Every day, about 14,000 people in the United States suffer some kind of water damage. In fact, about 98% of basements around the country will experience water damage one or more times.
On the other hand, since water damage is so common, experts have devised a number of ways to fight it. One of the most common tools for dealing with potential water damage is a crawl space vapor barrier.
However, not everyone knows much about these vapor barriers, how they work, and why they can be such a valuable addition to a home. Understanding more about vapor barriers can help you assess if installing one in your crawl space might be the right choice for you.
Read on to learn all about crawl space vapor barriers and how they work!
What Is a Vapor Barrier?
Vapor barriers are made out of thick plastic. They are long sheets that run all up and down your crawl space to create a waterproof barrier. You can choose between a variety of vapor barrier thicknesses depending on how much stress you think your vapor barrier is likely to encounter.
What Is a Vapor Barrier in Crawl Space Areas For?
So why might it be important to protect your crawl space from moisture? In the long run, even small amounts of moisture can lead to a long list of problems.
A wet crawl space can cause your wood structures to rot, weakening the structural integrity of your home. This can also create a perfect environment for bacteria and other organisms to grow in. Mold and mildew will often start growing in crawl spaces if they can find plenty of moisture there.
However, once you have mold or mildew in your crawl space, there is a high chance it will spread to the rest of your home.
On the other hand, having too much moisture in your crawl space can also damage any metallic structures nearby. Keeping moisture out of your crawl space is a powerful way to prevent premature rusting and wear and tear.
How Do I Know if I Need to Protect My Crawl Space?
On the other hand, some crawl spaces do not struggle much with moisture problems. So how can you know if your crawl space needs a vapor barrier?
In most cases, crawl spaces with dirt floors will end up attracting excess moisture. However, if you want to double-check, you can always use a humidity detector to see how moist your crawl space area is. If it is more humid than the rest of your home, then you may need a vapor barrier on your side.
Where Does Water in Crawl Spaces Come From?
But why is it so common for crawl spaces to have higher humidity than the rest of a home? In most cases, this comes from being in contact with bare soil. Any water that seeps into your soil will have a chance to evaporate into your crawl space air after enough time.
In other cases, your crawl space will develop more humidity due to temperature fluctuations. If it gets cold at night, any humidity around your crawl space might condense into solid drops of water. Once this moisture is removed from the air, even more moisture from your soil will tend to evaporate into it.
What Happens During Vapor Barrier Installation?
So what does the crawl space vapor barrier installation process look like? Before your barrier can go down, your crawl space will need to be as smooth as possible. Your vapor barrier professional will also do any cleaning necessary to prepare for your vapor barrier.
This is necessary because any irregularities in your vapor barrier can diminish its effectiveness.
Once this is complete, your vapor barrier professional will measure your crawl space and figure out how to handle any shapes that might stick out into it.
Some people try to manage this part of the vapor barrier installation process on their own. However, without the right experience and training, some people just end up laying vapor barriers over the top of anything that sticks out into the crawl space area. Although this might seem like it works in the short term, it may mean that you will need a replacement vapor barrier much faster than you otherwise would.
Your vapor barrier professional will then lay down a plastic sheet as snugly to your crawl space surfaces as they can. Then, they will make sure that it stays in place by using special staples and other tools. This part of the process can be tricky because these tools need to hold your vapor barrier in place without affecting its waterproof seal.
What Are the Benefits of a Crawl Space Vapor Barrier?
Once all of this is complete, you will enjoy all of the benefits that come with a vapor barrier. For one thing, your crawl space will develop much less damp air. As a result, your vapor barrier will help you prevent mold and mildew as well as the development of other microorganisms.
That means that you may enjoy better indoor air quality as well. Anyone with respiratory sensitivities who visits your home will be less likely to be irritated by mold spores or other contaminants floating in your air.
Plus, the wood and metal structures of your home will be safe from rot and rust. That can help you cut down on repair costs and improve your home’s value.
In most cases, your vapor barrier will provide you with pristine protection for many years while requiring very little maintenance.
Understand the Benefits of a Crawl Space Vapor Barrier
We hope you now understand why installing a crawl space vapor barrier in your home might be so valuable. Depending on your situation, a quality vapor barrier might be the perfect way for you to protect your home and even save money in the long run.
To learn more about how you can find the right crawl space vapor barrier services for your home needs, contact us at Maryland Mold and Waterproofing!