Have you noticed moisture getting into your home through your crawl space? This is a common problem found in the south and will eventually cause many other problems such as mold, bacteria, sagging floors, sticking window and door frames, pests, and more. If there is moisture in your crawl space or you’ve noticed any of the above issues, you should install a vapor barrier in your crawl space right away. This will fix any problems you currently have and will help you avoid more problems in the future.
What is a vapor barrier?
A vapor barrier is simply a piece of plastic that covers the floor of your crawl space. Crawl space floors are usually made of dirt, and this dirt attracts moisture. Moisture is bad for your home because that moisture then seeps through your floor and into your living space. A vapor barrier keeps the moisture from getting into your home and from entering your home's air circulation. Since nobody wants to breathe in the air that’s found in their crawl space, it is always best to install a vapor barrier.
Do you need a vapor barrier in your crawl space?
Yes, you need a vapor barrier in your crawl space. As mentioned before, crawl space floors that are made of dirt attract unwanted moisture. This moisture then not only enters your home but also breeds mold and other toxic bacteria. These mold and bacteria spores then come into your home along with the moisture. This is disgusting, and one way to prevent this is by installing a vapor barrier in your crawl space.
Even if you haven’t noticed any problems in your home yet or can’t see any moisture in your crawl space, it is best to be proactive and install a vapor barrier. This will prevent the problem from happening in the future and will help you sleep easier at night knowing that your crawl space is secure.
How to install a vapor barrier in your crawl space:
There are several ways to install a vapor barrier in your crawl space. The only real rule is that every inch of your crawl space floors need to be covered by the plastic sheet. Otherwise, moisture will still be able to get in and you’ll have the same problems as before. It’s actually best to fully encapsulate your crawl space by installing a vapor barrier not only on the floor, but also up the walls, across the ceiling, and around any piers or supports that may be present. When done correctly, this will definitely ensure that no moisture is able to get into your crawl space or into your home through your crawl space.
You can either install a vapor barrier yourself or hire a professional to install it for you. The more complicated the installation is, the more difficult it will be to do it yourself. But if you are simply installing one or two layers of a vapor barrier in the crawl space to keep out the bulk of the moisture, you should be able to do a good job.
How to install vapor barrier yourself:
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to install a vapor barrier yourself. This is for installing just one or two layers of vapor barrier on the floor of your crawl space. Anything more complicated than that should probably be done by a professional.
To install a vapor barrier yourself, all you need to do is go to any hardware store and buy enough vapor barrier or plastic sheeting to cover your crawl space. This means you’ll need to calculate the square footage of your crawl space before buying a vapor barrier. If you want your vapor barrier to last longer, make sure to buy plastic that is at least 6 millimeters thick. This will last much longer than thinner liners. Remember, though, that any vapor barrier you can install yourself will typically only last about five to ten years, so you may need to repeat the process a few more times. Once you have your plastic liner, clear all debris from your crawl space, including fallen insulation or dead pests. Then simply roll out your vapor barrier and secure the edges.
This sounds pretty simple, but unless you’re careful not to miss any spots and cover every inch of dirt, it won’t be very effective. If the vapor barrier isn’t properly installed and there is still dirt exposed, then moisture will still get into the air. You may not have as much moisture as before, and depending on how bad your moisture problem was to begin with, this may be acceptable.
Also, keep in mind that the dirt floor may not be the only source of moisture in your crawl space. If your foundation walls have any cracks or leaks, moisture can get through. If moisture is coming through your foundation walls or anywhere other than the floor, this calls for an entire crawl space encapsulation.
What is crawl space encapsulation?
Crawl space encapsulation is when you seal the entire crawl space from outside moisture, including the entire floor, walls, ceiling, and any piers or supports that may be present. While you may be able to do a full encapsulation yourself, the process is quite complicated and you have to be extremely careful not to miss any spots or allow any moisture through. That’s why it’s always best to leave crawl space encapsulation to the professionals.
How much does installing a vapor barrier cost?
How much it will cost to install a vapor barrier depends on a couple of factors. Some of the factors it depends on include:
Obviously, the size of your crawl space will determine how much plastic liner you need to buy, and the more plastic liner you buy, the more expensive it will be. If you’re working under a tight budget, it’s a good idea to look at several kinds of plastic vapor barrier and compare prices and benefits. Again, it’s always a good idea to buy plastic that is at least 6 millimeters thick to avoid having to replace it sooner than you should.
Vapor barriers come in many different materials, colors, sizes, and more. You should always look at several options before deciding which vapor barrier will be best for your crawl space. Even if you want to install the vapor barrier yourself, you may want to consult a crawl space expert before choosing which kind of barrier you buy.
The price of installing a vapor barrier also depends on whether you are fully encapsulating your crawl space, partially encapsulating it, or just putting a vapor barrier on the floor. Fully encapsulating a crawl space can get pricey, especially if you decide to install a complicated system with a vapor barrier all the way around, a dehumidifier, sump pumps, and trenches. This kind of system is best reserved for if your home is experiencing serious moisture or flooding problems. A partial encapsulation typically includes just the vapor barrier around your entire crawl space. This is most useful if your crawl space has a moderate amount of moisture present or has cracks in the foundation walls. Installing just a vapor barrier on the floor is most helpful if you’ve only had a little bit of moisture problems or you plan to come up with a more permanent solution later on.
It will obviously be cheapest if you choose to install a vapor barrier yourself. Remember, though, that you’ll be spending a lot of time and energy on this project, which some homeowners may value more than money. If you choose to hire a professional to install your vapor barrier, you may want to consult several companies before choosing who to hire. Crawl space companies typically offer free price quotes, which you should definitely take advantage of. Once you’ve decided who to hire, your vapor barrier can be installed and you can stop worrying about moisture in your crawl space.
Who can install a vapor barrier in your crawl space?
If you are claustrophobic, busy, or don’t know how to install a vapor barrier in your crawl space, you can always call on a professional like Healthy Crawl Space! We are your local crawl space expert and we offer affordable prices and expert service. We would love to help you by installing a vapor barrier in your crawl space or by doing a full crawl space encapsulation.