex County is prone to flooding and that a drainage system would be necessary? You might even need a sump pump. Missing things in your DIY now costs you boatloads of money down the road. Here’s another simple question: how workable is your crawlspace? Will you feel like a member of Cirque du Soleil during your install? Or will you need to pay for physio after this? It sounds silly, but our employees are glad they have benefits is all I’m saying.
Okay, But What About the Actual Encapsulation?
There are plenty of sites out there about encapsulation and how to do it, so let me sum it up for you: if you cut any corners, you’re wasting your time and money. If you use inferior products and materials, you’re wasting your time and money. Here’s a fun tip for you: any materials you buy yourself and then have a contractor use will not be protected under a warranty, whereas if you hired them from the start, it would be. If you do half the job and only put a plastic liner on the ground and call it a day, you’re wasting your time and money. The encapsulation process has produced quite a few swear words from our crew. If you found it easy, you’ve made a big mistake.
We get it. There are reasons you DIY things. You may not trust contracting companies out there to do a good job, you may not want to spend the money, you may not have the money, or you genuinely enjoy doing it. These are all valid reasons. We respect you for your ambition. If you think you can do a better job, then please do it. We’re not writing this to scare you (although some crawlspaces are the stuff of horror movies). We want you to be armed with knowledge and thoughts to help you feel confident in your decision. If you are ready to take on this beast yourself, we salute you. If not, you know who to call.