Being constantly aware of the risks posed by moisture is one of the realities of building and repairing houses. Risks of water entering the building in places where it is not wanted include rotting wood, mold, chipped paint, and more. One good leak could result in damage costing tens of thousands of dollars. If it is not fixed properly, an area that is already vulnerable could sustain multiple rounds of damage. So, protecting buildings from the damage that moisture can cause starts with prevention.
There are, however, other ways for moisture to get into a building besides a rotted roof and a major storm. It can also originate from below, resulting in damage that building owners might not even be aware of until it’s too late.
Damage Caused by Crawl Space Moisture
The majority of people don’t give the area under their home much thought. The crawl space is frequently neglected, aside from when they need to retrieve tools, parts, or other random items that they may store there.
Unfortunately, the dirt floors of crawl spaces make them the primary points of entry for moisture into houses. Moisture infiltration from the soil in the form of water vapor, if unchecked, can gradually erode your building from the bottom up. We’re talking about deterioration of the insulation and fiberglass, pipe erosion, electrical shorts, and structural damage. Not to mention the chance that heavy allergens, such as dust mite dander and mold spores, will enter your living spaces.
Fortunately, a crawl space vapor barrier provides a reasonably straightforward solution to all of this.
Crawl Space Vapor Barrier: What Is It?
Crawl space vapor barriers are tough membranes that keep water vapor from penetrating the crawl space. Additionally, when you pair a waterproofing system with a crawl space vapor barrier, your building’s crawl space is now completely protected from both liquid water and water vapor before it has a chance to enter.
The Function of Vapor Barriers
Vapor barriers are typically made of thick plastic materials. The plastic is placed over the soil to stop any ground moisture from ever entering the area.
It’s crucial to understand that these barriers only function to stop ground moisture from entering your crawl space and home. Another reason to think about combining your barrier with a waterproofing system is that water runoff or leaking pipes could still cause moisture in the crawl space area.
How Necessary is a Vapor Barrier for Your Crawl Space?
You might assume that you don’t need to worry much about crawl space vapor if it hasn’t been raining heavily. After all, how much moisture could there possibly be in the ground beneath a structure?
The answer is a huge amount. Any building with a crawl space, regardless of location, can benefit from a crawl space vapor barrier.
What about water that might seep in from leaking pipes or runoff?
Enclosing the area to stop more water from entering from the outside may be the best way to start installing a waterproofing system in the crawl space area. Then, the HVAC system’s air supply can aid in quickly evaporating any additional water that may enter the crawl space if it is completely sealed off. Finally, a dehumidifier can be installed, and air can be exhausted outside. Both of these are efficient ways to keep the crawl space dry.
Want to know more about vapor barriers? Or want to schedule a free inspection and quotation? Call the professional team at American Crawl Space in the Puget Sound area for assistance.