Vapor barriers are an important component of your home’s crawl space. But many homeowners don’t even know they need vapor barrier nor do they install them. Installing vapor barrier underneath your home can be an important tool for preventing health problems and keeping your crawl space in good condition.
Why Use a Vapor Barrier?
A vapor barrier prevents moisture in the dirt floor of the crawl space from evaporating and seeping into the air beneath your home.
What Is a Vapor Barrier?
A vapor barrier prevents moisture in the dirt floor of the crawl space from evaporating and then seeping into the air beneath your home. The actual barrier is usually comprised of a foil sheet or plastic material that helps to prevent moisture from penetrating the crawl space air, from where it then enters the structure of the home. When you install a vapor barrier, you prevent problems caused by excess moisture like mold, odors, insects, pests, wood rot and other structural and environmental concerns.
There are several reasons why you need to install vapor barriers:
- Control the Temperature – Save Energy – Increased moisture impacts the humidity level of your home. Your home becomes hotter or cooler than it should be. Your air conditioner or furnace will run longer to compensate for these higher humidity levels. Also, your furnace must work harder to increase the heat in the home. When you use poly to cover your floor, it helps to reduce your energy costs and wear and tear on your air conditioner or furnace by reducing the time that your systems need to run.
- Limit Dampness – Water and moisture can seep through walls and the dirt floor underneath your home. As moisture and humidity increases in a crawl space, the dark and damp environment spreads moisture and promotes the growth of mold and mildew. When you add a crawl space vapor barrier, it deters moisture from entering your home and prevents damage to the structure of your home caused by rotting wood, rusted metal, and damaged drywall.
- Reduce Wiring and Electrical Hazards – Moisture and electrical systems is a dangerous combination. Moisture can lead to electrical shorts, rusted wires, and even a fire. Ensuring electrical components are free from moisture should be your number one concern. Failing to do so could result in an increased risk of fire and damage to your home or electrocution.
- Preserve Pipes – Your crawl space has multiple pipes for your water and sewer lines. Moisture that collects on pipes can cause the pipes to lose their integrity and break over time due to rust. Applying a vapor barrier will help to preserve the life of your pipes and keep the plumber away, thus saving you money on repairs down the road.
- Save Your Home’s Structure – As previously mentioned, moisture in your crawl space can lead to wood rot. Rotted wood among your joists may cause structural damage, and that damage creates a huge repair bill. Keep this water out of your crawl space and your wood dry with a vapor barrier installation underneath your home.
- Health Concerns – Moisture in your crawl space will lead to mold and mildew. This mold and mildew will seep through the crawl space ceiling into your living area. This can lead to a respiratory health issue for anyone living in the home. Mold is a fungus that can quickly grow in moisture-rich areas and cause illnesses among your family – only certified professionals can remove mold completely. Thus, a decrease in quality of life. Putting down a vapor barrier in your crawl space will keep it dry and keep the hazardous fumes caused by mold and mildew away from your family’s lungs.
- Saves the Value of Your Home – Mold can affect the value of your home in several ways. If you have mold in your home it may cost you thousands of dollars to remove. If you are selling your home, buyers will ask you to decrease your selling price due to the cost of mold removal. Mold also impacts the insurability of your home. A mold infestation can reduce the value of your home by up to half, which is why prevention is so important and worth every penny.