How to Install a Vapor Barrier in Your Crawl Space
So, you’re thinking about encapsulating your crawl space—and you know that a vapor barrier is an important component for keeping the crawl dry and cool. Here’s how our professionals at Dry Pro install vapor barriers, and how they can help your Charlotte or Hickory home.
How to Install Plastic Vapor Barrier in a Crawl Space
- Remove Debris. First, debris in your crawl space needs to be cleared out before installing a vapor barrier. It’s best to have a professional complete this process as biohazards like mold, pest droppings, debris from burst pipes, etc. can be dangerous to handle without the proper equipment.
- Re-grade Soil to Direct Water into Drainage System. It’s not enough to simply apply the vapor barrier without any other solution. When moisture inevitably builds up in the soil beneath the vapor barrier, you’ll want to make sure you have a drainage system set up to take care of it.
- Wrap Piers. You will want to wrap the load-bearing piers in your crawl space with a thinner vapor barrier material so that the structure of your home is protected.
- Apply Liner Over 100% Of Soil. Next, the liner is applied. Professional installers can measure out your liner and properly install it, preferably without invasive adhesive methods like staples to make it stay.
- Apply Supplementary Solutions. Vapor barriers can work wonders, but they perform best with other solutions like crawl space vent covers, sump pumps, insulation, and even dehumidifiers.
Why Install a Vapor Barrier in Your Crawl Space?
Keeps the Crawl Space Dry
Vapor barriers, at their most basic, are created to protect your crawl space from excessive moisture. Damp air from muggy North Carolina springs and summers can cause and then accelerate mold and wood rot. Not only are these symptoms toxic to your living environment, but they will negatively affect the structural integrity of your home.
Protects the Quality of the Air You Breathe
Air with high moisture levels promotes a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Humidity, mold, mildew, and standing water also provide an attractive space for various bugs and critters to take root and nest. The odors and toxins from this nasty environment will rise into your living area—infecting it with nasty smells and potentially amplifying your allergies and asthma.
Creates Storage Space
Having a clean crawl space can potentially provide you and your family with extra storage space for seasonal decorations, spare supplies, non-perishable goods, and more. Using a vapor barrier ensures that your crawl space remains a cool, dry place. However, storage is only possible if your crawl space is completely sealed off, which includes sealing crawl space vents from the outside. In addition to fully sealing off your crawl space, it’s wise to also store your items inside plastic bins.
With an unsealed and unprotected crawl space comes the infiltration of Mother Nature. This means that temperatures from the outside could be pervading your home through your crawl space. While you may not notice this in your day-to-day life, the reality may sink in once you open your energy bill. Having your crawl space vapor barrier installed helps your HVAC system by keeping out exterior temperatures; this way, your heating and cooling systems won’t have to work as hard to keep you comfortable.
Safeguards Your Appliances
For many homes, the crawl space is where ductwork and piping are woven beneath the home, out of sight from the living space. When your crawl space has morphed into an unstable, moldy, and pest-infested environment, this could have major effects on your appliances. By stabilizing the temperature and moisture levels beneath your home, a vapor barrier can aid in preventing your pipes from bursting, pests from chewing through ductwork, and mold spores from traveling inside of your home.
Protects Your Other Encapsulation Solutions
Vapor barriers are one piece of a system that works to protect your crawl space. Having a crawl space dehumidifier, vent covers, and more solutions along with your vapor barrier can guarantee you a dry crawl space, year-round. The vapor barrier, along with locking out moisture, can protect the other solutions in your crawl space so that everything continues to work in harmony.
What Not to Do
While there are many online tutorials for crawl space vapor barrier installations, nothing can match the quality that an expert installation provides. Many YouTube videos or listicles online give inaccurate advice on how best to install your crawl space vapor barriers; this includes things like stapling your plastic barrier down, venting your appliances into the crawl space, and even trapping moisture into the crawl space with poor-quality materials.
Skimp on Quality
Many homeowners may be tempted to opt for a less expensive 6-mil thick plastic liner for their crawl space. These typically can’t cover all of the crawl space and can be easily punctured. Poor quality vapor barriers can actually amplify your crawl space issues by locking in moisture and causing more mold, wood rot, and pest infestations to grow. Having a high-quality vapor barrier with proper installation can ensure you enjoy its benefits for a long time.
Dry Pro’s CrawlSeal™ Vapor Barrier
Dry Pro’s exclusive CrawlSeal™ vapor barrier product is your choice for a long-term investment in your home’s future. Along with other encapsulation solutions, you can expect a cleaner, safer environment below and inside of your home. Here’s how CrawlSeal™ rises above the rest in the crawl space market:
- 120-mil thick to lower humidity levels
- Class A – Class 1 Fire Rated
- Bonded and taped seams instead of hole punched to secure
- Resistant to mold and bacteria
- Mechanical fasteners to ensure the liner stays put
- 25-Year warranty against rips and tears
Get a Free, No-Obligation Inspection of Your Crawl Space with Dry Pro
You may be in search of a DIY solution for your crawl space—why not get an expert’s opinion for free? At Dry Pro, our crawl space specialists can inspect your whole home to target your crawl space’s issues at the true source. After inspecting your home, our experts will let you know what’s going on and work with you to find the right solution.
Our home inspections are completely free—and we provide quotes for services without any pressure or obligation to book with us. Book your free home inspection today and see what vapor barrier solution is right for you.