In most areas, building codes require that crawl spaces are now built with vapor barriers. However, this has not always been the case. If you have an older home, it may have been built without a vapor barrier in the crawl space. When you learn this is true for your home, it is wise to have a crawl space vapor barrier installation. Here are a few questions you might have about that process.
Why is a vapor barrier necessary?
Since your home has survived this long without a vapor barrier, you might wonder why you need one now. A vapor barrier is designed to stop water vapor from passing from the outside into the interior of your crawlspace. The vapor barrier does not just stop bulk water; it also stops water vapor in the air from traveling into the home. There are many reasons why you'd want to stop this vapor and water from entering your crawl space. When vapor comes in and the crawl space gets moist, you're more likely to have mold growth, rot, and insect infestations.
Even if your home does not have these issues right now, they are always lurking just over the horizon if your crawl space does not have a vapor barrier. These issues are all quite expensive to deal with and having a vapor barrier installed to prevent them generally costs less than dealing with the consequences of not having one.
How is a vapor barrier installed?
Basically, your installers will begin by sealing any cracks or crevices in your crawl space walls. This will keep bulk water from intruding. Then, they will attach the vapor barriers to your crawl space studs. The vapor barrier is just a piece of coated, waterproof sheeting. It will be attached with adhesive. Depending on the layout of your crawl space, it may cover the base of the crawl space and not just the walls.
Do you need to care for or maintain your vapor barrier?
No, there should not be any maintenance necessary. The vapor barrier will stay intact for years, and in fact, most companies offer a warranty on their work. If you do ever notice any moisture in your crawl space, you can call the vapor barrier company back. They can investigate and find out if any rips or holes in the vapor barrier are contributing to the leak. If so, they can make some repairs. This situation does not arise often, however.
Having a vapor barrier added to your crawl space is often a great choice. Call a company in your area to get a quote, and go from there.