Homeowners rarely pay much attention to what’s beneath them whenever they tour a home. Their focus is on what they can see inside the house. But the crawl space is one of the most critical areas of the home.

They give unrestricted access to plumbing, wiring, insulation, and ductwork, among others. However, crawl spaces are prone to moisture problems due to moisture rising from the ground. That’s when vapor barriers become lifesavers in such cases.

In this post, we elaborate on the role of vapor barriers in your crawl space and explain why you need them.

What is a Vapor Barrier?

A vapor barrier is a plastic sheet that stops moisture from affecting the house above it. The vapor barrier is laid down in the crawl space, thus preventing water from evaporating or condensing.

Do You Need a Vapor Barrier in Your Crawl Space?

If you live in wet areas or where you get consistent rainy days, a vapor barrier should be your number one concern. However, if you live in drier areas, you might wonder if the vapor barriers are necessary for your crawl space.

Some studies have revealed that houses with a vapor barrier save up to 15% on energy bills. What does this tell you? It simply means that in homes with a vapor barrier, there is an excellent reduction in moisture getting into the house. This also means you will need less energy to control your home’s temperature.

So, whether you live in drier or wetter regions, a vapor barrier is essential if your house has a crawl space.

Prevent Problems Caused By Moisture

The moisture in your crawl space can pose a considerable risk to the health of your loved ones and your home. First, your home can be infested by termites because of the moisture in your crawl space. According to the Structural Pest Control Board, termite infestations will likely start in the crawl space area. The humidity and moisture in the crawl space are perfect conditions for termites to thrive.

Additionally, mold loves moist environments and can do well in your unsealed crawl space, causing health issues, especially for people with high sensitivity to mold.

The mold can also form on almost anything, including furniture, carpet, and drywall. When there’s too much moisture, the wood in your home can split or even rot. You can also experience paint peeling because of excessive moisture.

One of the best ways to prevent these problems is by completely sealing your crawl space. A vapor barrier covers the walls, floor, and other crawl space areas.

Types of Vapor Barriers

There may be many types of vapor barriers, but the most common ones are the five mentioned below:

  • String-reinforced polyethylene vapor barriers.
  • Unreinforced polyethylene vapor barriers.
  • Hybrid woven crawl space liners.
  • Plasticized aluminum liners.
  • Coated woven crawl space liners.

The most common type of vapor barrier is the string-reinforced polyethylene vapor barrier. It is strong, durable, and can withstand harsh weather in the crawl space. While the unreinforced polyethylene vapor barrier is not as durable, it’s also commonly used for crawl spaces.

Hybrid woven crawl space liners, on the other hand, are two times more durable than the ones mentioned above. The plasticized aluminum liners and the coated woven liners are also types of vapor barriers, but are the least durable.

Maintain or Inspect Your Vapor Barrier

No matter how strong and durable your vapor barrier is, you must regularly inspect it to maintain it. Like every part of your house that needs maintenance, the vapor barrier also needs consistent inspection and maintenance.

Regular inspection can help address potential moisture sources before they result in a bigger issue.

Contact a Crawl Space Vapor Barrier Professional

Moisture should not become a threat to your entire home. Take action today and contact a crawl space professional. At Crawlspace Doctor, we install, inspect, and help maintain your crawl space vapor barrier.