One of the major battles of a crawl space is to control the moisture in the area. This can come in the form of groundwater, rainwater that finds a way in, or humidity. The combination of these factors can create harsh air quality that eventually leaks into your home.
We know we can’t stop water. Rain is going to come and it’s going to soak into the ground. This is why we have instituted measures to fortify our crawl spaces against the existence of water. This could include installing sump pumps, installing airtight crawl space doors, and putting down a vapor barrier.
Some of these measures might be self-explanatory, but many people don’t realize what a vapor barrier is and what it does to protect your crawl space. We thought we’d clear up some of the confusion so you can make a more informed decision regarding your own crawl space.
Let’s look into what a vapor barrier is and how it can help your crawl space and home.
Vapor Barriers: Explained
A crawl space vapor barrier is basically exactly what it sounds like — a material is put in place to prevent moisture from entering the crawl space.
The material used for this purpose will differ depending on the company installing the material as well as your personal needs in your crawl space.
On one end of the spectrum, the vapor barrier might not be anything more than a plastic sheet that is spread throughout the entirety of the crawl space. These thin sheets will stop the flow of water evaporating from the ground into the air of the crawl space.
However, these thinner and less expensive vapor barriers are not often secured. This means there are still folds and holes that allow moisture to enter the atmosphere within your crawl space, where it can wreak havoc.
Modern vapor barriers take the whole system into account. The goal is to disallow the entrance of moisture, and remove any moisture that might get in anyway. The vapor barriers are made of a thicker material and are painstakingly installed to cover every potential entrypoint for moisture.
These barriers are then secured and sealed so moisture won’t have any weak points to exploit and gain entrance.
Benefits of a Vapor Barrier
The entire goal of a vapor barrier is to reduce or eliminate the amount of moisture in a crawl space. And while that might sound simple, there are quite a few benefits to be gained from this.
First, air quality is greatly improved when the atmosphere can be controlled in your crawl space. And while many people don’t spend much time in their crawl space, this actually has a noticeable effect on the areas inside the home. Up to 40% of the air in your home comes from the crawl space, so it’s best to make sure your crawl space is in good shape.
Moisture in the atmosphere creates humidity, which can lead to mold and fungus growth. This can negatively impact the air quality, but it can also have negative impacts on the structure of the home itself. The wood underneath the home can become compromised and eventually rot.
A vapor barrier acts as another line of defense against the outside elements. This can be noticed in the home when the floors are less cold in the winter, and the crawl space doesn’t contribute to the heat in the home in the summer.
Attention to detail in your crawl space will make it a much cleaner area. Pests like it much more when the crawl space falls into disrepair. Installation of a vapor barrier cleans out many areas that mice, cockroaches, and spiders use to make their homes. A clean crawl space deprives pests of the factors they need to live comfortably so they are less likely to take up residence.
Do I Need a Vapor Barrier?
Unprotected crawl spaces are a liability anywhere. However, there are certain parts of the country that are at higher risk of damage from humidity. If you live in an area that has mild winters and humid summers, you most likely need to take special care of your crawl space.
Crawlspace Doctor services a variety of locations throughout the southern United States. Anybody in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee, or Indiana can give Crawlspace Doctor a call to answer any questions or receive a quote on securing your crawl space.
The quality of your crawl space directly impacts the quality of your home as a whole. Installing a vapor barrier and other protecting measures ensures your crawl space stays healthy for a long time to come.