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Conditioned Crawlspace


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I'm about to condition my ~600 sq. ft crawlspace by removing existing batt insulation, spray foaming the rim joists, installing Thermax foam board on the foundation walls, and putting down 8 mil poly (half the floor is dirt, half concrete slab). I have gotten two quotes. One was $9,000 and one was $5,000. The $9k seems insanely high, and even the $5k seems just high.

When I had the house inspected before I bought it, my home inspector guessed it would cost about $2k to do this. (He recommended that I take the above steps.) So, I'm trying to figure out which one of us is smoking crack.. Does anyone even have a ballpark guess for this?

Thanks

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Setting access issues aside for a moment, why should it cost any more than the installation of a membrane roof?

If I wanted someone to install a TPO or PVC membrane over a 600 square foot roof, I'm guessing it would cost well under $5k. Why would this be different? The materials are cheaper, the details are less demanding, and, I'll bet, the labor is paid less per hour.

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It's a different business now. Gap toothed hillbillies working to unspecified details, not understanding cost, markup, margin, or anything else, made folks think stuff is cheap. Most contractors work like a lot of HI's......they charge what the other guy is charging without the slightest thought to what it costs to do business.

When I taught a class on this stuff, I'd implore the guys to not "give away their hands", and would focus on cost analysis and responsible pricing. Of course, they'd finish the class and immediately go out and give their hands away. Most of them are most likely now attending HI school.......

We now have franchised crawlspace finishing contractors that work to business plans, use good materials, detail it correctly (not easy), advertise, have real trucks, pay insurance, etc.

$5000-8000 is a very common range for an "average" crawlspace with not too complicated access and particulars.

On some jobs, roofing would be waaaaay easier than finishing out a crawlspace correctly.

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. . .

On some jobs, roofing would be waaaaay easier than finishing out a crawlspace correctly.

Perhaps on some jobs, but on most? I don't see how. A crawlspace might have tight access but it doesn't involve ladders or fall protection equipment. The crawlspace might have obstructions, posts, plumbing penetrations, etc, but a roof might have HVAC equipment, curbs, vents, etc. The crawlspace material is cheaper than the roofing material and you don't have to weld the seams, just use tape.

The last one of these that I saw done here was about 1,500 square feet of crawlspace. Average clearance was between 3' and 5'. From start to finish, the work took just under two days with a crew of 3. My guess is that the three guys were being paid something like $30 per hour. (at the most) The overall cost to the customer was $15,000. That seems like a heck of a markup.

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Thanks for the input. My crawlspace is about 3 and half feet high throughout. Easy access. Nothing out of the ordinary...there really isn't anything in it.

Anyway, since I've gotten wildly different estimates, something seems fishy. I know there are companies out there that sell "systems" for crawlspaces for $20k to $30k...some of which seem to be just poly taped to the walls and floors. I find it hard to believe what I am trying to do should cost more than $3k...but maybe that is wishful thinking. I'll have to get more estimates.

Thanks,

Jack

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There's no pit downtown where they trade crawlspace finishing futures. Folks are going to charge whatever it is they can get.

Everyone falls into the trap of imagining what it should cost to build stuff or fix shit. Few do the work, yet many are confident of what it should cost.

There's always some moron thrilled to give away their hands. Look long enough and you'll find them.

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I wouldn't say I was confident of what it should/would cost, which is why I was seeking opinions. I would say, though, that I would not expect to pay someone $200 per hour (after the cost of materials) for insulation work. These people aren't plumbers, after all. ;-)

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I'm not saying what it should cost; I'm just trying to explain pricing.

People see 3 guys on a job for 2 days and figure 24 man hours. On our jobs (not crawlspace finishing), for every hour on site there's about another 3/4 hour off site folks never see. Who's supervising the guys on site? Add a few more hours. Support staff? Add a few more hours.

Travel, materials acquisition, office clerical, insurance, payroll related expenses, capitalization of tools & equipment, etC., etc., .........

It adds up.

Maybe they're ripping you off, maybe they're just trying to function like a business.

Few try to function like a real business because they don't know how, so it makes the folks that are seem out of line.

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