While the crawl space under your Cary home may not be your highest priority when it comes to improvements and repairs around your house, you may be surprised to find that if left untreated, moisture within your home’s crawl space could end up harming your health and causing thousands of dollars in expensive repairs.
Most homes’ crawl spaces are only about 18 to 36 inches high with minimal airflow, and because the dirt under the home is almost always damp, moisture is continually evaporating under the home, especially during hot North Carolina weather. Due to the minimal flow and circulation, the humid air acts as a jumpstart to mold growth and wood rot. The air can also enter your homes through cracks and gaps in your home’s subfloor and flooring – in fact, it’s estimated that up to 40 percent of the air on your home’s first floor is coming from your vented crawl space.
What Is a Vapor Barrier?
A vapor barrier is plastic sheeting that lines the ground of your crawl space to block water vapor from evaporating from the ground and entering your home. While evaporation from damp earth does play a role in the amount of moisture under your home, it’s not the sole culprit. In fact, if your crawl space or basement is vented, a vapor barrier won’t stop the warm, humid air from outdoors from entering through small cracks, crevices, or vents. Due to minimal to no airflow, the air will stagnate, causing the same problems.
Should You Choose a Vapor Barrier for Your Cary Home?
Whether or not you should rely on vapor barriers depends on where you live and what your climate is like. Most of the United States, with the exception of the dry and cold Upper Midwest and Northeast, is simply too warm and humid to get adequate moisture protection from a vapor barrier alone.
Vapor barriers simply can’t seal the crawl space from all the moisture in your crawl space, so they’re only slowing down mold growth and wood rot.
Depending on the climate you live in and the relative moisture in the air, most homes will need a more efficient and effective moisture deterrent that blocks all types of vapor from entering your crawl space or basement. In dry or cold climates, such as the Northeastern United States, Upper Midwest, and parts of Canada, homes that don’t rely on the central air conditioning or exterior foam sheathing on the walls may find a vapor barrier to be adequate moisture prevention.
In the Southeast, including North Carolina, a vapor barrier isn’t nearly as effective to block water vapor from taking its toll on your home in Cary. Because our climate is so hot and humid for much of the year, a vapor barrier is insufficient to handle the day-to-day conditions of our extreme climate.
The Downside to Crawl Space Vapor Barriers
The reality is that most water vapor doesn’t permeate through diffusion (meaning the evaporated moisture seeping through the solid floorboards and subflooring). Instead, it is more likely to come through in gaps and voids – meaning moisture is more likely to enter your home through cracks and vents in your crawl space, then find holes and spaces under your flooring to enter. That’s why sealing is a much better option.
If you’re only relying on plastic sheeting to keep your vented crawl space or unfinished basement dry, you may be surprised to find that humid and mold-laden air is still able to enter the area. Just like moisture from the ground, humid air from outside is just as disastrous for your home’s structural integrity. Warm, damp places speed up wood rot and encourage insects and termites, and over time, this can cause your home’s foundation and floor joists can become damaged or weakened, requiring professional floor leveling and intensive repairs.
Another factor to consider is that moist humid air from your crawl space of the basement is unhealthy and could even be dangerous. Unless you choose to completely seal your crawl space, the air that enters will end up moving through the rest of the house, carrying toxic mold spores and mildew that will require professional mold remediation. Spores can also enter your HVAC system and circulate through your home, triggering asthma attacks, allergy symptoms, headaches, and other chronic issues.
Protect Your Cary Home with More than a Vapor Barrier
You need a comprehensive solution to preventing moisture from entering your home from your crawl space, and that involves preventing airflow from bringing it in in the first place. To better protect your family from the harmful effects of poor moisture management, the experts at Crawl Space and Basement Technologies offer individual solutions for crawl space encapsulation. This totally seals all the cracks, crevices, and vents around the perimeter of your crawl space or basement as well as sealing the floor, keeping your home drier, healthier, and more comfortable!
Call Our Crawl Space & Basement Moisture Specialists in Cary
If you’d like to learn what options are available to ensure a drier crawl space or basement, schedule your no-obligation estimate, call us today at (919) 847-7072 or fill out our online form. We will visit your home to give you the most accurate price point for the job. Our trained specialist will guide you through the options to determine the best solution for you and your budget.