Your crawl space is a cheaper alternative to a full basement, raising your home and creating space for ductwork, storage, plumbing and wiring. It also happens to be an area where you're least likely to venture into in the home. After all, what's out of sight is out of mind, right? Well, you need to be checking this space as it's prone to moisture, which introduces mold and pests to your home and threatens its structural integrity. If it’s in bad shape, you’ll need to install a crawl space vapor barrier.
Any foul-smelling odor could be a sign of a growing moisture problem, which should also alert you of the possibility of mold or mildew growth. The barrier will stop condensation and protect your home. Let’s look at what a vapor barrier is and signs that should prompt you to have it installed, then look at how it’s going to be of benefit to you.
What is a Crawl Space Vapor Barrier?
A vapor barrier is an essential addition in the crawl space. It stops vapor from diffusing into the insulation layer. The barrier is made of polyethylene plastic (with a polypropylene backing and heat-reflective aluminum layer) that’s six to 20 mm thick. Installing this system can prevent problems caused by excessive moisture like mold, wood rot and musty odors. Unfortunately, some homeowners don’t make use of it.
Signs You Need a Crawl Space Vapor Barrier
Unless you call your local basement repair experts to inspect the crawl space in your home, you won't notice there's a problem that needs your attention. Early detection can help you deal with the root cause and reverse the impact of moisture or water damage. Signs that should alert of moisture and prompt you to get a vapor barrier installation include:
- Stagnant water or mud on the dirt floor after a huge downpour
- Mold and mildew on the floor and wall
- Musty odors
- Rot and rust in the crawl space
- Presence of termites and pests
If you notice any of these signs, contact your local waterproofing contractor and schedule an inspection of the crawl space. They will identify the source of moisture and take the appropriate measures, including installing a vapor barrier.
5 Ways a Crawl Space Barrier can Help Your Home
Crawl spaces are typically made of dirt floors or soil and are vented to the outdoors, making them prone to moisture from condensation and groundwater that seeps in because of oversaturated soil. Without an effective barrier, moisture and water can cause wood rot and rust. Installing a vapor barrier creates a protective layer, which reduces these problems significantly.
Moist crawl spaces are magnets for insects such as termites and rodents such as rats. Once they find hydration, they will come in and establish a colony in the crawl space. We all know what damage they can do when left unchecked. Vapor barrier installation will eliminate moisture from the area and deter pests from taking over this area.
If you care about the safety of your loved ones, you should have water or vapor barrier installed in your crawl space. Moisture and water are serious electrical hazards. Aside from causing rust, they can lead to electrical shorts and fire outbreaks. Proper barriers, coupled with encapsulation, will help reduce the risk of electrocution and fire in your Indianapolis, IN, home
When you build a home, you want to live for years without having to carry out repairs. That’s going to be possible if you install a vapor barrier and other waterproofing systems. This way, you won’t have to replace rotten wood on the joists and rusty pipes. Both will remain dry and serve you for possibly a lifetime.
A properly installed vapor barrier also curtails the flow of air from the ground. By cutting air inflow, it transforms the crawl space into a semi-conditioned area in which the temperature is pretty close to the upper living space in the home. Your floors will become warm during cold winter months. As a result, you won’t have to spend a lot of energy to keep the house warm.
Lastly, vapor barriers impact the value of your home and its insurability. Since your home has no moisture problem and is free of mold, you will find it easy to find a buyer or rent it out. Your insurer will likely charge you lower premiums as your home is in good shape.
If you live in Indianapolis, IN, and are looking to install a crawl space vapor barrier, contact your local basement waterproofing and crawl space repair expert today. Installation takes less than a day, and you’ll notice a remarkable change in moisture and comfort levels.