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vapor barriers used in basement waterproofing

Basement Vapor Barriers

Vapor barriers are used in crawl space encapsulations, but can they be used elsewhere throughout your home?

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vapor barriers used in basement waterproofing

If you live in the Charlottesville, VA, or Lynchburg, VA, areas, you know how unforgiving the rainy season can be. You don’t have to spend the wet summer months bailing out your basement, though. Instead, why not consider installing a vapor barrier in your basement? 

What Is A Vapor Barrier? 

Vapor barriers are large, plastic-like sheets that actively stand between your home and the outdoors. These barriers are most frequently installed in crawl spaces and are dense enough to keep both water and gas out of your home. If water does happen to make it through the walls of your home, either via a crack or in a gaseous form, your vapor barrier will direct it down to your interior drainage system like BasementGutter™

When Do You Need A Vapor Barrier? 

While you should always consider waterproofing a new home’s basement, there may be times when certain measures are more necessary than others. Whether you’ve just bought a new home or built one from the ground up, you’ll want to keep an eye out for: 

  • Inconsistent temperatures in your basement 
  • Increasing electric or heat bills 
  • Signs of basement seepage 
  • Mildew or mold 
  • Excessive moisture or high humidity throughout your home 
  • Standing water 

If you find yourself frequently dealing with any of the above, you’ll want to reach out to one of the professional foundation and basement repair professionals in your area. These professionals can inspect your home and let you know whether or not a vapor barrier will help you reclaim your basement. 

Can You Use A Vapor Barrier Outside of Your Crawl Space? 

As mentioned, vapor barriers are most frequently installed in crawl spaces. You can, however, install a vapor barrier in your basement. In many cases, the white plastic-like material can spruce up your basement’s appearance. These sheets can cover previously-water damaged materials or any cement blocks that you’d rather not look at. 

Their real practicality, however, is in their ability to waterproof your basement. Vapor barriers that are 20-mil plastic, for example, will not only protect your basement walls from leaks, but they’ll also drive off mold and prevent mildew growth. Pair a vapor barrier with an interior drainage system, and water damage will be a thing of the past. 

The amount of time it takes to install a vapor barrier in your basement will vary based on the size of your home. Most installations, however, take less than a day to complete. You’ll also be able to enjoy the benefits of your vapor barrier for years to come, as most are tear-proof. 

Vapor Barrier Maintenance 

Just because a vapor barrier is tear-proof doesn’t mean that it’s impenetrable, though. If you live in an area that sees frequent, heavy rain, or if your home’s endured significant structural damage, your vapor barrier may wear out sooner rather than later. 

As such, it’s important to inspect your vapor barrier at least once a year and conduct basic, at-home maintenance. You’ll want to look your vapor barrier over for rips or tears, especially near the edges. It’s also important to watch for damp spots or unexpected water damage. 

If your vapor barrier is on the older side, it’s possible that the material may have started to wear out, leading to a higher risk of moisture in your home. 

Finally, be sure that your vapor barrier is still safely secured to your basement walls. If your barrier starts to slip, then water can more readily make its way into your home. 

Vapor Barriers Versus Waterproof Insulation 

When you’re looking to protect your basement from water damage, you’ll be exposed to a number of potential solutions. Besides vapor barriers, the professional foundation and basement repair professionals working out of the Charlottesville or Lynchburg area may recommend waterproof insulation. This insulation typically comes with thermal properties. As such, it will help you maintain the temperature in your home while also driving off any moisture that may damage your structural supports. Vapor barriers, comparatively, provide minimal insulation. 

That said, vapor barriers can protect your home from more than just water damage. As mentioned, these barriers are dense enough to help keep harmful gases, like radon, out of your home. While they may not be as insulating as thermal insulation, they’ll also be less likely to fall victim to damage. 

Are you considering installing a vapor barrier in your basement? When in doubt, reach out to one of the professional contractors in your area. These professionals can inspect your home and let you know what water damage you’re most likely to see in the future. They can also provide you with a free quote on vapor barrier installation and other basement waterproofing solutions if you decide you’re interested. 

Don’t wait for the water damage in your basement to grow. You can rely on the professionals in your area for a quick vapor barrier install and future help with maintenance. 

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