The Benefits of a Crawl Space Vapor Barrier
Of all the things you can do to maintain a healthy crawl space, a high-quality crawl space vapor barrier could be one of the most important ones.
A vapor barrier is a plastic liner placed on the crawl space floor, and sometimes the walls, that blocks outside moisture from entering the crawl space. Our vapor barrier measures up to 20 mil, which provides even more reinforcement to your crawlspace.
Healthy crawl spaces need vapor barriers to make sure they function appropriately. With a crawl space vapor barrier, you’ll avoid excess water vapor, help rebuff pests, and generally maintain your crawl space’s health more effectively. Here’s a better rundown of what a vapor barrier could do to maintain your crawl space’s health.
What Can a Crawl Space Vapor Barrier Do for Your Home?
It’s extremely important to put a lot of time, effort, and energy into choosing the best crawl space vapor barrier. However, many homeowners don’t know why. Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of a crawl space vapor barrier.
- Reduce Indoor Moisture
When you have high levels of indoor moisture, it’s typically because of crawl space concerns. Remember, your home shares up to 50% of its air with the crawl space. When you have problems with the health of your crawl space, you’ll almost invariably also have problems with the health of your home, which is always a problem.
This means if you don’t have a well-functioning crawl space vapor barrier, causing your crawl space to manifest serious water vapor concerns, you may also end up with high levels of indoor moisture throughout the rest of your home. Adding a crawl space vapor barrier will help you avoid those problems, making it a great option for fixing those home concerns.
- Manage Allergies and Asthma
One of the biggest issues with crawl space moisture is that it can end up gathering mold and mildew in the crawl space. When that mold and mildew rise up into the rest of the home from the crawl space, it often ends up causing serious issues for any members of your family who have allergies and asthma concerns.
Although it’s mostly people who already have allergies and asthma who are at the highest risk for this problem, crawl space vapor barriers are great for people who don’t seem to have allergies and asthma as well. You might have an allergic reaction to dust, mold, mildew, and more and not even know it, which is a great reason to fix the underlying problem.
- Avoid Mold, Mildew, and Wood Rot
Although allergies and asthma can become more upsetting when you have mold and mildew, it’s not the only reason you want to avoid high levels of crawl space moisture. It’s also because of the issues you might otherwise have with your structure. Mold, mildew, and wood rot are all things that can very seriously impact your crawl space’s structural integrity.
Most of the time, your crawl space needs a relative humidity of around 70% or higher to maintain the growth of mold, mildew, and wood rot. However, in certain situations, these organisms may even grow at a lower humidity percentage. With a crawl space vapor barrier, you’ll be able to remove issues you’re having with excess crawl space water vapor, making it less likely that you’ll develop fungus and other growths.
Why Might You Need a High-Quality Crawl Space Vapor Barrier?
There are many things that might indicate the fact that a vapor barrier is important for your crawl space. If you’re having any of these things in your crawl space or home, you should consider adding one.
- Unencapsulated Crawl Space
Do you currently have an unencapsulated crawl space? If you do, you need a crawl space vapor barrier. Unfortunately, if your crawl space doesn’t have encapsulation in place right now, you’re going to have generalized crawl space problems.
With an unencapsulated crawl space, you have no way of knowing whether or not your crawl space is able to manage certain problems you might have surrounding it. That can include issues with water vapor, dirt, pests, and other general concerns. An unencapsulated crawl space needs a crawl space vapor barrier, and a quality one at that.
- Poor-Quality Crawl Space Vapor Barriers
Maybe you already have a crawl space vapor barrier, but it’s not very high-quality. For example, you might have one that’s only 6-mil or 12-mil in thickness. These may have been vapor barrier thicknesses that someone told you were enough, but they’re not going to be enough to keep your crawl space safe and secure.
The best thing you can do for your crawl space is make sure you have a crawl space vapor barrier that’s as high-quality as possible. In most cases, that means a 20-mil crawl space vapor barrier. If your vapor barrier currently has tears, allows moisture inside, or otherwise doesn’t work very well, you need to replace it.
- Dirt Crawl Space
A dirt crawl space is one of the most significant signs that you need a crawl space vapor barrier. If you currently have a dirt crawl space, you should know that it’s going to cause problems with dust, mold, water vapor, and other similar concerns common among crawl spaces with dirt floors.
Unfortunately, many homes do have dirt crawl spaces because they’re cheaper and easier for the initial construction workers to create. If your home has a dirt crawl space, you need to make sure you’ve put all your effort into avoiding the problems that typically arise from dirt crawl spaces, which may include all manner of concerns. A crawl space vapor barrier is the first step toward a healthier crawl space.
FAQs About Crawl Space Vapor Barriers
Many homeowners wonder why dirt crawl spaces exist in the first place if they’re not good for the home they’re in. The unfortunate truth is that dirt crawl spaces are easier to build and cheaper to maintain than other types of crawl spaces. If a building company can build a dirt crawl space instead of a finished crawl space, they probably will because it makes more financial sense for them.
There are many different crawl space vapor barrier thicknesses out there. Most building codes mandate a 6-mil crawl space vapor barrier, but this is the absolute minimum, and you should never utilize a 6-mil barrier. Many companies offer a 12-mil crawl space vapor barrier, but even at this thickness, you can still end up with many problems. Other local crawl space repair experts only use a 20-mil crawl space vapor barrier to make sure your crawl space stays as dry as possible.
If you have any openings for water vapor, pests, and other problems in your crawl space, a crawl space vapor barrier is absolutely necessary. It can be tempting to wonder whether a crawl space vapor barrier is truly necessary — after all, it’s an addition to the crawl space, right? However, you should think of necessity as being something that dictates the benefits of your crawl space. If a fix is necessary for your crawl space to be extremely healthy, you should think of it as necessary even if it’s not necessary for the crawl space to function.
The installation process of a vapor barrier is more complicated than you might think. As you may have gathered from the fact that vapor barriers can have so many problems, it’s extremely important that you only allow an expert to install your crawl space vapor barrier. Talk to a crawl space repair expert in your area today to learn more about your crawl space options and find out how a crawl space vapor barrier could work well to maintain your home’s health and safety.
Install a Crawl Space Vapor Barrier in Your Crawl Space with an Expert’s Help
As you can see, a crawl space vapor barrier is important, but it’s unfortunately easy to mess up the installation process. If you want to make sure that your home has as much protection as possible, you need to make sure you have the highest quality crawl space vapor barrier available with a high-quality installation.
The best way to do both of these things is to manage your crawl space in a completely different way with a Groundworks crawl space repair expert’s help. If you’re having crawl space problems, talk to an experienced professional. You may be able to install a brand-new crawl space vapor barrier, fix other elements of your crawl space, and otherwise maintain your crawl space in the best way.