Crawl Space Vapor Barriers are highly beneficial to the home for a variety of reasons.
Ah, the Crawl Space. That small, dank space filled with spiders and potentially some falling down insulation. It's not a place that we spend much time, or spare much of a thought to, so is it worth it, or even necessary to install a vapor barrier?
The short answer is, yes. Every crawl space should have a vapor barrier, and ideally, should be fully encapsulated. Crawl space vapor barriers are composed of multiple thick layers of water-resistant plastic designed to protect the structure and overall health of the home and its occupants. This material helps block out water, humidity, and the entrance of hazardous natural gases, such as Radon and Methane, and other air pollutants from the outdoors. Vapor barriers are a highly beneficial investment for any home with a crawl space.
What Are The Risks of an Unhealthy Crawl Space?
An unhealthy crawl space can be incredibly damaging, not only to your physical health within the home, but also to the house itself. There are several ways that crawl spaces are typically constructed, with foundations of wood, poured concrete, stone or cement bricks. No home is totally sealed when it's constructed, and many gaps and cracks exist even in newer homes without vented crawl spaces.
These small gaps and cracks can wreak havoc on your crawl space, and the home above in a variety of ways, such as:
- Allowing entry to moisture, humidity, and rainwater that could rot out wooden support posts.
- Attract pests such as small rodents, termites, snakes, spiders and more.
- Provide a home for potentially toxic mold to seed and spread through the home.
This is why, in more recent years, newly constructed homes with crawl spaces are often built without vents at all, and some builders and architects have started to include vapor barriers in their plans to combat these issues. An entire industry now exists that centers around vapor barriers and crawl space encapsulation, leaving damp, unhealthy crawl spaces in the past.
4 Benefits of Installing a Crawl Space Vapor Barrier
So what is crawl space encapsulation anyway? Encapsulation is the process of completely sealing and cleaning up a crawl space. Vapor barriers, vent covers, dehumidifiers and more can be used to block allergens and air pollutants from entering the home. A proper crawl space encapsulation job can be highly beneficial for a variety of reasons including:
- Keeps the home healthier overall--Crawl space vapor barriers are made from a thick plastic material that can block the entrance of air pollutants from the outside. Due to a process known as the Stack Effect, air is drawn up from the lowest parts of our homes, such as the crawl space, and spread throughout the rest of the home. This means that air from an unsealed crawl space can bring potentially harmful gases, microbes or particles up with it.
- Helps prevent water intrusion and high humidity levels--Vapor barriers are composed of layers of thick water resistant plastic. The material is laid down over the floor, and walls of the crawl space to block water seepage. Water is persistent and will push its way through concrete, and evaporate up from the soil-. Without a vapor barrier, this humidity winds up below the home, perfectly poised to cause a host of problems.
- Increases home comfort by blocking air flow--Being composed of a thick, durable plastic, crawl space vapor barriers are also excellent at blocking air flow. Natural settlement cracks and gaps left over from construction can allow air into the home, influencing the overall temperature, but a vapor barrier can block air from entering into the crawl space and help home comfort.
- Keeps out most rodents, insects and pests--Crawl space vapor barriers are usually around 15-20 mils thick and composed of high quality, durable plastics. Even for the most dedicated of rodents and insects, it's too thick to work through. A vapor barrier can eradicate the creepy crawlies from the crawl space, and make the space much cleaner and better for storage.
Finding a Reliable Crawl Space Encapsulation Contractor
Here at HomePro Match, we know how hard it can be to find the right contractor, which is why we gathered up the most trusted, qualified professionals in your area to help with all your crawl space issues. Investing in a vapor barrier should be stress-free, and we want to help make it that way.Crawl space vapor barriers are a worthwhile and valuable addition to any home with a crawl space. Protect your home and family by investing in a crawl space vapor barrier today!