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Crawl Space Moisture Barriers
Although it’s easy to forget about your crawl space since you don’t spend time underneath your home, it plays a significant part in your home’s well-being. A crawl space that’s kept dry is essential for structural stability. Moisture barriers are one way to protect your crawl space from moisture that could damage your home.
Why It’s Important to Protect Your Crawl Space Against Moisture
Crawl spaces are traditionally set on dirt floors, where natural moisture rises up into the sub-structure. Moisture in a crawl space creates a host of problems for homeowners.
- Health Problems — Over 40% of the air in your home is drawn from your crawl space. Dust mites and mold spores travel with this air up into the living areas of your home, creating respiratory problems, eye irritation, and headaches. For those who have a sensitivity or an allergy, these problems are worse.
- Damage to Your Sub-Structure — The wood in the sub-structure of your home begins to rot when condensation seeps in. Over time, wood begins to deteriorate, causing structural damage. Compounding this issue significantly, termites thrive in moist, humid environments. As they eat away at your wood, it quickly becomes unstable.
- High Energy Bills — Humidity rises with the air from the crawl space into the upper levels of the home where you and your family live. When you combat high humidity in your home with air conditioning, your energy bill rises.
- Pests — Other pests like snakes and rodents enjoy living in humid crawl spaces. If you leave them to thrive, you may experience high numbers of pests.
Vapor Barriers Prevent the Problems that Come With Moisture in Crawl Spaces
To prevent moisture from rising through the ground into your crawl space, consider installing a moisture barrier, also called a vapor barrier. This polyethylene sheeting helps to lower wood moisture content to an acceptable level. Be sure to use a sufficiently thick mil to prevent tears. We use 6 mil poly for our customers.
Vapor Barriers Help Preserve Home Value
When you’re thinking about the cost of installing a vapor barrier, remember that it protects the value of your home. Although you may not want to sell your home in the immediate future, a vapor barrier will keep your crawl space free from damage that will cause buyers to pass on your home when you’re ready to sell. More importantly, structural damage generated by moisture and termites is costly to repair. Here are a few benefits that will pay off in the value of your home.
- Energy Efficiency — Vapor barriers help improve the energy efficiency of your home. Because the amount of warm, humid air is reduced, you won’t have to run the air conditioner as frequently.
- Elimination of Odors — When pests are living under your home, they create a nasty smell. That odor is drawn up into the living areas of your home along with the air. By installing a vapor barrier, you’ll be helping to prevent pest colonies underneath your home.
- Mold Prevention — Mold is an immediate red flag to home buyers. We’ve all read horror stories of how mold can impact a home, and no one wants to risk getting into a situation where mold is present. Although there are a variety of different types of molds with varying danger levels to human health, most people are keen to avoid all types of mold. Vapor barriers help to prevent mold growth.
- Preservation of Wooden Sub-Structure — A damaged sub-structure can significantly decrease the value of your home. If termites or wood rot has taken over, repairs are expensive. Vapor barriers will help to reduce moisture to levels that are not desirable for pests, where water isn’t sitting on the wood.
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