Does Your Crawl Space Need a Vapor Barrier?

If you live in a home that has a crawl space instead of a basement, and you don’t have a vapor barrier, then it might be time that you consider some important changes. Your home’s crawl space is a dark and damp area that can have an excess of moisture. As water evaporates, it rises up through your house. Too much moisture coming into (and up from) your crawl space can lead to some serious problems.

Let’s explore these potential problems and also what to do about them.

Mold

One of the biggest problems with excess moisture is that it can create a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can become serious concerns. Leaving it unmitigated can cause many health problems including allergies attacks, respiratory problems, eye and skin irritations, coughing, and wheezing. However, simply removing mold isn’t enough as it will eventually come back if you haven’t taken any steps to lessen the dampness in the air.

Rust & Corrosion

Crawl spaces aren’t simply empty spaces beneath homes; Some have HVAC equipment like ductwork or even plumbing and electrical components in them, all of which can become rusted and corroded by too much moisture in the air.

Wood Rot

Another major concern is moisture leading to wood rot. Rotted wood within your joists can lead to structural damage—which can be costly to repair.

Vapor Barrier: A Solution to Crawl Space Moisture—and More

A vapor barrier can solve your crawl space moisture woes. A vapor barrier is a sheet of plastic securely placed over the damp soil. The thicker the plastic, the more durable it will be. This will keep your crawl space dry which will, in turn, will help you to have a drier house. As a result, you can prevent wood rot, rust, and corrosion.

Sealing your crawl space with a vapor barrier will also help keep hazardous fumes from mold at bay. A vapor barrier in the crawl space can even offer protection from external pollutants. Most of the radon gas that can wind up in a home comes from soil underneath the home’s foundation. The colorless, odorless, radioactive gas can enter a house through a vented crawl space with no vapor barrier.

But if you’ve had your home tested and you’ve found out you have a problem with radon, a good vapor barrier in your crawl space can be used in conjunction with pipes and fans to suck the radon out of your crawl space and outside where it can’t do you any harm.

Installing a Vapor Barrier Boosts Home Value

It will come as no surprise that a mold infestation or a major problem with wood rot is going to leave you with costly repair work—and negatively impact the value of your home. But on the flipside, installing a vapor barrier is going to boost your home’s value. By taking the steps to protect your home against future moisture problems, it automatically becomes more valuable and attractive to prospective buyers when the time comes to sell your house.