Cost Range for Crawlspace Foundations
The cost range for an installed crawlspace is $8,400 – $26,500 because they vary significantly in size, complexity and features. Average price is around $15,350, or $13.65 per square foot. Crawlspace cost includes all materials and labor for a completed crawlspace installed by a concrete or block foundation contractor.
Specific cost factors are discussed in detail later on this page of Costimates to allow you to narrow your crawlspace estimate.
The process of installing a crawlspace is straightforward: The crawlspace parameters are marked, and soils are removed to a depth of at least 30”, unless the ground is sloping and will remain bare. The walls are either framed and poured or marked and built with cinder blocks. Both types require footings. A slab floor is optional, but most crawls include them when possible. Your options, as with concrete driveways, are a 4” or 6” slab.
Once home construction begins, piers and posts are installed to support load-bearing beams.
Average Cost Ranges
Overview of Crawlspace Foundation Installation
A crawlspace foundation, aka a crawl space, is a popular choice when space for storage or mechanical equipment is desired but the budget or ground conditions won’t allow for a full basement.
Your options include a crawlspace with or without a poured slab floor. When the ground is level and can be easily excavated, a slab floor in the crawlspace may be included. In rare locations where shallow or exposed bedrock prohibits excavation, a floor isn’t possible, though encapsulation may be possible as well.
Your other decision is whether to choose poured walls or block walls. In most cases, poured walls are more affordable since less labor is involved. The exception is where access to the property is difficult and hauling in blocks is easier than reaching the foundation location with a cement truck. Block is also a better choice for a DIY crawlspace, though few homeowners have the skill or time to install their own crawlspace.
Cost is significantly higher than a slab foundation due to the addition of the walls and piers, especially when a slab floor is poured, which is the most common option.
Is your ground suitable for a crawlspace? The perc test for your property could indicate whether a crawlspace or full basement is possible or whether your only option is a slab foundation. Further testing might be required. In addition, some surveys produced after the perc test is completed show locations on the property suitable for home building.
Crawl Space Cost Factors
With a crawlspace cost range per square foot of $10.50 – $18.75, these factors will allow you to better know what to expect when you get estimates.
Crawlspace Size – Small crawlspaces cost more per square foot than large ones because contractors need to cover their transportation time and cost regardless of crawlspace size.
Depth of Crawlspace – Crawlspace minimum depth is 18” in most locations, especially if your HVAC and/or plumbing and mechanical utilities are installed in the area. If the crawlspace is block, that’s two courses of block. The deepest are around 45” (5 block) or 48” if poured. Depths of 24” to 36” are most common. If your gas furnace is installed in a crawl space, having as much room to work is important when the time comes for service, repairs or replacement, so plan for utilities and mechanical carefully.
Whether a Floor is Poured – Adding a slab floor costs $3-$6 per square foot in addition to the excavation, labor and other materials.
Site Conditions – Factors that can push cost toward the high end of the range include hard or rocky soil, trees that impede access and wet conditions that require a concrete pump to be used when trucks can’t get close to the excavated site.
Excavation and Base Materials – Ideally, the footings for any foundation should rest on stable soils. The amount of soil that must be removed to reach stable soils affects how much material must be installed beneath the floor of the crawlspace.
Number of Corners – Additional corners beyond 4 increase installation time and cost.
Concrete Factors – The specific concrete mix affects strength and cost. If antifreeze must be added due to the threat of freezing temperature, cost goes up slightly.
Sump Pump Cost – Where the water table is high and/or water-retaining clay soils are present, the crawlspace should be fitted with a sump crock and sump pump. In these cases, pea stone and drain tile are installed around the perimeter of the foundation to drain away excess water.
Professional Fees – Where local codes are restrictions are tight, and foundation might have to be designed by an architect or engineer.
Permit Fees – Crawlspaces require a permit. Size of the crawlspace and your local fee schedule impact cost.
Crawlspace Insulation – The cost range on this page doesn’t cover spray foam insulation cost, popular in crawlspaces, standard crawlspace insulation or crawl space encapsulation that nearly eliminates drafts and mold in the space.
Crawlspace Installation Services and Costs
As noted in our Slab Foundation Costimate, material costs, not including labor costs, are:
- $35 – $55 per Cubic Yard | Pea Stone or Gravel
- $110 – $160 per Cubic Yard | Concrete
- $0.12 – $0.20 per Square Foot | Vapor Barrier
- $0.55 – $0.70 per Square Foot | Steel Rebar or Mesh Reinforcement
Note that one cubic yard of pea stone, gravel or concrete covers 108 square feet to a depth of 2”, 81 square feet to a depth of 4” and 54 square feet to a depth of 6”.
Crawlspace Size and Cost
This sample crawlspace cost section should assist you in estimating more precisely what your completed crawlspace price might be.
We price them by size and complexity factors.
Easy: Easy access, good site conditions, 4-6 corners. Example: A flat or nearly flat small lot near the road with dry conditions. May or may not have a slab floor.
Average: Up to 8 corners using higher strength concrete mix, minor site challenges such as a few trees or moderate slope. 4” slab floor. Example: Large suburban lot or a rural property with the building site 100+ feet from the road. Damp conditions and/or possible freezing temperatures.
Difficult: 6 or more corners, 6” or high-strength slab floor. Poor site conditions. Difficult access or concrete pump required. Example: A sloped lot possibly treed or with wet soils impeding access or freezing conditions.
Let’s apply these general guidelines to crawlspaces of popular size. Keep in mind that the deeper crawlspaces and those with slab floors have price tags toward the upper end of the spectrum.
800 Square Feet – $12.15 – $18.75/square foot
- Easy: $9,720 – $11,350
- Average: $11,100 – $13,600
- Difficult: $12,250 – $15,000
1,200 Square Feet Foundation – $11.50 – $18.25/square foot
- Easy: $14,375 – $16,800
- Average: $16,250 – $18,600
- Difficult: $18,250 – $21,900
1,600 Square Feet Foundation – $11.00 – $17.85/square foot
- Easy: $17,600 – $23,200
- Average: $21,900 – $25,350
- Difficult: $24,700 – $28,560
2,200 Square Feet Foundation – $10.50 – $17.50/square foot
- Easy: $23,100 – $29,000
- Average: $27,800 – $34,350
- Difficult: $31,900 – $38,500
Permits, Inspection, and Labor Costs
Permits and Inspection
- $200 – $750 | All foundations require a permit. The size of the foundation is the main factor in determining the fee. The permit includes an inspection after footings are poured and when the crawlspace is complete.
Foundations are labor-intensive projects whether the task is hand-digging a sump crock, putting up and taking down wall frames or laying block.
Fixr states that labor can run as high as $17,000 on large crawlspaces – and while that estimate is higher than average, it is true that labor accounts for more than 60% of total job cost.
Consider these costs, and you can see where your money goes.
- Excavation | $100 – $200 per hour. If the contractor owns the excavator and the operator is an employee, cost is lower than if an excavation subcontractor is hired. Crawlspace foundations require 6-10 hours when transportation to and from the site, unloading and loading plus digging the site are considered.
- Base Materials Delivery | $35 – $55 per cubic yard. Cost is affected by the specific material used and the distance from the supplier to the site. A 1,600 square foot foundation requires up to 30 cubic yards of gravel or pea stone to form the base for a slab floor. Cost is up to $1,650.
- Vapor Barrier Installed | $0.25 – $0.50 per square foot. Water transfers up through concrete into a crawlspace, so barrier is used in all but the most arid regions.
- Concrete Delivery | $110 – $160 per cubic yard. The specific concrete mix and the distance from the supplier to the site affect cost. A 1,600 square foot concrete floor that is 4” thick requires 20 cubic yards of concrete at a cost up to $3,200.
- Wages | $20 – $45+ per hour. Concrete industry laborers make $20+ per hour. Skilled tradesman like the foreman or a concrete finisher earn as much as $50 per hour.
Time Required for Crawlspace Construction
Here is a typical schedule – if there is such a thing in an industry that is dependent on weather and potential scheduling conflicts.
In northern climates, foundation work might be impossible during winter or into the spring when road restrictions prevent heavy equipment trucks from traveling many surface roads until the ground is completely free of frost.
Note – There are built-in work stoppages when using poured cement. Footings, a poured wall and a poured slab all require several days to harden before the next phase is begun.
- Up to 1 Day | Site Excavation
- Half Day | Pouring Footings (plus several days to allow them to harden)
- 1-2 Days | Assembling Wall Forms (Poured Foundations)
- 1-3 Hours | Pouring and Spreading Base Materials & Installing Vapor Barrier (Crawlspaces with floors only)
- Up to a Half Day | Pour Concrete into Forms and Finish the Tops (Poured foundations – Forms removed in 3-7 days)
- 2-5 Days | Lay Block (Block foundations only)
- Up to 1 Day | Pour and Finish Concrete Slab (If part of the project)
Most crawlspaces are concrete and part of new home construction. There are many similar projects, mostly outdoor projects, that employ concrete as part of the process.
Are You a Foundation or Crawlspace Company?
If so, head over to our Costimates Pro’s page, and help us make this page better and more accurate for both our visitors and your future customers.
DIY or Hire a Pro
It’s a rare homeowner that can successfully complete a crawlspace. It takes some engineering skill, management ability and a lot of very hard work.
Your potential savings on labor costs will be partially offset by equipment rental costs (excavator, compactor, skid steer or loader, wall forms, an array of tools) and paying retail prices for materials rather than the wholesale prices contractors pay.
Worst case scenario is not properly compacting the soils beneath the walls or slab and having them settle or sink in the years ahead leading to very costly repairs.
So, our bottom line is that it makes sense to hire a foundation contractor for this vital home construction project.
If you’ve installed your own crawlspace, we’d be happy to hear how the job went and the results you achieved.
Compare Costs from Leading Resources
- HomeAdvisor: $8,000 - $21,000, Total Cost of Installed Crawlspace
- Fixr: $10,000 - $25,000, Total Cost
- Basement Guides: $10,300 - $19,400, Total Cost
- Angi: $7,000 - $21,000, Total Cost
- Kukun: Average $17,500, Total Cost
Common Questions and Answers
What does a crawlspace cost?
The cost range is $8,400 - $26,500, or $10.50 - $18.75/Square Foot
Is a crawl space cheaper than a basement?
Yes. Crawlspaces cost roughly half to two-thirds the cost of a basement based on the sizes you're considering.
Is crawl space encapsulation worth the cost?
If you live in a cold, wet climate, then yes, encapsulation can reduce energy cost and eliminate the threat of mold and mildew.
How long does a crawlspace last?
Indefinitely. When properly installed including thorough compaction of the soils, a crawl space should last 75 to 100 or more years.
How much does it cost to put plastic in a crawl space?
Around $1,800 to $3,300 based on crawlspace size, features and complexity.