What is a Vapor Barrier?
A vapor barrier is a thin layer of impermeable material, typically polyethylene sheeting, included in building construction to prevent moisture from damaging the fabric of the building.
Vapor barriers are a must for protecting your home against the damaging effects of moisture, and keep your crawl space dry. This will prevent the unwanted consequences of moisture accumulation, such as smells, dry rot, and mold from taking hold and potentially undermining the integrity of your foundation.
How Does A Vapor Barrier Work?
A vapor barrier, also known as a moisture barrier, prevents water from traveling up from the soil, and from there onto the walls or ceilings of the crawl space. The barrier keeps moisture from reaching the walls, and it also helps water drain into the soil, so there is not a layer of water trapped in the crawl space.
Why Do I Need One?
Moisture barriers are the first step in controlling the potential humidity in your home. Humidity left unchecked can wreak havoc by breaking down the structural integrity of the wood in your foundation. This first starts as rot and mold, but, can quickly escalate to more serious concerns, and equivalent counter-measures, if left unchecked. The sheets of plastic overlap each other, but are not completely sealed to allow for water drainage.
Consequences of Not Sealing Your Crawl Space
Poor Air Quality
Because air rises, having a clean and dry crawl space is going to go a long ways in providing a clean air environment for your home. Crawl spaces that have mold and mildew negatively impact air quality, leading to an unhealthy increase in allergens and toxic airborne particles. This can cause sinus reactions in house members and worsen to long-term health complications. It is important to have clean air!
Warping Due to Moisture
Most crawl spaces have a floor of dirt or soil, which means it is susceptible to normal groundwater and flooding. Prolonged exposure to moisture can cause warping of your subfloor and even the floor itself. Even support beams can deteriorate with excessive moisture, allowing areas of your floor to sag or become unstable.
Burst and Frozen Pipes
In the winter, excessive condensation in the crawl space can cause pipes or ducts to freeze. Frozen pipes are a costly fix, not to mention that they can burst, and possibly damage other parts of the building.
Inserts and Critters
Moisture and wood rot attracts insects. Soft wooden beams become an attractive home for these critters. Once insects and bugs have started to burrow in your wood, rodents and other predators are often soon behind. Crawl spaces without this essential vapor barrier creates an open invitation for bugs to take up residence in your foundation and possibly your floor boards as well. Once they are there, it can be difficult, and unpleasant, to remove them. Not to mention, you will have to deal with their byproducts, feces and noises, for the duration of their stay.
Atticare specializes in vapor barrier installation and attic care. You invested so much in purchasing your home, extend the same courtesy to protecting it.
Contact our office today to schedule a free estimate.