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Crawl Space Vapor Barrier Installation

Crawl Space Vapor Barrier Installation

A crawl space vapor barrier certainly provides an insulation air barricade in between the living space of the home and the ground at the bottom. Till date, many primitive buildings and homes have a crawl space beyond the main foundations of their residence. But these spaces tend to get exposed to moisture and soil. In this article, we will see all the possible ways to improve these spaces.
Fatima Rangwala
Home inspector looks for termites in residential home's crawl space
In the field of architecture and structural construction, certain edifices are built in an extremely old-fashioned style. Usually, beneath the main foundation of a building or home are huge, empty, exposed spaces called crawl spaces, which are basically constructed for insulating air between the home and the ground level. Since these spaces are empty and open, they are home to many catastrophes like mold, mildew, termites, water damage, rot and decay, dead animals such as rodents, rats and reptiles, etc. When this is the case, homeowners have a hard time maintaining healthy, sanitary conditions in their homes. Why? Because,
  • A living room constantly draws the air from the crawl space and disperses it throughout, back to the living room or the entire house. If the air which is pulled in is contaminated and filled with germs and pathogens, it would obviously be the same air that the family members are going to breathe in their homes. This can cause them serious health and harmful breathing problems.
  • There can be moisture issues all over the flooring of the house, causing inflation in the wooden furniture.
  • Also, there can be rotten floor joists, doors, windows, foul odor and irregular humidity levels annihilating the beautiful integrity of your home.
Thus, if you happen to exist around such a construction, where vented crawl spaces are a house to a stack problems into your home, extending your outlook for a smart and quick solution must be the main priority as of now. And the answer to the above possibility is a crawl space vapor barrier installation! In short, it's the closing of the crawl space from the ground level to the area near the living room.

Crawl Space Vapor Barrier

The concept of this subject is pretty simple. It's nothing but the air flowing from beneath the home (ground level) into the home. This makes the crawl space an entry point for a humidity and/or moisture attack into your home. Since the crawl space is really close to the bottom of your home's living room, the stagnant water and moisture present in the huge pit below is directly absorbed by your home. Along with that, the living room draws the warm air from the same dirty, unhealthy-airborne crawl space, and circulates it throughout the home. This movement is also called stack effect. Well, somehow, as long as there is a filthy concrete crawl space in the foundation of a house, there is no end to the threat to your health. Hence, in such dire situations, if one learns to adopt the simplest method of learning to install a vapor barrier in a crawl space, we guarantee that all the problems and moisture issues would be solved. Sealing the crawl space is a simple job and you can either approach a contractor or can also do this task yourself, as we all know that moisture usually flows from warmer places to colder places. The main idea of a crawl space barrier is to prevent the moisture to pass through the floor, ceiling or wall to the main living room of the house. Now to isolate the crawl space completely, all you can do is expend a strong, thick vapor barrier sheet, which in turn consists of multilayered polyethylene sheets. This insulation is very effective and prevents any sort of fuss from rising. They help to maintain a thorough flow of quality air and also prevent the accumulation of moisture. Well, there are several ways to go about installing vapor barrier in a crawl space. Out of a bunch of them, the installation method discussed below is the simplest and the most effective too. So follow these instructions carefully and secure your crawl space, at the earliest.

Ways to Install a Vapor Barrier in a Crawl Space
  • One of the most common ways to install a vapor barrier is to utilize plastic sheeting or polyethylene materials of varying thickness, such as 4 mm, 6 mm and 10 mm.
  • Some people even prefer to use a high-density, cross-laminated polyethylene material for insulating the crawl space. This material has more resistance to endure rips and punctures, if so.
  • Before you move further with this do-it-yourself project, make sure all the foundation vents and seals are eliminated from the working area.
  • Also check the soil condition, whether it's clear and object free. This should not be one of the reasons that could damage the vapor barrier in the future.
  • Along with these details, ensure that any sort of powered combustion systems like water heaters, humidifiers or furnaces are sealed and protected, to avoid any mishap in the process.
  • Make sure the crawl space is extremely dry and clean before you plan to start any vapor barrier project. Also, it has to be held up high and tight against the side walls.
  • Another aspect to take care of, in the installation process, is to seal all the air leaks including the band joist through the exterior walls.
  • The lapping or seaming of the vapor barrier must be done 12'' up the side walls using a pressure sensitive tape. Make sure that the tapes are cut well around the columns, footings and pipes, so that your work is precise.
  • If necessary, you can install rigid foam boards or a continuous termite insulation to prevent germination.
  • Lastly, it is important to install a supply outlet in the given crawl space to ensure that there is no leakiness of the walls or flooring in the entire air path.
In addition to controlling moisture and air sealing, if the vapor barrier is properly installed, you might save a lot on the energy costs, and most importantly, gain a comfy, pleasant-smelling home to live in.