Crawl Space Vapor Barrier – Why?
A damp crawl space is a breeding ground for mold, mildew, wood-rotting fungus, insects, and rodents, which is why it’s vital to encapsulate your crawl space using a proper vapor barrier. This picture shows a thin, plastic vapor barrier, which was easily torn. The goal and objective of encapsulation is to protect or isolate your home from the water or moisture vapors that come from the earth. This, in essence, also protects the floor joists in your crawl space from mold and the air quality in your home.
Did you know over 50% of the air you breathe on your first floor comes from your crawl space?
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CrawlSeal™ Encapsulation System is the Protection You Need
The JES CrawlSeal™ Encapsulation System eliminates moisture in your crawl space, discourages insects and rodents, and makes your home a healthier place to live. It also protects the structural integrity of your home and can reduce energy costs from 15 – 25%!
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Benefits of the CrawlSeal™ Vapor Barrier
- Thickest vapor barrier available
- 25-year warranty
- Cuts energy costs by 15-25%
- Creates additional safe storage space
Crawl Space Vapor Barrier FAQs
A crawl space vapor barrier is highly encouraged if you have a dirt crawl space. Here's everything you need to know about your crawl space vapor barrier.
Mold tends to flourish in your home when it has ready access to warmth, moisture, and darkness. While you can’t always eliminate these elements from your crawl space, you can still work to get ahead of mold growth throughout your home.
For starters, note that mold spores do not enter your home through the same cracks and leaks that allow excess moisture indoors. Instead, mold spores come into your home via wayward air currents. If you want to work to avoid mold growths in your home, then it is in your best interest to inspect your HVAC unit on a regular basis and to ensure that your filters are clean.
Preventing Mold Growth in Your Crawl Space
When it comes to the care and keeping of your crawl space, however, matters can become trickier. As mentioned, mold loves moisture, heat, and darkness. While in the depths of winter you may be reluctant to turn off your heat, you can still contend with the moisture that may be making its way into your home. By preemptively waterproofing your crawl space, you can prevent water from entering that space and, in turn, stall mold growth.
Vapor barriers, in particular, are especially dense sheets of plastic-like materials you can establish along a single wall or all across the room of your choosing. The density of these waterproofing measures prevents both gas and water vapor from entering your home. As such, vapor barriers can work to prevent the growth of mold in your home, though they are not actively mold-resistant. There are some brands you might invest in that do work to repel the mold spores that might take root in your home, but your basic vapor barrier rather eliminates the moisture that allows mold to flourish.
A vapor barrier’s density sets it apart from other types of plastic insulation you can use to protect your crawl space from damage. However, vapor barriers also need to have a weight to them if you want them to keep moisture out of your home. The thicker your vapor barrier is, in short, the better it should be able to keep water out of your space.
To create an appropriately insulated space, your vapor barrier should be a minimum of 6-mil thick. That may not seem like a substantial thickness, but in providing your vapor barrier with that weight, you ensure that both gas and water particles will face significant obstacles when trying to enter your home.
When to Exceed Expectations with Your Vapor Barrier
Of course, your vapor should meet this 6-mil requirement at a minimum to serve as a protective measure within your home. If you’re looking for more durable materials, then it is in your best interest to discuss thicker vapor barriers with the professionals in your area. Some of the thickest vapor barriers can be up to 20-mil thick.
If you’re concerned about the cost of a thicker vapor barrier, or if you want to explore what other waterproofing options might pair well with a thinner vapor barrier, you can work with the professional engineers in your area to determine what the needs of your home look like. During a home inspection, you can discuss the problems you’ve had with seepage or high levels of humidity in the past and, in turn, determine whether or not traditional or custom vapor barriers can help you restore your home’s value.
As mentioned, you can install a vapor barrier along a single wall or along multiple walls in the room of your choosing. Where should you install a vapor barrier for the greatest effect?
That depends on the part of your home that’s seeing the most significant water damage. For example, if your crawl space has recently succumbed to extensive water damage, you may want to wrap a vapor barrier around the whole of the space. In doing so, you can make it easier to clear away what water might already be in the space without risking further damage.
Alternative Means of Home Waterproofing
It is in your best interest to install a vapor barrier near where water or moisture may be getting into your home. However, if you are concerned about the appearance of your home and the impact of a vapor barrier aesthetically, you can work with a professional contractor to determine what additional waterproofing measures might help compensate for the areas that a vapor barrier can’t (or won’t) be placed. Some of the most effective waterproofing measures to pair with a vapor barrier include:
- Interior drains
- Sump pumps
JES Can Help You With Your Crawl Space Repairs!
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Free Homeowner's Guide to Crawl Space Repair
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