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Crawl Space Vapor Barrier

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Crawl Space Vapor Barrier

If you are reading this article, chances are you are wondering if you and your home could benefit from a crawl space vapor barrier. The short and honest answer is yes – a big resounding YES!

There really is no reason not to have a vapor barrier in your crawl space. Water intrusion is your home’s worst nightmare so knowing how to combat it is critical or less you face long-term financial headache associated with foundation repair.

Furthermore, you put your family’s health in jeopardy when you skimp on a vapor barrier because when there’s water in your crawl space, there will be mold! Read that again… There will be mold. Moisture and mold spores make their way through your HVAC system from your crawl space affecting the air you breathe.

Damage to the wooden members of your home will depreciate the value of your home and cost you money and peace of mind.

Do your home a solid and don’t skimp on the vapor barrier…
Call us at AMC911 Crawl Space & Foundation Repair for a free estimate on having one installed by a professional that will do it right the first time guaranteed!

What Is A Crawl Space Vapor Barrier?

A crawl space vapor barrier is also a lot of times referred to as a crawl space liner. The vapor barrier is a fundamental piece of the puzzle when you’re talking about waterproofing. The vapor barrier is a plastic sheet made of polyethylene. Polyethylene is used in many common applications in construction to repel water vapor and even air. The vapor barrier is your home’s shield against Mother Nature.

Regardless of the type of substance that makes up your crawl space floor (dirt, concrete, sand), you should have a barrier in place. This is because once water enters your crawl space, it almost immediately compromises the structural integrity of your home by causing mold to grow and wood to decay. Wood rot leads to the bowing of the structural wooden members of your home.

Crawl Space Vapor Barrier

When To Use A Crawl Space Vapor Barrier?

If your home is on a crawl space in Hampton Roads, you should definitely have a vapor barrier… There’s no debating that fact!

Your crawl space is a dark and wet breeding ground for mold and mildew. A vapor barrier will help to prevent moisture from seeping through the floors of your crawl space thereby causing a slew of problems.

Crawl Space Vapor Barrier

What Happens If You Don’t Install A Crawl Space Vapor Barrier?

The number of things that can and will happen if you ignore your home’s need for a crawl space barrier are endless and none of them are good. For starters, it has been proven that over 50 percent of the air we breathe in our home comes from our crawl space. If your crawl space has no moisture protection, you will have mold looming its ugly head before long in a hotbed below your feet. Mold spores will enter their way into your home through your HVAC lines and start to permeate around vents in your home. Mold will make its way into the walls of your home. Not only will moisture prompt mold to grow, but it will also lead to serious wood deterioration, wood eating insects like termites, and terrible odors.

Crawl Space Vapor Barrier

The best and easiest solution is having a vapor barrier installed to keep moisture on the ground and away from the wooden members of your home. Studies show that a proper vapor barrier installation cuts moisture anywhere from 15-18 gallons a day. This extreme difference in water levels is a drastic difference that could mean the difference between expensive foundation repair and having a healthy home.

Crawl Space Vapor Barrier

Can I Install A Crawl Space Vapor Barrier Myself?

Every time a homeowner tells us they are planning a DIY foundation or crawl space project, we die a little inside!

Not installed properly, a vapor barrier can allow water damage that’s far more expensive to fix down the line than hiring a professional would be to begin with.
Crawl Space Vapor Barrier

Crawl Space Vapor Barrier Installation Process

Remember that investing in a proper vapor barrier is just one piece of the pie when you are ensuring the health and longevity of your home. A dehumidifier is almost always recommended for crawl spaces in Hampton Roads.

You may also need to do exterior water drainage and install a sump pump if water is lingering in your crawl space after a decent rain. Correcting these issues can preserve not only your foundation but also your quality of life.

AMC911 Crawl Space Waterproofing Services

When it comes to crawl space waterproofing, it’s important to remember that not all products are created equal. At minimum, a 6 mil vapor barrier is needed for any crawl space in Hampton Roads with open vents. At AMC911, we offer a variety of vapor barrier options that range from 6 mil to 20 mil in thickness. Our crawl space vapor barriers are durable membranes that lock out vapor and moisture from the ground and separate your home from the earth.

Our 20 mil liner is also known as our “Cadillac of Liners.” Our 20 mil liner consists of white high strength polyethylene film together with a black film. Both outer layers contain UV inhibitors, which ultimately work to prevent the vapor barrier material from deteriorating in a crawl space or warehouse setting. Additionally, heavy duty reinforcements respond to tears immediately by surrounding and stopping the tear. This is a helpful feature for those of you who plan to use your crawl space as a functional space once a liner is installed. Foot traffic can cause a cheap vapor barrier to rip and tear.

Crawl Space Vapor Barrier

In addition to liner options, we offer a variety of installation options designed and engineered to suit your home’s unique needs. Many homes in Hampton Roads, Virginia will warrant a solution that consists of not only a crawl space liner on the ground but also wall insulation. At AMC911, our foam insulation board is top-rated and outperforms traditional rigid foam insulation by up to 20 percent due to the infusion of graphite. It’s treated with insecticides to stop termites and it is flame retardant.

Crawl Space Vapor Barrier

The area referred to as the perimeter band board is another area commonly overlooked when it comes to lining and waterproofing… Big mistake! The band board is a wooden horizontal support member that is installed around the perimeter of the home or building. It provides a solid surface for attaching the wall framing and the floor system, transferring load from the floor to the foundation. It provides a nailing surface for the floor joists. For this reason, we install batten insulation (also known as blanket insulation) in between the floor joists behind the band board. Batten insulation is made of fiberglass or mineral wool which is pre-cut into flat pieces & installed around the crawl space perimeter in between the floor joists. The insulation prevents air loss from the crawl space, resulting in a colossal waste of energy.

Crawl Space Vapor Barrier

A dehumidifier is always highly recommended in conjunction with a vapor barrier, as a liner alone will not prevent water damage. Our dehumidifiers reduce the level of humidity in your crawl space by removing moisture. Dehumidifiers work by drawing in air, cooling it, and then draining the collected moisture away from the crawl space. Dehumidifiers installed by AMC911 will lend you your home’s best protection against the grave effects of mold, mildew, and other moisture-related issues.

Our Service Area

We are Class A contractors and Better Business Bureau Torch Award Winners (with an A+ rating). We have over 30 years of experience, are fully insured, and all our work is done with our highly trained in-house crews. Our solutions come with parts and labor warranties to give you added peace of mind. Let AMC911 Crawl Space and Foundation Repair restore the structural integrity of your home today.

Vapor Barrier FAQs

What material can be used as a Vapor Barrier?

A vapor barrier is any material or tool used to repel water from your home or building.

Most crawl space vapor barriers are thick sheets of polyethylene plastic. Smart consumers will ensure that their vapor barriers are reinforced with a dimple underlayment to keep rocks and other debris from creating small punctures in the liner. Preventing punctures in the liner will in turn keep the humidity levels lower in the crawl space and throughout the home.

When you’re shopping for a vapor barrier, there are things to be mindful of. Ensure it has high “tensile strength,” meaning it is highly unlikely to tear during the installation process or when someone is crawling on it. You should also ensure your choice has a low permeability rate, or ability to shut off the passage of moisture into the crawl space. Lastly, your vapor barrier choice should be puncture resistant. This means, it won’t rip or puncture when you’re crawling on it due to underlying rocks and debris.

How long does a Crawl Space vapor barrier last?

A good liner should last 20 years on average.

What is the difference between a vapor barrier and a moisture barrier?

A vapor barrier is a material used to prevent the passage of water vapor into a building structure, while a moisture barrier is used to prevent the entry of liquid water. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but don’t be fooled… they refer to two very different levels of protection. The benefits of a proper vapor barrier far outweigh those of a moisture barrier.

What is the difference between a vapor barrier and an encapsulation?

Vapor barriers only overlap the crawl space floor whereas an encapsulation system covers the crawl space floor, the walls, and some of the wooden framing. An encapsulation system as you can imagine creates a significantly stronger barrier between you and the ground resisting moisture, mold, mildew, and pests. Check out our quick comparison below between vapor barriers and full encapsulations. At AMC911, we offer a variety of solutions that can be modified to meet your home’s specific needs.

Crawl Space Vapor Barrier

What is a Vapor Barrier?

Benefits – Cheaper option compared to Encapsulation

What is an Encapsulation

Benefits – Best form of protection against moisture & mold buildup in your crawl space.

Crawl Space Vapor Barrier

Does mold grow under a crawl space vapor barrier?

Mold can absolutely still grow under a crawl space barrier if there are conditions that warrant it such as high humidity. A dehumidifier will assist in controlling high humidity levels in conjunction with a proper vapor barrier. Other factors that contribute to mold growth under a vapor barrier are moisture in the soil and the presence of organic materials for mold to feed on. A sump pump is proven to aggressively reduce the amount of water in the soil below your home. This dual approach to protection will lend you your home’s strongest approach to combating mold growth under your vapor barrier.

Will a Crawl Space vapor barrier reduce humidity?

A crawl space vapor barrier will undoubtedly help reduce humidity levels in the crawl space by preventing moisture from the ground from wreaking havoc on your home. Vapor barriers in conjunction with sump pumps, dehumidifiers, and wall insulation will ultimately provide your home the best line of defense against the harmful effects of water.

What’s Next!?

Do you need help with mold remediation, encapsulation, vapor barrier installation, or waterproofing? Call AMC911 for a free estimate and put your mind to ease.

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