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A Vapor Barrier for Your Crawlspace

By November 29, 2016Vapor

There is never anything good that stems from a moist crawlspace. Moist crawlspaces can lead to mold, dust mites, various critters, and structural damage. Once mold contaminates your basement, it can become a health hazard and also damage your property value. Moisture in crawl spaces can lead to mold, fungi and insects that can eat away at wood framing.

Moist crawlspaces attract insects and rodents such as: termites, spiders, mice, rats and snakes. It is evident that this is a food chain effect. These critters live and die in your crawlspace. We have the power to stop the moisture from entering our homes when we target the source of the moisture.

How Moisture Enters

Moisture can enter your home in many different places: under the footing, between the footing and the walls, right though block walls, through cracks in poured walls and air vents. Once the moisture is in your crawlspace, it simply lies there in puddles and evaporates into the house. The most common way for moisture to enter your crawlspace is through the dirt floor of your crawlspace– since you simply cannot dry the earth. Thus there seems to be endless stream of water vapor released into your crawlspace.

Another way water can enter a crawlspace is through mandatory crawlspace vents. These vents let hot, wet or cool air in but they can also let in water.

Installing a vapor barrier is the key to solving your crawlspace’s moisture problem. This will seal your crawlspace off from the earth and the outside air, ridding it of moisture and dampness.

Installing a Vapor Barrier

Vapor barriers are designed to keep moisture out by preventing contact with the earth and outside air.

Many people try to fix the permanent moisture problem with a temporary solution, such as either adding a concrete floor over the dirt crawl space or laying down a 6-mil plastic sheet over the dirt. Neither of these will last. The plastic sheet rips easily when someone needs to work in the crawlspace. This then causes moisture to seep back into the crawlspace.

The concrete will solve some of your problems, but not all of them. It will allow you to use your crawlspace as a storage space and can withstand people working in the space. However, concrete is porous and water can seep through the material.

Homeowners are encouraged to invest in a crawlspace vapor barrier system that involves 20-min 7-ply sandwich of high and low-density polyethylene with polyester-cord reinforcement. This is fastened to the dirt floor and also epoxied to the walls. It is tear proof for service people to crawl on and it is also safe to be used for storage– unlike normal 6-mil plastic.

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